2009.01.13 13:00 - Prehistory of PaB Dialogues #3: Pema and Stim

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    I, Pema, was the guardian that afternoon, and Stim and I held our third dialogue in the Prehistory series.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi, Moon, Pema.
    Stim Morane: Hi Moon, Pema
    Moon Fargis: hello ^^/
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Pema, Moon:)
    Pema Pera: Hi Everybody!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi, Gen.
    Stim Morane: Hi Gen
    Myoko Fhang: Hi Gen
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Gen:)
    genesis Zhangsun: Hey Corvi,Stim, Myoko, Scat, Pema, Moon!
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Maxine:)
    Pema Pera: Hi Gen, Maxine!
    genesis Zhangsun: Hi Maxine
    Maxine Walden: hi, everyone
    Stim Morane: Hi Maxine
    Maxine Walden: hi, Stim
    Maxine Walden: having trouble getting seated, for some reason
    Moon Fargis: "just sit" :)
    Moon Fargis: *giggles*
    Stim Morane: :)
    Maxine Walden: right, Moon, seems so easy

    After a few minutes, we got started.

    Pema Pera: Welcome again, all of you, to another dialogue by Stim and me; this is the third one in our short series on the prehistory of PaB
    Pema Pera: As I emailed you yesterday, it is a follow-up on something Stim said a week ago:
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi, Gaya.
    Pema Pera: In that earlier dialogue, we talked about Being and Is:
    Stim: "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: Maybe we could say Is is the entry into Being, where Being is a
    much broader term.
    Stim: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello :)
    Stim Morane: Hi Gaya
    Moon Fargis: hmms "just crash"
    Maxine Walden: hi, gaya
    Pema Pera: Stim, these are very difficult topics to say anything about at all . . . . . -- hi Gaya!
    Moon Fargis: ah hi gaya
    Pema Pera: I was intrigued by what you said about "Is" as possibly an entry into Being -- can you talk a bit more about that?
    Stim Morane: Can you think of another entry into Being?
    Moon Fargis: candy

    I had to laugh about Stim's way to echo questions back.

    Pema Pera: hahaha, all words fail of course . . . the notion of an entry is already wrong in some sense
    Stim Morane: yes, I agree.
    Pema Pera: yet there is the appearance of "learning to see", "seeing more", "entering into seeing"
    Stim Morane: But in all traditional teaching, the emphasis is not on what is really really true, but on how we can appreciate it more explicitly
    Pema Pera: yes
    Stim Morane: Anyway, even though no one can really "enter" Being, there is such an issue as learning to appreciate it more. And "Is" serves well re that.
    Stim Morane: Is = Suchness, Tathata.
    Stim Morane: But introducing more terms here is probably not the main point.
    Stim Morane: In China, "Is" was taught or shown by shocking, slapping, pushing, shouting.
    Stim Morane: I teach it in more low-key ways.
    Pema Pera: in both cases, in China and in your way, the point was "to stop"?
    Stim Morane: Yes, that's the low-key approach.
    Stim Morane: Stopping and Seeing = many types of Shamatha & Vipashyana
    Stim Morane: Zen introduced the more radical, direct ways.
    Stim Morane: And you in PaB have started to bring out even more simple ways
    Pema Pera: with little slapping but a lot of pushing . . . .
    Stim Morane: :)
    Stim Morane: Anyway, "Is" is more clearly available when one drops some of the things you've mentioned here in PaB
    Pema Pera: So with Is an entry into Being, and Is as suchness, yes that makes total sense, but in what way would you describe Being as more than suchness, different from suchness (again, words are tricky)
    Stim Morane: I don't know of any way to "describe" Being
    Stim Morane: I only know how to suggest an entry, an awakening

    Stim wondered why I did not responded, knowing that my Mac laptop sometimes freezes up; this time it was just me typing a longer sentence.

    Stim Morane: I'm not sure if there is a delay ...
    Pema Pera: Perhaps here is an way to point to the differences: as long as we identify with being a being, e.g. with being human, or being an individual, there is still the possibility of a felt transition, of dropping something (that identification)
    Stim Morane: Yes
    Pema Pera: and that felt transition, awakening, has a sense of an entry
    Stim Morane: right
    Pema Pera: while from the Being side, so to speak, nothing changes
    Stim Morane: true
    Stim Morane: there is no transition
    Stim Morane: But again, teachings are all useful lies
    Pema Pera: so in that sense Being could be seen as the "Is" side of "Is" and "Is" as the human side of "Is" -- if you see what I mean :-)
    Stim Morane: well Being has many kinds of splendor
    Stim Morane: They can be appreciated, and Are, but not so easily "said"
    Stim Morane: many Zen koans point at these, sometimes in very specific ways
    Stim Morane: Vajrayana icons do too
    Stim Morane: but always the crucial point is being in what is being pointed at
    Stim Morane: in ordinary life, as a "being", one can talk with one's friends about various nice features of life.
    Stim Morane: One can do the same re Being, but only with others who See
    Pema Pera: the question in PaB is, we try to talk about Being with others who join in playing-as-if Seeing
    Stim Morane: Yes
    Stim Morane: This is new, perhaps

    It does seem new, and it is the crux of Play as Being.

    Pema Pera: taking a direct hint from zen masters and others who tell us that Being is Being already before we awaken to it, and that nothing changes at that point, so . . . that gives us licence, in some sense
    Stim Morane: it's not technically wrong, or impossible ... it's just tricky.
    Stim Morane: If one sets up "seeing" as a hurdle, that's both right and wrong.
    Pema Pera: the question is more practical, yes, how to avoid us to remain in a kind of two-truths situation . . . .
    Stim Morane: everyone enjoys moments that count as seeing ... so in PaB, perhaps you are finding ways to help people enjoy these moments more.
    Pema Pera: well, perhaps we can up the ante (re: not seeing "seeing" as a hurdle)
    Stim Morane: that is actually something I have also been doing with people for some time.
    Stim Morane: I mean, just using ordinary life
    Stim Morane: shared stuff
    Stim Morane: IT should work here too
    Pema Pera: up the ante as in: playing as if playing as Being is not different from Being Seeing -- as we started doing a few months into PaB
    Stim Morane: it's not essentially different
    Pema Pera: following ordinary logic, strictly speaking, upping the ante would involve:
    Pema Pera: playing as if playing as Being would already be seeing Being while playing as Being
    Pema Pera: but that ordinary logic would be wrong, because seeing Being is impossible while Being is playing a human being
    Pema Pera: so those two words have to be reversed: not seeing Being (by us)
    Pema Pera: but rather letting Being See

    What I tried to express was the difference between a human being seeing Being, which is impossible, and letting Being See. But admittedly, it took a few sentences to express that, too long for Stim's taste, at least in this conversation. So we got into a little laziness competition :-)

    Stim Morane: I'm much too lazy to sort all that out
    Pema Pera: :)
    Stim Morane: Stopping is great for lazy people
    Stim Morane: It cuts right through every Gordian Knot
    Stim Morane: but perhaps the issues you mention would just pop up again re Stopping.
    Pema Pera: it's funny how both of us consider ourselves to be maximally lazy . . . (^_^)
    Stim Morane: Someone would have to sit on you for weeks to get you to understand being lazy, Pema
    Pema Pera: to summarize my point perhaps more simply:
    Pema Pera: instead of pretending to be Being, let's pretend Being to be me
    Pema Pera: or just let Being See
    Pema Pera: is that not lazy enough :-) ?
    Stim Morane: :)
    Stim Morane: each person will have to decide
    Pema Pera: yes
    Stim Morane: your 9-sec rule is as good a place to start as any.
    Stim Morane: the rest is just follow-through
    Stim Morane: trimming down
    Stim Morane: stopping and seeing will pop up in many ways, including in "not"

    Well, perhaps we were to lazy to continue. In any case, it was about time to let others speak up.

    Pema Pera: Shall we open the floor?
    Solobill Laville raises his hand
    Stim Morane: sure
    Solobill Laville: I had a question
    Solobill Laville: I've wondered about certain states of "sensing" Being, almost a "pre/anticipatory" state
    Solobill Laville: (or a "smell" of this to use my own sense of it) prior to a "deeper" experience,
    Solobill Laville: or perhaps just short of it...Is this "Is" or "Being" or what is the difference? (And who cares and does it matter?)
    Stim Morane: this is common, almost universal, for people in traditional types of practice, Solo.
    Stim Morane: Perhaps what is happening is that seeing is being noticed on an unconscious level, so people frame it as a precursor, or intuition, sometimes a sense of having a question ...
    Stim Morane: For example, right before people in Zen actually have a kensho, they often suddenly ask themselves "I wonder what kensho is like?"
    Solobill Laville: ah
    Pema Pera: (kensho = awakening)
    Solobill Laville: I guess I'm still unclear on the diff btw Is and Being - Is resonates better with me for some reason :)
    Solobill Laville: thanks
    Stim Morane: hmm
    Stim Morane: what do the rest of you think about that?
    genesis Zhangsun: well once you are awake? do you remain awake?
    genesis Zhangsun: or do continue to awaken?
    Solobill Laville: (but I bring a Zen background...)
    genesis Zhangsun: ok perhaps I have to explain why I ask

    There was a pause for a while, followed by a number of contributions from different angles; the joy of texting, with multiple lines being simultaneously prepared.

    Stim Morane: well I'll mumble something while waiting for others ...
    Myoko Fhang: What about: Being is the experience of Is?
    Stim Morane: it would be unusual for someone to never lapse back into unawakeness
    Stim Morane: Being is the expansive terrain exposed by Is and pervaded by Is
    genesis Zhangsun: If you are saying that there is some sort of a process of intuition then the awakening then I just wonder if this is an ongoing process or once you are "awake" the intuitive states dissapear
    Stim Morane: without Is, Being would be existence or nonexistence or something along those lines.
    Scathach Rhiadra: Being is the Dharmadhatu?
    Stim Morane: gen, some groups define "Buddha" as endless on-going awakening to Buddha
    Gaya Ethaniel: "'Is' being an entry point to 'Being'" makes sense to me somehow. [I understand 'Is' as in how things are, Buddhists speak of.]
    Stim Morane: Yes, Dharmadhatu is probably the Buddhist angle on Being
    genesis Zhangsun: ok fine thanks
    Stim Morane: Dharmakaya would then be the existential stance, being in Being in the fullest sense
    Stim Morane: But the problem with the traditional angles is that they don't suit PaB's "jump right in!" emphasis.
    Myoko Fhang: Ah, the Dharmakaya clearification makes sense. Thanks for that one.
    Stim Morane: So Pema is emphasizing play
    Stim Morane: Myoko, in Buddhism, the two terms are often mixed up.
    Stim Morane: people writing the texts just get a little lazy. :)

    I picked up on an earlier remark by Solobill, with another laziness twist.

    Pema Pera: When talking about the difference between "Is" and Being, Solo added: (And who cares and does it matter?). It does matter, I think, in making it more clear what "Playing as Being" is trying to do. It is trying to skip the "obtaining" sense, bypassing the notion of "an entry into" and instead accepting residence already in Being . . . . if we try to perform PaB as a kind of entryway, we are doing it wrong, strictly speaking!
    Stim Morane: Yes. The same point is made in Zen and some other traditions.
    Stim Morane: PaB is in good company.
    Solobill Laville nods to Pema
    Pema Pera: now isn't that lazy? No need even to enter?
    Pema Pera: Question: no need even to stop ????
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Moon Fargis: *gulps*
    Tarmel Udimo: and yet for a lot of peole it has to be entry point first, this is its power
    Stim Morane: Zen and others say that too. The main difference is that they would restrict that comment to practitioners of a certain level of understanding, or to people with certain natural capacities.
    Stim Morane: My comment was in response to Pema's
    Tarmel Udimo: I don't think one needs to up the ante quite yet but keep going back to really doing Pab and through this process understanding starts to break through
    Stim Morane: That could well be, Tarmel
    Stim Morane: And if it proves not to be so for a given person, then other approaches might be called for.
    Stim Morane: Of course, if you want to say there are no people in the first place, fine.
    Pema Pera: :)
    genesis Zhangsun: so how would one differentiate whether they were playing in their sleep or playing while awake?
    genesis Zhangsun: "awake"
    Pema Pera: I would say, yes and no, Tarmel: yes, at first that may well be the best and most effective attitude -- but then after a while that will get you stuck into a pattern of expectation -- and then you have to stop that, to see that there is nothing to get; PaB offers a shortcut to the latter

    Stim brought the focus back to play.

    Stim Morane: perhaps the emphasis should be on just playing, not worrying. But I admit that in working with groups, I do care about the distinction you mention, gen.
    Pema Pera: Gen, for Being there is no need to differentiate, so if we truly play as Being, we don't differentiate
    Stim Morane: This is all very tricky stuff.
    Tarmel Udimo: It seems the more one sees, the more one has a need to define it and find pathways to describe it, for those that are not 'seeing' as clearly word definitions confuse things and perhaps add more expectations
    Pema Pera: yes, we are riding on the edge of a sword here . . . . .
    Pema Pera: very exciting! (^_^)
    Stim Morane: I don't think there is a problem saying there's no need to differentiate, and that the difference matters.
    Pema Pera: yes, both are true
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    Stim Morane: These can both be handled in a nondualistic way. But only in Seeing. So ... :)
    Pema Pera: (or in pretend-Seeing)
    Stim Morane: I doubt we will fully escape the trickiness
    Pema Pera: (with a little help from our friends)
    genesis Zhangsun: pretend Seeing sounds a bit dangerous to me
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: isn't it all dangerous, really?
    Stim Morane: Frankly, if you don't mind my saying so, I think the emphasis should just be on enjoying PaB and using the "play" approaches.
    Pema Pera: yes, all this is dangerous: pretend brings out the danger a bit more than the innocent-sounding "play"
    genesis Zhangsun: I get what you are saying Pema but for one to pretend to see who doesn't really see
    Pema Pera: yes, that would be the wrong "pretend"
    Pema Pera: so I agree with both of you, Stim and Gen, that "play" is a better word
    Pema Pera: less likely to be misunderstood

    So we agreed to turn back to play. Myoko then asked a question that tied in with the "pretend", as "faking"; I must say, both expressions have their charm; a little spicy, and easy to misunderstand, but also very direct when taken correctly.

    Myoko Fhang: So it's not faking it until you makin it?
    Pema Pera: "explore" may be better than "pretend"
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: explore
    Tarmel Udimo: Play brings ligthness a much needed ingredient
    Pema Pera: exploring what it could be, yes, to be already Being
    Pema Pera: yes
    Stim Morane: It is not at all unusual in both Ch'an/Zen and in tantrism to "pretend" ... this is one of the main approaches. The only difference is that it's only done on an individual basis, with a teacher, with lots of protocols built in.
    Pema Pera: how would Being see, rigth here and now?
    Vishnu Duranjaya: Hello All
    Pema Pera: yes, we are democratizing what seems on face value the least democratizable
    Pema Pera: Hi Vishnu!
    Stim Morane: Yes
    Vishnu Duranjaya: Hi Pema
    Solobill Laville smiles at Vishnu
    genesis Zhangsun: thanks for explaining that Stim...so a teacher who could explain the signficance of the pretending
    Vishnu Duranjaya: Hi Piet
    genesis Zhangsun: making sure the student does not consolidate that pretending
    Stim Morane: gen, this pretending HAS to be done at a certain stage of traditional practice, simply because people tend to discount themselves, saying "I'm not sure I get it"
    Solobill Laville: Pema, could you expand on your democratization statement?
    Stim Morane: of course, for the people who are brash and go around saying "I already have it", then the teacher would say "you don't have it!" even if the person does.
    Tarmel Udimo: how would Being see, rigth here and now? seeing itself seeing itself seeing itself ;-)
    Stim Morane: Being doesn't see anything.
    Stim Morane: :)
    Tarmel Udimo: exactly ;-0
    Tarmel Udimo: :-)

    I did not get a chance to respond to Stim's remark. As with anything we say about Being, we can respond "yes and no". No, it is wrong to say that Being sees, in a way in which a human being would see. But yes, it can also be said that all seeing that anyone does is only possible by using Being as a resource. Alas, this angle had to wait for another occasion.

    Pema Pera: Solo, PaB is inviting everybody to the same seemingly very privileged position of a very mature zen student who is about to hear the final word from the teacher -- hence democratization
    genesis Zhangsun: Ah Stim yes thanks...so perhaps why explore is better word than pretend
    Solobill Laville: ahhh....
    Pema Pera: but explore then has the danger of suggesting that there is something to explore, to find, to reach for . .. . .
    Stim Morane: gen, I think many words, including some obviously wrong ones, can work sometimes. And no word is really right.
    genesis Zhangsun: because it is not about getting it or not getting it but continuing to engage in an open way with it
    genesis Zhangsun: right ok thanks
    Maxine Walden: (have to go soon; I will just disappear with thanks)
    Stim Morane: Yes, me too
    Pema Pera: so what we are doing right now is very practical: we are providing a whole smorgasbord of terms, and show in what way each term can be used: a tour through the kitchen of PaB!
    genesis Zhangsun: me too
    Tarmel Udimo: creative types do this 'pretending', visualization , imagining all the time its part of the creative process
    Stim Morane: Yes

    The hour was almost finished, and we had to go off to our next event.

    Pema Pera: Vishnu here is about to give a talk in the Kira Cafe
    genesis Zhangsun: yes thats right
    Pema Pera: so we'd better get over then in a minute
    genesis Zhangsun: yes
    Stim Morane: OK
    Tarmel Udimo: and through this process the pretend becomes real
    Pema Pera: thank you, Stim, and everyone!
    genesis Zhangsun: so for those who think they don't get it pretend and for those who think they get it continue to explore and play
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods to Tarmel.
    Stim Morane: thanks, Pema and everyone!
    Myoko Fhang: Loved the slightly esoteric talk, thanks every one.
    Tarmel Udimo: yes
    Pema Pera: ah, but let's find the practical aplications!
    Pema Pera: kitchens are not esoteric
    genesis Zhangsun: bye everyone
    Pema Pera: though in cooking soft things get hard and hard things get soft
    Pema Pera: :)
    Solobill Laville: Bye, all, thanks!
    Tarmel Udimo: bye
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thank you
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