2009.01.06 13:00 - Prehistory of PaB Dialogues #2: Pema and Stim

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    I, Pema, was the guardian that afternoon, and Stim and I held our second dialogue in the Prehistory series. I wrote in my email, announcing this dialogue:

    On Tuesday, 2 pm SLT, Stim and I will hold our second dialogue
    on the prehistory of PaB, following our first one, a week earlier.

    In that earlier dialogue, we talked about Being and Is:

    Stim: I think the main big shift for me, over further years of
    retreat practice, was the realization of "Is".
    Stim: I didn't really see that, or write about it, so much in that
    older book.
    Pema: and yet Being is central, already in the TSK book -- different
    from "Is"?
    Stim: What that term, which I pressed into service in my own groups,
    will come to mean in PaB is a key point of interest to me.

    I would like to ask Stim more about this "Is" that is so central
    for him, and its relation to Being. As usual: Stim and talk for
    half an hour, and then we open the floor for comments, questions,
    responses of all kinds.

    When I arrived, Adams, Genesis, Scathach, and Stim were already present. Maxine and Wester would soon follow.

    genesis Zhangsun: A dialogue is going to start in a bit
    genesis Zhangsun: and the Q&A after
    genesis Zhangsun: Hey Pema and Scat
    Pema Pera: Hi everyone!
    Adams Rubble will have to leave early unfortunately
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hi again Gen:)
    Adams Rubble: Hello Pema
    Stim Morane: Hi Pema and Scathach
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hi Pema, Stim
    Adams Rubble: hello Maxine
    Stim Morane: Hi Maxine
    Maxine Walden: hi, Adams and everyone
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hi Maxine
    Maxine Walden: hi, Stim, Scathach, Pema, Gen
    Maxine Walden: think I'll sit closer to the rest
    Stim Morane: :)
    Pema Pera: please do Maxine!
    Adams Rubble promises not to bite this time
    Stim Morane: It sounds like I missed something
    Maxine Walden: haha, Adams, but I am not aware of you biting
    Adams Rubble: No just me being silly
    Maxine Walden: I thought so
    genesis Zhangsun: Hey Wester! Hey Maxine
    Wester Kiranov: hi all
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hi Wester
    Maxine Walden: hi, wester
    Stim Morane: Hi Wester

    I introduced the current session.

    Pema Pera: Thank you all for joining us!
    Pema Pera: As you probably know, a week ago Stim and I started a short series of weekly dialogues
    Pema Pera: titled prehistory of PaB
    Pema Pera: Steven talked about his training and subsequent way of seeing more of what is
    Stim Morane: I'm somewhat pleased and bemused to have a foothold in prehistory.
    Pema Pera: and for today I suggested to talk more about that "Is" which corresponds to Being
    Pema Pera: and in how far Steven's "Is" and our "Being" are pointing to the same, or whether there are some subtle differences
    Pema Pera: Steven, or Stim here -- let's stay for simplicity with SL names --
    Pema Pera: you have often emphasized that Being is the most concrete of all that we can talk about
    Pema Pera: even though at first it sounds like the most abstract term
    Stim Morane: Hmmm. This sounds like an artifact of my not being able to type well.
    Stim Morane: "Being" could be used in a huge range of ways.
    Stim Morane: As a counterpart for some very advanced traditional terms, it's beyond conception ... so in that sense it's "abstract". But in this case, what is beyond conception can also be very much present, hence "concrete".
    Pema Pera: If I could summarize in one line all that I've learned from you, perhaps a good way to state it is "to learn to see how Being can be an actual resource, right here and now, in our lives" -- that is what I meant with "concrete": practical
    Stim Morane: Yes, it certainly is meant to be relied on, and in that sense is practical, beneficial.
    Pema Pera: perhaps our lives as we normally live them are what is "abstract" -- we look at life through the lense of our own seeming needs, our wishes, our judgments
    Stim Morane: I think so.

    I switched to the main question.

    Pema Pera: so with this orientation as a reminder, Stim, how is your "Is" similar or different from our "Being"?
    Stim Morane: I am not at all sure.
    Stim Morane: There really is no such thing as Is, or Being. This is because in the ordinary way of viewing things, they literally don't correspond to anything … and because in clear Seeing they are “empty”. So either way, they’re “nothing”.
    Stim Morane: Powerful nothings.
    Stim Morane: “Is” is a particular facet of reality available to one type of Seeing. Such Seeing, in turn, is revealed through Stopping. So Is and Seeing and Stopping are linked to each other and to Being.
    Stim Morane: Maybe we could say Is is the entry into Being, where Being is a much broader term.
    Stim Morane: :)
    Pema Pera: So in PaB, our attitude is to play, and specifically to play as if "all is Being" already, before we even try in any way to see that -- and our activity is to stop, to drop activities, frequently, in a gentle way, to ease into this powerful Nothing
    Stim Morane: If so, that is a perfectly legitimate and interesting new approach
    Pema Pera: play as Being -> stop -> drop -> see -> see Being (let Being see)
    Stim Morane: I see. Well why not?
    Pema Pera: Do you in your teaching also start with "Is" up-front, from day one, as we do here with Being, it being part of the title of our group?
    Stim Morane: I look forward to following PaB's adventure.
    Stim Morane: For me, "Is" means Seeing Is. It can't be "adopted" without actual Seeing. Is that different?
    Pema Pera: So there are two ways to talk about Being, to approach it, so the speak, when we start with where we (think we) are, in our daily life
    Pema Pera: One is to try to stop, try to see, and when doing so, to get a foothold into Being -- the other is to start with Being itself, but the only way to do that then is a gentle pretend-Being, Play as Being
    Stim Morane: I see.
    Pema Pera: is the first your approach in teaching, and the second ours?
    Pema Pera: Is that the main difference?
    Stim Morane: Yes, sounds like it.
    Stim Morane: I'm intrigued.

    Looking back on the actual history of PaB, in the last three months.

    Pema Pera: For me the practical "step-up", entry into the realm of Being, the realm of the True Nothing, is through the door of the True Something, appearances (phenomena)
    Stim Morane: Yes. Well that would apply in both approaches to some extent.
    Pema Pera: what I myself have learned in a year of PaB, is to see more off what that entails
    Pema Pera: yes, for sure
    Pema Pera: so in the course of last year, we started with simply "stopping, and dropping what you have to see what you are"
    Pema Pera: and then "Being seeing" came out as a kind of refinement
    Pema Pera: and that led to the APAPB phrase:
    Pema Pera: Appreciating the Presence of Appearance as a Presentation by Being
    Stim Morane: OK
    Pema Pera: and more and more myself I am learning to see how each single phenomenon opens up to all of Being, as well as the collective presence of all phenomena
    Pema Pera: I am wondering still how to invite a focus on sheer appearance into Play as Being . . . .
    Stim Morane: that is important in both approaches.
    Stim Morane: I look forward to learning how it works here.
    Stim Morane: :)

    Fefonz, Pila and Myoko arrived as well, and I gave a brief account of my own way of working with appearances.

    Myoko Fhang: Hi guys
    Pema Pera: right now, for me, the best way to describe how it is to work with this is to describe my own sense of presence like a barrel, for which the hoop around the slats is being removed -- I find the slats falling away, my sense of self falling away and dissolving so to speak into the totality of sheer appearance . . . . it is so hard to describe this . . . .
    Stim Morane: Hi Myoko and Fefonz
    Fefonz Quan: Hi,
    Stim Morane: I can imagine. As I mentioned earlier, the traditional terms are elusive too.
    Myoko Fhang: Falling away really resonates with me.
    Stim Morane: uh huh.
    Pema Pera: not only falling away of self, but of time and identities in general -- yet such a description sounds as if everything disintegrates, while in fact it is a kind of total integration that can only be seen when all those layers of judgement (including time and identity) drop away
    A group member named Vic Michalak gave you Science Circle 6 JAN 2009 - Mook Maruti on "Critical Thinking".
    Stim Morane: what you describe applies to the old Ways too. So maybe there isn't so much different after all.
    Pema Pera: do you have any suggestion for us as to how to work with appearances in that way (including any preference you may have for the word "appearance" vs "phenomenon" as a handle)?
    Stim Morane: Your 9-second method is a good start.
    Stim Morane: The rest may just be fine-tuning and lots of follow-up.
    Stim Morane: I'll stay out of the terminology issue you mention ... people in PaB will decide the matter.

    We were at the half hour, and it was time to invite anyone to speak up.

    Pema Pera: well, maybe this is a good point at which to open the conversation to the whole group -- does anyone like to comment?
    Stim Morane: Yes, please, everyone.
    Pila Mulligan: I think I understand what Stim said about Is; unfortunately my mind is distracted by remembering Bill Clinton's infamous answer to a question during Monicagate, when he said: 'it depends on what is is'
    Stim Morane: yes, I know.
    Stim Morane: I may have to change my jargon.
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Adams Rubble: bye all :)
    Pila Mulligan: it also remineded me of Don Juan (Castenada's writings)
    Stim Morane: oh, Bye Adams!
    Pema Pera: bye Adams
    Pila Mulligan: bye Adams
    genesis Zhangsun: bye Adams
    Myoko Fhang: Bye adams
    Fefonz Quan: bye adams
    Wester Kiranov: bye adams
    Pila Mulligan: where he used the terminology 'stopping the world'
    Stim Morane: Yes. I have no idea how close the comparison really is.
    Maxine Walden: I find myself pondering your phrase, Pema, 'dissolving into the totality of sheer appearance', guess I could use a clarification of 'sheer appearance'
    Stim Morane: Even in the traditions I've studied, these notions had many different meanings.

    I gave a brief attempt to describe the presence of sheer appearance . . .

    Pema Pera: perhaps the best way to describe it, Maxine, is to try to say how I have learned not to learn :-)
    Pema Pera: but to unlearn
    Stim Morane: :)
    Pema Pera: not to add, but to subtract
    Pema Pera: Normally we face a problem, and then we try to solve it
    Pema Pera: we take all that we know, and in a giant effort we bring all that to bear on the problem
    Pema Pera: in a massive assault -- shock and awe and all that
    Pema Pera: but in fact, our real problems are hidden in the hidden assumptions we make
    Pema Pera: and the more rigorous radical way to solve all problems, the mother of all problems
    Pema Pera: is to go back, and see what it is that led to all that mess
    Pema Pera: the assumption of separate individuality, linear time, identifications with only part of what Is
    Pema Pera: and when you do that, then you are left, it seems what the presence of appearance
    Pema Pera: (to describe it in just one way that seems apt)
    Pema Pera: the sheer presence of sheer appearance
    Pema Pera: without any underlying assumptions, judgments, built-in agendas
    Pema Pera: does that provide a bit of an answer, Maxine?
    Pema Pera: (sorry about the early Iraq war metaphors -- but that was a perfect example of the arrogance of addition to a problem, rather than stopping, seeing, subtracting)
    Maxine Walden: yes, guess I had not quite heard 'sheer' or thought of it used in this context which you and Stim have eloquently mentioned , thanks

    . . . though a song might have been better.

    Pema Pera: I wish I could sing a song about the River of continuity of presence that I find myself swimming in these days . . . . like Milarepa or Rumi or Saint Francis . . . .
    Stim Morane: :)
    Myoko Fhang: I find that when you open up like you described, Pema, and realize the magnitude of how things has appeared there is a great awe, where understanding and compassion arises naturally.
    Pema Pera: oh yes, all of that are kind of side effect
    Pema Pera: and at the same time other entry portals
    Pila Mulligan: Pema, your light shines bright without singing, in the typed words that shimmer in your presence
    Pema Pera: the funny thing is: Being is not somewhere far away; each single appearance sings that song . . . .
    Pema Pera: thanks, Pila :-)
    Pema Pera: the topology, mathematically speaking is very funny: one point is all points, as Stim wrote thirty years and a bit ago :-)
    Wester Kiranov: that's why metaphors always go funny
    Pema Pera: that is what makes art Art and literature Literature
    Wester Kiranov: you have to arrive at the place where you already are
    Pema Pera: a good writer can describe watching a single curtain blowing in the wind and seeing Being
    Pema Pera: yes, Wester
    Pema Pera: with the you very different from the you you thought you were :-)
    Pema Pera: not the needy limited crying out for more you
    Wester Kiranov: because then you know that here is everywhere
    Pema Pera: but the already complete you
    Pema Pera: (to use Stim's terms)
    Pema Pera: yes
    Stim Morane: It's not mine, but a very ancient term
    Pema Pera: (I keep pestering Stim to let me divulge more and more of his secrets, ancient secrets :-)
    Pema Pera: (mostly he lets me . . . .)
    Pila Mulligan: rl calls -- bye
    Pema Pera: bye Pila!
    Wester Kiranov: bye pila
    Stim Morane: a few are new, most are not
    Stim Morane: bye Pila
    Stim Morane: I will have to leave in about 5 minutes ...
    Maxine Walden: me as well

    Myoko brought up the interesting question of the role of concentration.

    Myoko Fhang: How do you see the relation between concentration and being?
    Stim Morane: for training purposes, concentration is an important prelude or prerequisite.
    Stim Morane: But it turns out not to be needed either, at a higher level of Seeing.
    Myoko Fhang: For me formal meditation practise seems crucial to be able to stay in the moment.
    Stim Morane: Yes. For most everyone, I think.
    Stim Morane: But there is still room for various ways to "practice", and to realize practice-lessness
    Pema Pera: perhaps the crux is: there are two ways to "stay in the moment": trying to stay in the moment, and seeing that there is no way to leave
    Stim Morane: Yes. These go together.
    Pema Pera: the second one seems impossible, so we do the first one first, the hard one, till we see how easy the second one is
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    Pema Pera: and then we continue the first one!
    Pema Pera: as a celebration, not a means to an end
    Stim Morane: oops ... time to go!
    Pema Pera: bye Stim!
    Maxine Walden: yes, for me too
    Stim Morane: Bye everyone!
    Wester Kiranov: bye stim
    Pema Pera: bye Maxine!
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Stim, ty
    Maxine Walden: bye all see you soon
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Maxine
    Wester Kiranov: bye maxine
    Myoko Fhang: Bye stim.
    Fefonz Quan: bye maxine, stim
    Fefonz Quan: Good night everyone :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: night Fefpnz
    genesis Zhangsun: night fefonz
    Wester Kiranov: night fefonz
    Pema Pera: bye Fef!
    Fefonz Quan: _/!\_

    After a round of goodbyes, the meeting started to wind down.

    Pema Pera: perhaps the meeting is "already complete" too?
    Pema Pera: or is there any last comment/question?
    Pema Pera: Myoko, did we answer to your concerns?
    Myoko Fhang: Totally. It makes a lot of sense.
    Pema Pera: I'm very glad to see you back, by the way!
    Pema Pera: I enjoyed our occasional conversations in earlier PaB sessions in summer and fall
    Myoko Fhang: Thanks, I enjoined them very too.
    Pema Pera: shall we end here then? We will continue this particular series one week from now
    Pema Pera: thank you all for coming here!
    Myoko Fhang: Great. Looking forward to see you all again.
    Wester Kiranov: ty all!
    Pema Pera: and if anyone else wants to dialogue with anyone, please set something up!
    genesis Zhangsun: bye
    Pema Pera: we do too, Myoko!
    Scathach Rhiadra: thank you Pems
    Wester Kiranov: bye all
    Scathach Rhiadra: Pema*
    Pema Pera: oh, I like Pems!
    Scathach Rhiadra: :))
    genesis Zhangsun: I sort of liked Pems too!
    genesis Zhangsun: sounds sweet
    Scathach Rhiadra: ok, your new name:)
    Pema Pera: hahaha
    Pema Pera: sounds a bit nicely oldfashioned and rural
    Pema Pera: see you all soon again!
    genesis Zhangsun: bye!
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