Table of contents
    No headers

    The following was writen by Pila Mulligan for the Chronicles.

    I appreciate PaB as a place to meet to discuss experience.  Various traditions or lineages describe the fruits of success in contemplative practices in somewhat different terms, but the essence of those descriptions commonly refer to well-being, awareness and happiness.  In real life, the felt presence of a competent teacher can be part of learning a contemplative practice.  What is felt is the nonverbal affirmation of a sense of well-being, awareness and happiness.  There is also a gestalt element in such practices, where a group’s collective energy contributes to the experience.
    The are obstacles to learning contemplative practices in Second Life.  First, the gestalt element is hampered by the environment.  Second, there may be nonverbal learning in SL, or a sense a teacher has some special knowledge, but the sense is susceptible to misapprehension.  Third, without organic personal interaction, words take on elevated importance.  When one hopes to learn a practice that brings well-being, awareness and happiness, words alone can be a stumbling block.  We can learn from reading a book, but the animated interaction of SL can raise our expectations as to the effect of words.  In pursuit of those expectations, words sometimes become even more confusing.

    In terms I appreciate, the tastiest fruit of meditation is bliss.  Real happiness is possible, and having it arise in your life by meditative practice is nice.  Afterwards, however, the mundane world is still there and the highs and lows of daily life go on.  In my opinion, this is why Buddha taught compassion and Jesus taught love – as guidelines to help us approach the highs and lows of mundane life.  We are blessed with the potential to find heavenly bliss, but then what?  Then we still need to live our mundane existence.  In that regard I appreciate the idea of ethics.  Compassion and love are guideposts in regard to ethics – guideposts that are validated by the fruits of meditative practice.
    My worries about some spiritual discussions in Second Life, as I said, are the missing dimension of personal presence (for nonverbal and gestalt elements), the ascendancy of words and the potential for disappointment and frustration.  The ego aspect of words, or insisting that words themselves are the end, can lead to a kind of neo-nihilism.  We can begin to deny things instead of affirming them.  Ethics can be lost in that malaise.

    Pema and his cohorts keep the PaB approach fairly harmless in this regard by being scrupulously polite, by being experience-based as opposed to theoretical, and by the effusive poetic enthusiasm Pema conveys. 

    Real life meditation practice can lead to complications as people liberate their internal  energy.  A competent meditation teacher needs to be aware of that risk, and capable of addressing the complications.  It can be difficult.  In PaB, the risk is diminished.  PaB’s method is not so much a contemplation as it is a tarrying moment, a yogic practice that seems to me closer to sports and martial arts than meditation.

    lwf23.gifTiming is important in competitive efforts.  A good athlete needs a sense of when to vigorously advance and when to tarry: these are yang and yin elements of competition.  They relate to the mutual influence of players’ internal energy – the same personal energy that meditation can liberate.  The players’ personal energies affect the playing field.  The tarrying moment is essential to keeping balance during the game.  This is analogous to PaB's 9 second practice.

    As we see from PaB discussions, experiences obtained from observing the tarrying moment are interesting and valuable.  So we have a safe and instructive practice in the approach used by PaB.  We also have the inescapable weaknesses of Second Life, but PaB has more potential value than detriment.  PaB provides a place where we meet to discuss our experiences and share how we find balance in our lives.  And it is a place where we practice our ethics.

    Tag page (Edit tags)
    • No tags

    Files 4

    FileSizeDateAttached by 
    Gathering the light (meditation's first phase) -- from 'The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life by Tung-Pin Lu and Richard Wilhelm (paperback 1962)
    15.16 kB00:29, 10 Apr 2010Pila MulliganActions
    Origin of a new being in the place of power (second phase)
    13.64 kB00:29, 10 Apr 2010Pila MulliganActions
    Separation of the spirit body for independent existence (third phase)
    12.7 kB00:29, 10 Apr 2010Pila MulliganActions
    The center in the midst of conditions (final phase)
    15.7 kB00:29, 10 Apr 2010Pila MulliganActions
    You must login to post a comment.
    Powered by MindTouch Core