Author Topic: Earth, water, air, fire?  (Read 20641 times)

Matthew

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #50 on: September 23, 2013, 04:40:50 PM »
Welcome back red,

Comprehending this may assist in understanding what others are trying to communicate:

Quote from: Alan Watts
ON BEING AWARE
...
How are we to heal the split between "I" and "me", the brain and the body, man and nature, and bring all the vicious circles which it produces to an end? How are we to experience life as something other than a honey trap in which we are the struggling flies? How are we to find security and peace of mind in a world whose very nature is insecurity, impermanence, and unceasing change? All these questions demand a method and a course of action. At the same time, all of them show that the problem has not been understood. We do not need action - yet. We need more light.

Light, here, means awareness - to be aware of life, of experience as it is at this moment, without any judgements or ideas about it. ...

- Alan Watts, "The Wisdom Of Insecurity", Ch. 5

It seems your mind strongly wishes to clarify everything through words. But this is exactly the problem that needs going beyond. Just stepping into wordless awareness, feeling and mindfulness is where the deep healing, including those remaining childhood wounds lays. By constantly fixating through intellectual description one stays caught, stuck, like a fly in honey.

Kindly,

Matthew

PS That is not to say there is no place for analysis, reflection etc. but until Samadhi, the lower four Jhanas are transcended it is not the best use of ones time and leads away from truth rather than towards it.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 04:48:49 PM by Matthew »
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redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #51 on: September 23, 2013, 10:35:16 PM »
Welcome back red,

Thank-you.

 Although I have not been drawn towards Alan Watts, I do not disagree that one needs to develop awareness.
Even while reflecting on a past memory, or while reading a book, or reading and posting on a forum, ones awareness can be rooted in observing bodily sensations. This is how one can understand experience, while lessening the attachment.




Matthew

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #52 on: September 24, 2013, 07:26:39 AM »
The point is that as long as am inner dialogue is maintained awareness of what is is diminished, self experiencing other maintained.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #53 on: September 24, 2013, 12:25:58 PM »
Yes, but it is a long path Matthew. We can still enjoy the honey that remains stuck to us. :)

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #54 on: September 24, 2013, 06:36:40 PM »
The honey is a form of attachment though, this thread no different to the many threads of members wanting their negative attributes to vanish, but minus the aversion.

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #55 on: October 14, 2013, 09:59:49 PM »
The honey is a form of attachment though, this thread no different to the many threads of members wanting their negative attributes to vanish, but minus the aversion.

Could you retranslate this DT, I'm not sure I'm following you?

Also from the satipatthana sutta:

 -Reflection on the Reality of this BodyTo see the body as a collection of parts; solid and liquid. The traditional list of thirty-two parts;
hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, bowels, intestines, gorge, dung, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, snot, spittle, oil-of-the-joints, urine (and brain is added from the commentary)

- Reflection on the Material ElementsTo see the body as a physical process. The traditional physics is based on the four elements; earth (extension), water (cohesion), air (motility) and fire (energy).

Seems the Buddha wanted us to reflect on these characteristics?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #56 on: October 14, 2013, 11:48:41 PM »
I'm not sure what needs to be re-translated. We have lots of threads of people wanting to escape their thoughts or handle externalities, wanting to cling to thoughts and beliefs is another side of the same coin.

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #57 on: October 15, 2013, 12:57:59 AM »
Yes, but I am talking about contemplating or reflection.

 Obviously there is some level of attachment to thoughts which produce some sensation or another. This is why being aware of the arising and passing away of bodily sensations is an effective way of practicing through day to day life as well as on the cushion.

Your practice seems to lend well to the cushion but how to transition to day to day life and remain a contributing member of society. There must be situations at work that require your contemplation, can this not be done and remain aware of practice or do you become lost in the thoughts? If not is this as a result of some state of bliss that you reached in your morning sit, carrying you through the day, or is it from moment to moment practice and equiminity? Seems you are the one placing much importance and clinging to jhanic states.

What is wrong with gaining understanding of phenomenon. This as a topic will only be understood at the level of the experience one has with phenomenon, but it could be of value non the less.

Again I'm not clinging to and craving these experiences, just reflecting on them and opening them up for discussion. A flower, ones family, a poem, a movie, your supper, your meditative experiences, can all be enjoyed and contemplated afterwards without clinging to them.

Anything can be reflected upon, that is the beauty of things.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #58 on: October 15, 2013, 01:20:10 AM »
Bit of an edit, I replied in between other tasks :p
Your practice seems to lend well to the cushion but how to transition to day to day life and remain a contributing member of society. There must be situations at work that require your contemplation, can this not be done and remain aware of practice or do you become lost in the thoughts?
I don't really do multitasking, so while I'm using the part of my brain that is problem solving with things like my job I'm not constantly aware of practice. But problem solving, organising, etc isn't the same as the sort of tonal, relative contemplative thought you are talking about I feel. While both are not overly conducive to awareness, one is just processing information, the other is actively trying to involve one's self with something, to add significance or meaning - leading to aversion or clinging. Maybe an example would be being presented with a staff dispute, one form of thinking would have you objectively laying out the facts from all relative parties, and then making a judgement in line with whatever laws governed the organisation or state based on the information at hand. The other form of thinking would have you trying to relate to the dispute, how it made you feel, and reacting to the dispute using a degree of personal bias.

This is really the heart of the matter, removing one's self and the need to try and derive meaning from what is. What is, is what is, joy will happen, sadness will happen, indifference will happen, there's no need to colour it further.
Seems you are the one placing much importance and clinging to jhanic states.
I have never said or inferred as much, I have barely mentioned Jhanic states at all on these forums.
What is wrong with gaining understanding of phenomenon.
The subjective, biased nature of the human mind.
Again I'm not clinging to and craving these experiences, just reflecting on them and opening them up for discussion. A flower, ones family, a poem, a movie, your supper, your meditative experiences, can all be enjoyed and contemplated afterwards without clinging to them.
And we end up back at one. The enjoyment and contemplation afterwards is the clinging, you are sacrificing the moment with a tarnished memory of history. No different than lamenting your past.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 08:47:05 AM by Dharmic Tui »

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #59 on: October 15, 2013, 11:56:03 AM »
And we end up back at one. The enjoyment and contemplation afterwards is the clinging, you are sacrificing the moment with a tarnished memory of history. No different than lamenting your past.
Again this is just the difference between our personal practices.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #60 on: October 15, 2013, 06:07:20 PM »
Indeed, although it could be more than merely personal preference, but who is to say.

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #61 on: October 15, 2013, 07:59:57 PM »
Let's say I'm observing 5 precepts, and the fifth precept is not to take intoxicants.

But lets say I'm a smoker and I wish to observe this precept. Lets say Ive signed up for a 10 day retreat and smoking is forbidden as a violation of this precept.

I'm in an environment where I simply cannot break this precept, there are no cigarettes available and I can not leave, my mind lets this go after some time and I settle into a routine of meditation free from this vice. I feel much better and at some level know that it is better I give up this habit, but will I have the strength after I leave this protective bubble?

The retreat is over and I'm back in my car and my cigarettes are right there where I left them. I'm not free from them there is still craving for them. I have one, if I can observe the unpleasant burning sensation in my throat(fire element), if I can observe the stink of the polluted air element I've created, if I can observe my watery eyes from this poisonous smoke, and if I can observe my orange tar stained fingers, and if I can compare this with the clean relatively cool environment I was in a moment earlier, am I not more likely to give this habit up and free myself from the grip of addiction? 

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #62 on: October 15, 2013, 09:45:21 PM »
That may help, although the fact smoking is bad for you is written on the box also, yet people start in the first instance. The problem with having those sort of epiphanies is they often don’t last, or your automated mind will just over-ride them shortly thereafter. Anecdotally I find with anything like that, stopping smoking, eating right, exercising, etc, involves putting down my preconceptions and simply doing or ceasing something, and over time re-training your instincts in the desired direction.

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #63 on: October 15, 2013, 10:10:47 PM »
The problem with having those sort of epiphanies is they often don’t last, or your automated mind will just over-ride them shortly thereafter.

Yes, this can happen, but when one uses this contemplation along with meditation one has increased chances of letting go of addiction.


Anecdotally I find with anything like that, stopping smoking, eating right, exercising, etc, involves putting down my preconceptions and simply doing or ceasing something, and over time re-training your instincts in the desired direction.

You have developed in your practice and may have the power to do this, but what about people fresh on the path with little to no desire to practice, people who are very much caught up in suffering and have little desire to practice.
Contemplation can be very helpful in awakening someone out of harmful behaviours and leading them to more practice.
Even the Buddha prescribed this contemplation of the body to help people who were to caught up in attachment to the body and vanity to practice.

Honestly DT your practice and mine seem very different, yours seems very heavy on the Samadhi portion, and that may well be where you are working currently and that is OK but others may need another approach to get to this. You may also find in the future that your practice dives into Panna a little heavier. My point being that the same approach does not work for everyone and we are evolving or devolving in different ways. You just seem so rigid as in their is only one approach.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #64 on: October 15, 2013, 11:15:37 PM »
The results indicate there is only one approach. Any other approach is highly likely going to end in a different result.

In terms of the approach to overcoming addictions or whatnot, I developed that ability a decent time before I started walking the path. Smoking was my first hurdle, I just applied that same approach to other things and it seems the most reliable.

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #65 on: October 16, 2013, 12:29:04 AM »
The results indicate there is only one approach. Any other approach is highly likely going to end in a different result.

What results would you be referring to?


In terms of the approach to overcoming addictions or whatnot, I developed that ability a decent time before I started walking the path. Smoking was my first hurdle, I just applied that same approach to other things and it seems the most reliable.
Then why start meditating if you had already found the way to break free from craving?

I have met plenty of people practicing this path who have much difficulty observing the precepts. Also as we progress and wish to observe the precepts at deeper levels, contemplation can be helpful in realizing why and when we are ready to do this.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #66 on: October 16, 2013, 01:59:53 AM »
What results would you be referring to?
The death of ego, pure awareness, all the usual sort of stuff. Maybe you also get there by lots of thinking, measuring and analogy, but I haven’t been given any reason to believe that to be so.
Then why start meditating if you had already found the way to break free from craving?

 I tend to find there is a distinct difference between just breaking a habit or forming a new one, and the process of becoming aware/awake. They share a few things and have some crossover, but they are not the same.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 02:02:27 AM by Dharmic Tui »

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2013, 12:09:45 PM »
The death of ego, pure awareness, all the usual sort of stuff. Maybe you also get there by lots of thinking, measuring and analogy, but I haven’t been given any reason to believe that to be so.
[

 You "get there" by a single moment of total acceptance(non resistance) when a level of purity of mind has been reached. Prior to this thinking can and is useful for developing in morality and reviewing experience. It is also helpful for feeding and maintaining ones body.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #68 on: October 16, 2013, 06:18:23 PM »
You "get there" by a single moment of total acceptance(non resistance) when a level of purity of mind has been reached.
A single moment, or something perhaps a bit more permanent? And how conducive to mental purity do you think a lot of analysis and review of experience is?

Removing the Vipassana hat slightly, can we relate this sort of thinking to things like anxiety or depression? I am not sure whether that has been a problem for you in the past, but it's a common theme for a large number of people here. A great deal of the fuel for depression or anxiety is a tendency to overthink one's problems, get caught up in relflection and analysis, and assume that the same sort of logic based thinking and reasoning we apply to day to day troubleshooting will somehow provide us with a simple, self contained solution to our neurosis. It's common we believe we'll just think ourselves happy, just as we've thought ourselves into a corner whereby we're depressed. You can see it commonly in posts started by people, they're hoping for a single moment answer to rid them of their problems.

While it's possible to think your way out of depression or anxiety, often that will only mask matters, allowing them to resurface - your mind is a tricky character, it will always find some other way to trip up the answers you may have formulated.  What appears to be more effective, more lasting, is to let go of thinking and to let go of the dualistic belief in the self vs. everything else, removing self pity or loathing, constant rumination over life's troubles, etc etc etc,and just live moment to moment, not judging, not trying to relate anything to one's self or emotionally colour the past and future.

I'm not sure whether that will resonate for you at all depending on your history, but I believe it has a decent amount of relevance to walking the path and enlightenment.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 06:21:50 PM by Dharmic Tui »

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #69 on: October 16, 2013, 08:28:00 PM »
A single moment, or something perhaps a bit more permanent?
Could you elaborate?

 
And how conducive to mental purity do you think a lot of analysis and review of experience is?

I'm not saying that intellectual wisdom(cinta-maya panna) is any replacement for experiential wisdom(bhavana-maya panna), but it is helpful in our practice to round over the rough edges. You are already at a place where you have begun a practice and received benefit from this practice, this is excellent and I wish you further success.

Many are not there yet, they do not have the inclination to go and sit a retreat and do some work that will give them benefit from practice. They are simply dabbling in meditation and have barriers that prevent them from taking the plunge. Contemplation or listening to others express their experiential wisdom through dhamma talks(suta-maya panna) can be inspirational and can light the fuse.

I was talking to a customer this morning and they expressed an interest in doing meditation, I suggested they jump right in a go sit a 10 day retreat. I could tell they were interested but this customer did not feel they could go 10 days without the use of computers and I-phone, for this individual some contemplation about the level of dependency on technology may be beneficial, they may realise there is a level of unhealthy addiction that needs to be addressed, this may motivate them into pursuing meditation with a more serious attitude.

Removing the Vipassana hat slightly, can we relate this sort of thinking to things like anxiety or depression? I am not sure whether that has been a problem for you in the past, but it's a common theme for a large number of people here. A great deal of the fuel for depression or anxiety is a tendency to overthink one's problems, get caught up in relflection and analysis, and assume that the same sort of logic based thinking and reasoning we apply to day to day troubleshooting will somehow provide us with a simple, self contained solution to our neurosis. It's common we believe we'll just think ourselves happy, just as we've thought ourselves into a corner whereby we're depressed. You can see it commonly in posts started by people, they're hoping for a single moment answer to rid them of their problems.

DT you will never hear me say that there is a magic pill you can take to replace walking the path.

But there is a difference between contemplating your nicotine stained teeth and becoming depressed with the stained teeth running out and buying teeth whiteners, and seeing the truth through contemplation that my smoking is the cause of my stained teeth and my stained organs and some of my health problems and I need to stop this.



While it's possible to think your way out of depression or anxiety, often that will only mask matters, allowing them to resurface - your mind is a tricky character, it will always find some other way to trip up the answers you may have formulated.  What appears to be more effective, more lasting, is to let go of thinking and to let go of the dualistic belief in the self vs. everything else, removing self pity or loathing, constant rumination over life's troubles, etc etc etc,and just live moment to moment, not judging, not trying to relate anything to one's self or emotionally colour the past and future.

Good luck telling a person with depression to just live in the moment and let go of their thinking, it just does not work that way for most. For some just hearing the truth may fully awaken them, but this is very rare. Most need different approaches to ease into this. What you are saying is true but how to get people there is where our individuality gets in the way.


Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #70 on: October 16, 2013, 11:41:45 PM »
Good luck telling a person with depression to just live in the moment and let go of their thinking, it just does not work that way for most.
Absolutely, I am not inferring as much. This is a cognitive process rather than relying on epiphanies, thoughts and concepts, they are only words.

Also retreats may benefit, but they are no panacea. The real test requires the day to day.

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #71 on: October 17, 2013, 02:44:51 AM »
panacea
I'm renaming you the Dharmasaurus.  ;)

I am of the opinion that retreats are extremely important for laypeople, it is a chance to live as a monastic for a period of time and have all our mundane needs tended to by others, this allows for continuous work to be done with very little distraction.

The real test requires the day to day.
I would go a bit further and say moment to moment.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #72 on: October 17, 2013, 06:03:28 PM »
By day to day I was referring to ordinary life in a practical sense. It is one thing to gain insight or tranquillity in a highly idealised environment, it is another to accomplish it while your regular life is happening. Unless of course you're a monk :D

ramat

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #73 on: October 17, 2013, 09:03:02 PM »
I am not sure what is the difference of opinion here. Both seem to be having good points.

Th following article found on web  is related to these elements and i also believe so..as given here.

"“The five elements manifest in the functioning of the five senses as well as in certain functions of human physiology. Tan means subtle and matra means elements.

The tanmatras, the subtle elements, are the objects of the five senses. The five tanmatras are sound, touch, form, taste, and odor or smell; the five senses are hearing, tactile perception, vision, taste, and smell. The tanmatras are the ways in which the objective world is sensed.

The five elements have functional integrity with the five sensory organs, which allows us to perceive the external environment. Their presence is the reason for the existence of the senses themselves.”

“The tanmatras form the Common Ground for the expression of the objective world and the entire world exists on this Ground. Another meaning of tan is mother, and matra also means matter — the mother of matter. The Mother of this whole world is the tanmatras. The tanmatras are in the womb of the Cosmic Mother, Prakruti.

It is this energy that gives rise to the objective five elements. Each element is related primarily to one tanmatra but can contain a portion of the others as well. Ether comes out of shabda tanmatra (sound); Air out of shabda and sparsha tanmatras (sound and touch); Fire out of shabda, sparsha and rupa tanmatras (sound, touch and sight); Water out of shabda, sparsha, rupa and rasa (sound, touch, sight and taste); and Earth out of shabda, sparsha, rupa, rasa and gandha (sound, touch, form, taste and odor).”

In Meditation one experiences the subtle form of these basic elements. As you progress you go beyond these also and awareness without content becomes more predominant. That shows that our true nature..As per my understanding.

redalert

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Re: Earth, water, air, fire?
« Reply #74 on: October 18, 2013, 01:44:11 AM »
I am not sure what is the difference of opinion here. Both seem to be having good points.

Just egos bashing together, welcome to the party. ;)


“The tanmatras form the Common Ground for the expression of the objective world and the entire world exists on this Ground. Another meaning of tan is mother, and matra also means matter — the mother of matter. The Mother of this whole world is the tanmatras. The tanmatras are in the womb of the Cosmic Mother, Prakruti.

So is Mother the equivalent of mind, and Prakruti is the final goal(true nature)?


It is this energy that gives rise to the objective five elements. Each element is related primarily to one tanmatra but can contain a portion of the others as well. Ether comes out of shabda tanmatra (sound); Air out of shabda and sparsha tanmatras (sound and touch); Fire out of shabda, sparsha and rupa tanmatras (sound, touch and sight); Water out of shabda, sparsha, rupa and rasa (sound, touch, sight and taste); and Earth out of shabda, sparsha, rupa, rasa and gandha (sound, touch, form, taste and odor).”

So would ether(sound) be subtlest matter and Earth(sound, touch, form, taste and odor) be grossest matter. This resembles stages of concentration as one sharpens and penetrates with mind.

In Meditation one experiences the subtle form of these basic elements. As you progress you go beyond these also and awareness without content becomes more predominant. That shows that our true nature..As per my understanding.

Yes, but as you progress what one has identified as "you" disappears. Is this the same teaching in your practice?

 

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