2009.01.24 19:00 - On Buddhism and Bushism

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    I, Pema, was the guardian that evening. It was the first in our four weekly guardian meetings, centered around the weekend, at Sat 7 pm, Sun 1 pm, Mon 7 am, Tue 1 am.

    Pema Pera: Hi Solo!
    Solobill Laville: Hello, Pema!
    Pema Pera: How are you?
    Solobill Laville: Well, thanks, family has the flu though....how are you?
    Pema Pera: oh, I'm fine!
    Solobill Laville: Excellent! Are you still in Japan?
    Pema Pera: Funny, I see your text balloon but not your avatar . . .
    Pema Pera: Yup, still in Kyoto
    Pema Pera: ah, zooming in did the trick
    Pema Pera: there you are!
    Solobill Laville: Yes, it has been slow in SL lately...
    Pema Pera: tell me about it!
    Solobill Laville: How much longer in Kyoto?
    Pema Pera: I had set up a major demonstration in Tokyo, a week ago . . . .
    Pema Pera: for the first hour, nobody could get into SL
    Solobill Laville: Oops
    Pema Pera: not a great advertisement for SL . . . . .
    Solobill Laville: hehe, amazing how the timing can work on things like that
    Pema Pera: I'll be flying back to the US in a week
    Pema Pera: well, last weekend was rough going for most of the weekend
    Solobill Laville: In terms of your demo you mean?
    Pema Pera: no, the whole weekend people had trouble logging in
    Pema Pera: several PaB sessions seemed to be affected too
    Solobill Laville: Right, I recall

    I brought up some news item I had read in one of the Zen Retreat announcements.

    Pema Pera: I saw in a recent announcement that you are leading sessions related to sutras?
    Pema Pera: in the tea hut of Zen Retreat?
    Solobill Laville: Yes, it was an actual discussion on Sutras for about 4 months...
    Solobill Laville: But I changed it to an open dialog, which interestingly
    Solobill Laville: saw an increase in attendance by about 10-fold :)
    Solobill Laville: So, now just a discussion group on Buddha babble
    Pema Pera: ah it was "sutras" that scared people away :-)
    Solobill Laville: Yup :)
    Pema Pera: and "open" that attracted people?
    Pema Pera: which tea hut is this, the one that we started PaB in?
    Solobill Laville: hehe, yes, Dakini was happy to see it used :)
    Pema Pera: I'm happy too!
    Pema Pera: I sometimes drop by; happy memories
    Pema Pera: when are your sessions?
    Solobill Laville: Wednesday nights, 6:30 PM SLT
    Pema Pera taking out his calendar . . .
    Solobill Laville: In a way it is similar to some old PaB talks...ones that were very Buddhist focused
    Solobill Laville: Love to see you there!
    Solobill Laville: This last Wednesday we had a nice talk about the absense of "Boddhicitta" in many Zen writings
    Pema Pera: ah yes, that is all implied :)
    Pema Pera: very strongly so, but not described
    Solobill Laville: Being an open discussion, it is interesting to see who beings questions and the context
    Pema Pera: A deeply loving mother may never use the words "I love you" to address a child . . . .
    Solobill Laville: Good example
    Pema Pera: yes, the openness is fascinating in SL
    Pema Pera: and very stimulating
    Pema Pera: also teaches you to go with the flow, to accept and yet not drown in the flow :-)
    Pema Pera: dance with it rather
    Solobill Laville: :) and yet that is a lesson that not all learn so easily sometimes
    Pema Pera: Hi Calista!
    Pema Pera: Come join us if you like
    Calista Huntress: Hi Pema
    Solobill Laville: Heya, Calista :)

    Calista walked up, and sat down with us.

    Pema Pera: Hi Calista!
    Calista Huntress: Hi =)
    Pema Pera: Have you been here before?
    Pema Pera: Yes, Solo, it is a challenging lesson to learn, but a very valuable one
    Calista Huntress: Just once, but not sue why
    Calista Huntress: *sure
    Solobill Laville: And very rewarding, to your point
    Pema Pera: to see directly rather than to rely on rules or reasoning
    Pema Pera: Ah, Calista, just to make sure: We get together a few times a day to chat about the nature of reality, and everything else, and we have a wiki http://playasbeing.wik.is/ -- we record our conversations there. Do you mind being included in our blogs?
    Calista Huntress: nope
    Pema Pera: thank you!
    Pema Pera: we are very informal, were just talking about that
    Pema Pera: if there is anything you'd like to talk about, just bring it up, comments, questions, whatever :-)
    Solobill Laville: Interestingly, a virtual world makes a wonderful place to chat about the nature of what is real...
    Calista Huntress: Nice, I've been exploring buddhism for a long time, but it's a very hard philosophy to maintain I find
    Pema Pera: yes, the way it forces you to step back may make it easier to see what is essential, Solo
    Solobill Laville: (to attempt to knit these two threads together)
    Pema Pera: The practice may not be that hard, Calista
    Pema Pera: and not that easy either . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . . it is something outside easy and hard
    Pema Pera: and once you figure out how to drop the easy-hard tension, then there is no effort required :)
    Calista Huntress: I think living in the Western world often takes me away from my center
    Solobill Laville: ahhh...why do you suppose that is, Calista?

    Enter Pila, followed soon thereafter by Stim.

    Pema Pera: Hi there Pila!
    Solobill Laville: Heya, Pila
    Pila Mulligan: greetings
    Calista Huntress: b/c the social and economic forces are based on the material - and I have a hard time living in that world when it all seems to be so superficial
    Calista Huntress: yet, I have to play the game in order to succeed by those standarsd
    Solobill Laville is thinking about Calista's comments
    Pema Pera: Hi there, Stim!
    Pila Mulligan: I'm visiting SL for the first time from my new house now :) -- pardon for breaking the line of thought -- just for the record :)
    Pema Pera: new house in RL or SL?
    Pila Mulligan: hi Stim
    Solobill Laville: As a Western Buddhist myself, a primary aspect of my practice is integration into my daily life
    Pila Mulligan: RL new house :)
    Stim Morane: Hi all
    Pema Pera: :)
    Solobill Laville: Congrats, Pila!
    Pila Mulligan: thanks :)
    Pema Pera: yeah, glad to hear you could move in!
    Solobill Laville: Hi, Stim :)
    Solobill Laville: Better connection, Pila?
    Pila Mulligan: no longer living in a shipping container :0
    Solobill Laville: hehe
    Pila Mulligan: pretty mush the same, unfortunately -- slow
    Calista Huntress: Integration is very hard when so diametrically opposed are the values
    Pema Pera: yes, it's perhaps the greatest challenge . . .
    Pila Mulligan: Calista, you were talking about integration with social demands?
    Calista Huntress: I suppose
    Solobill Laville: I brought up integration
    Pila Mulligan: in what context?

    As if she had heard our earlier conversation, Dakini dropped by.

    Pema Pera: Hi Dakini, so good to see you back again!
    Pila Mulligan: hi Dakini
    Solobill Laville: It started with this: [19:20] Calista Huntress: I think living in the Western world often takes me away from my center
    Pema Pera: we were just talking about your tea hut
    Solobill Laville: Heya, Dakini :)
    Pema Pera: which Solo is now using for his no-sutras sutras meeting :)
    Solobill Laville: hehe
    Stim Morane: Hi Dakini
    Dakini Rhode: hi Pema, Stim, Bill, Pila, & Calista :)
    Calista Huntress: hi =)
    Solobill Laville looks at Dakini and pats the cushion next to him
    Dakini Rhode: ty Bill :)
    Pema Pera: Calista, Dakini is the one who got the ball rolling with our meetings, by lending me her tea hut, on April Foolsday, for our first session -- we've gotten together several times a day ever since, as a group
    Solobill Laville: :)
    Calista Huntress: nice
    Pema Pera: we had our 1000th session last month :)
    Calista Huntress: wow
    Calista Huntress: wtg
    Pema Pera: and all of them can be read on http://playasbeing.wik.is/ -- in case you ever suffer from insomnia
    Dakini Rhode: haha that is a large number of sessions :)
    Calista Huntress: I'm new to SL, but it seems such a perfect place to discuss the nature of existence
    Pema Pera: yes!!!
    Calista Huntress: what an interesting parallel to rl
    Pema Pera: moving between RL and SL on a daily basis can be seen as an invitation to move in other ways as well, to wake up to new angles and directions
    Calista Huntress: That is part of my hope
    Solobill Laville: :)
    Calista Huntress: wherever it may happen
    Pila Mulligan: what was the earlier comment about integration related to Solo?
    Solobill Laville: Well, Calista mentioned interest in Buddhism
    Solobill Laville: and (my words) a fustration with Western materialistic society
    Solobill Laville: Yet, we have to "play the game" in a way, as part of that society
    Calista Huntress: yes
    Pila Mulligan: inescapable it seems

    Solo replayed the beginning of one of our threads.

    Solobill Laville: Hence my comment: [19:24] Solobill Laville: As a Western Buddhist myself, a primary aspect of my practice is integration into my daily life
    Pila Mulligan: ahh, thanks :)
    Calista Huntress: it seem very much a game... so much of my daily interations are based on rules to which my responses are limited and cliche
    Calista Huntress: and fals to how I may really feel
    Pila Mulligan: 'all the world's a stage' it seems
    Calista Huntress: I'd say facade
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Solobill Laville: "play" indeed
    Pila Mulligan: yes, how to be sincere in a shadow game ... what a challeneg
    Pema Pera: so here we play a play within a play, we call in "Play as Being" -- as if we truly ARE rather than have, having so many roles to be stuck to . . . .
    Calista Huntress: And ehat I know of Busshism rings so true with my inner voice
    Pila Mulligan: Busshism ended :)
    Calista Huntress: lol
    Pila Mulligan: thank Buddha
    Pema Pera: what we talk about here is totally compatible with Buddhism, but also with other traditions, such as Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity, Sufism, etc
    Pema Pera: or just plain open exploration
    Solobill Laville: yes
    Calista Huntress: Yeah, the past 8 yeas have seemed very Orwellian to me
    Pema Pera: yes . . . .
    Pila Mulligan: Kafkaesque
    Calista Huntress: which only goes to reinforce these feelings of living in a false existence
    Pema Pera: but not forever, fortunately . . .
    Calista Huntress: No, but meanwhile, for me this is the root of suffering
    Solobill Laville: living in a false existence?
    Calista Huntress: yes
    Solobill Laville: -> To Pema
    Pema Pera: ah, nothing is forever . . . and yet each moment is a door to eternity, beyond time
    Pema Pera: (not meaning to sound abstract -- we take everything here very very concretely)
    Pema Pera: part of the suffering stems from our habit of sliding from one moment into the next, heedlessly as Stim would say
    Pema Pera: no need to do that
    Pila Mulligan: the Bushism that just ended was a very sick period of history, and much of its manifestation was emoitional dysfunction and horrendous posture -- the phyiscal part is already being cured by the departure of the protagontist a few days ago
    Pema Pera: (I have a title for this sessions: On Buddhism and Bushism!)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Calista Huntress: lol
    Solobill Laville loves it when titles happen like that
    Pema Pera: :)

    And so the title for our session was found.

    Pila Mulligan: Wilhelm Reich wrote about the emotional plague, and that is where it was
    Pila Mulligan: sicik leadership
    Pema Pera: yet without Bush we may have had to wait another generation to get a non-white-male in office . . . .
    Pila Mulligan: true
    Pema Pera: co-dependent arising . . . .
    Calista Huntress: Even Republicans I know are catiously optemisitc about the future
    Calista Huntress: but still - to what end does any of it matter
    Pila Mulligan: I think it does
    Pila Mulligan: making the best of the Kali Yuga, at least
    Pema Pera strongly suspects that Calista's friends are not average Republicans, but gets the drift, and has the same impression :-)
    Calista Huntress: well, thy're not religious zellots
    Pema Pera: A mother may love a child, not as a means to a goal, but just by expression love -- perhaps we can all learn to live that way in anything we do, and perhaps then nothing matters . . .
    Pema Pera: (or everything)
    Pila Mulligan: such an idealist, Pema :)
    Pema Pera: no, pragmatist
    Pema Pera: try and do that, success guaranteed!
    Pema Pera: with real differences every day
    Pema Pera: honestly!!!
    Pema Pera: talking about it is idealism
    Pema Pera: doing it is pragmatism
    Dakini Rhode: Pema that would seem to be the highest expression of which we're capable, why wouldn't we want to go for it?
    Pema Pera: because we have the false impression that it is too hard . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . so we don't even try
    Dakini Rhode: just think: what if it were possible there could be no more suffering?
    Pema Pera: the 9 sec is a trick to get us out of that over-limited view of ourselves
    Calista Huntress: I lke an expression that says: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time
    Pema Pera: maybe it is not only possible, but already actual, on some level -- and we just have to discover it, to see that suffering, too, is relative, and totally avoidable
    Pema Pera: :) -> Calista
    Calista Huntress: Suffering as I understand it is a result of craving
    Calista Huntress: our societies are based on craving at a fundimental level
    Pema Pera: but there are two ways to drop craving as a cause for suffering: 1) stop craving (perhaps impossible); 2) accept craving, look through it, refuse to be caught by it
    Calista Huntress: I try especially where thae materialistic is concerned
    Dakini Rhode: isn't there a third way?
    Pema Pera: I'm sure there is, Dakini :)
    Dakini Rhode: :)
    Pema Pera: any suggestions?
    Calista Huntress: but I don't seem any closer to feeling less sufferage

    I mentioned some of the main aspects of our Play as Being explorations.

    Pema Pera: not to sound like a salesperson, Calista, but you may want to try to drop what you have to see what you are, a few times an hour, as we do as a group, in RL, and see what happens :-)
    Pema Pera is a bad salesperson anyway; everything here is free
    Calista Huntress: drop what I see?
    Solobill Laville: 100% commission!
    Pema Pera: drop what you have
    Pema Pera: so that you get more chance to see what you are
    Pema Pera: drop roles, or at least identification that makes you stick to your roles in a sticky way
    Pema Pera: (you were talking about the roles you're forced to play in society, which you didn't like)
    Calista Huntress: When I have done that, I often come off as aloof to others
    Pema Pera: ah, but you can continue playing, outwardly!
    Pila Mulligan: aloof is cool :)
    Dakini Rhode: we can discover layer upon layer of things to drop
    Calista Huntress: I don't think people like to feel that their coccoon is at risk of being fractured
    Calista Huntress: if that makes any sense
    Dakini Rhode: it does take some courage, yes
    Dakini Rhode: to poke holes in the cocoon
    Pema Pera: yes, it does, so we use a trick, asking them to risk only for 9 sec every 15 minutes, as a kind of 1% sales tax on time
    Pema Pera: (900 seconds in 15 minutes)
    Dakini Rhode: yes, start with tiny holes
    Dakini Rhode: pinholes
    Pema Pera: :)
    Dakini Rhode: it's sort of a gradual way to experiment with seeing things differently
    Pema Pera: (we have a bell here that rings every fifteen minutes, as you may have heard, for that purpose)
    Pema Pera: and a humorous way :)
    Pema Pera: not a formal meditation

    Knowing vs. Seeing.

    Calista Huntress: Okay, but that's what I'm driving at - inside I know that the external world; this conceived reality is false - inside I think and feel things very differently - but the problem is that I have to continue a charade - I am and have often been troubled by this duality of my existence
    Pema Pera: so the trick, the way out, is from knowing to "seeing" -- direct seeing that you are not trapped
    Pema Pera: only "knowing" may make you feel worse . . . . it is kind of like a half-truth
    Pema Pera: we're trying to cultivate seeing here, in an easy way
    Pema Pera: and totally outside any "ism"
    Pema Pera: "Buddh" or "Bush" :-)
    Calista Huntress: lol
    Calista Huntress: okay, so how does one beging to see
    Pema Pera: many ways, but in our case we take it easy, we start by every 15 minutes (or just a few times an hour), to stop and drop what you are preoccupied with at that moment, and to try gently to see what you are
    Pema Pera: many of us have reported -- bell ! :-) --
    Pema Pera: that within a few hours or days the world lightens up already
    Pema Pera: and a bit more seeing starts happening . . .
    Pema Pera: . .. but you can't force it
    Pema Pera: you have to invite it
    Pema Pera: and sharing our experiences is very stimulating
    Stim Morane: I have to go now. Thanks for the chat, everyone!
    Pema Pera: bye Stim!
    Solobill Laville: Bye, Stim
    Calista Huntress: bye
    Stim Morane: Bye
    Pila Mulligan: bye Stim

    Stim took off, and I would have to leave soon as well.

    Pema Pera: http://playasbeing.wik.is/PaB_log_excerpts may be a fun brief read
    Pila Mulligan: I also need to go (to pick up a pizza)
    Solobill Laville: Bye, Pila, enjoy
    Calista Huntress: can you explain this "seeing what you are" and more precicley?
    Pila Mulligan: thanks -- bye and aloha
    Pema Pera: hard to explain
    Pema Pera: or impossible actually
    Pema Pera: however
    Pema Pera: the more you do it the more you can try to point to it
    Pema Pera: and recognize it when others do the same
    Pema Pera: so over time we grow this network of shared pointing here
    Pema Pera: does that make any sense?
    Calista Huntress: yes and no... I think I will just have to be patient and see what comes of it. Perhaps, remembering that I am not my brain would be a good starting point
    Solobill Laville: indeed :)
    Pema Pera: yes, one of the things to drop, one of the many beliefs . . .
    Pema Pera: the more you drop, the easier it gets to drop more
    Pema Pera: like cleaning windows
    Solobill Laville nods
    Pema Pera: actually, I have to run now, have to make a phone call to US before East Coasters go to sleep . . . .
    Pema Pera: nice meeting you Calista!
    Calista Huntress: you too thanks
    Solobill Laville: ;) Getting close to that time indeed, Pema
    Pema Pera: and so good to see you again, Dakini, thanks for stopping by!
    Solobill Laville: Bye, Pema

    If anyone else recorded further conversations, they are more than welcome to add those here below.
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