Author Topic: Emptiness and emotionality in the context of mind trainings (lojong)  (Read 198 times)

Offline stevie

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Dear Dharma friends,

in another thread I've written
....
in the context of emptiness meditations I got a bit obsessed about post-meditation stabilization and in this context I have re-discovered the basic teachings on love and compassion, i.e. mind-trainings, recently and found out that for me the effect of these mind trainings actually are similar to the early post-emptiness meditation phase in terms of the intended openness of awareness which I would label 'happiness'. So my intended post-meditation stabilization may be supported through integrating spontaneous mind trainings events into this phase. That is why I am currently engaging with these kinds of mind trainings again.  :anjali:

But actually when saying 'the effect of these mind trainings actually are similar to the early post-emptiness meditation phase in terms of the intended openness of awareness' a possible misunderstanding might be that I would be saying that the aspect of emotionality would be similar. But that can't be the case because in early post-emptiness meditation phase there isn't any emotionality.


But let me first elaborate a bit to be able to deliver the intended message:

Generally, mind trainings, lojong, in Tibetan buddhism are applied to mentally exchange self and other, i.e. to overcome selfishness and appreciate others and their well-being more than one's own. These trainings are then used to generate the compassion which is the basis of conventional bodhicitta, the intent to become a Buddha to liberate sentient beings from suffering.

When I said 'the effect of these mind trainings actually are similar ...' however I've been referring to a specific kind of mind training, namely tonglen. In tonglen practice one is mentally absorbing all negativities or specific sufferings of other individuals and mentally giving them all one's merits, happiness, attainments or whatever positive phenomena may deem appropriate in their specific situation. Usually one applies breath for absorbing/taking the negative from others when breathing in and giving one's positive to others when breathing out. The purpose is to be able to really feel the mental pain and suffering of others and through this practice to become more compassionate.

And here is the point I would like to make: this 'to be able to really feel the mental pain and suffering of others'.
Actually when saying  'the effect of these mind trainings actually are similar to the early post-emptiness meditation phase in terms of the intended openness of awareness' what I said was that the tonglen practice in my case caused a kind of emptiness 'flashback' but my tonglen practice was a failure as to its intended purpose.

That's funny, isn't it? I think my problem with this tonglen practice and all similar mind training practices is that in order to be able to successfully practice them according to their intended purpose you have to take others and yourself as truly existing. But once you have trained on post-emptiness meditation stabilization for some time it's impossible to take others and yourself to be truly existing and thus the intended effects of these mind trainings will not ensue.

But that poses a general problem: Since the Buddhisattvas and Buddhas have taught compassion and emptiness as primordially inseparable, how can it be that emptiness training undermines the effectiveness of these mind trainings in terms of causing compassion?
Or is it that the compassion that is primordially inseparable from emptiness is a kind of compassion different from that known in the world and may manifest in the sphere of emptiness aka suchness if that sphere is completely empty even of itself?

 <3  :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline stillpointdancer

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Dear Dharma friends,

in another thread I've written
....
in the context of emptiness meditations I got a bit obsessed about post-meditation stabilization and in this context I have re-discovered the basic teachings on love and compassion, i.e. mind-trainings, recently and found out that for me the effect of these mind trainings actually are similar to the early post-emptiness meditation phase in terms of the intended openness of awareness which I would label 'happiness'. So my intended post-meditation stabilization may be supported through integrating spontaneous mind trainings events into this phase. That is why I am currently engaging with these kinds of mind trainings again.  :anjali:


But that poses a general problem: Since the Buddhisattvas and Buddhas have taught compassion and emptiness as primordially inseparable, how can it be that emptiness training undermines the effectiveness of these mind trainings in terms of causing compassion?
Or is it that the compassion that is primordially inseparable from emptiness is a kind of compassion different from that known in the world and may manifest in the sphere of emptiness aka suchness if that sphere is completely empty even of itself?

 <3  :anjali:

Interesting. I have often done a similar meditation where I breath in black smoke (suffering of others), visualise me burning it internally to provide the energy to breath out white light (metta) for others. I must have very little imagination because I didn't feel their pain or suffering, but was happy to help out if I could. Actually, the interesting part is when something seems to take over the process and I feel more of a conduit than someone purposely meditating.

As to emptiness, for me emptiness means empty of any permanent aspect, so we are open to change. We truly exist, but not as we think we do. Compassion is for those who haven't understood this and are still suffering because they can't change, or don't even know there is the possibility of change, or don't even know they have a problem that can be changed.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Chaz

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We truly exist, but not as we think we do.

What, then, truly exists?

Offline IgnoringTheAversion

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I don't know for sure, but at the zen temple i frequent, the most repeated phrase is form is emptyness, emptyness is form, or it's all nothing, everything is nothing, nothing is everything. This sounds like the beginning of a depressing nihilist trap, but i would interpret it as that all things do not exist independently.

Compassion is real when we become compassion, but at the same time, compassion is emptyness, because it doesn't exist independently, our minds create  it with discipline and practice. Nothing exists within itself. The act of meditation is there so that we can become the "godly" emptiness of our perfect universe.

Somebody give me a zen spanking if I'm totally off base :teehee:
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 02:15:50 am by IgnoringTheAversion »

Offline stillpointdancer

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We truly exist, but not as we think we do.

What, then, truly exists?
The material we are made up of truly exists, although can be understood merely as forms of energy. The human body we have truly exists, but is no different from any other animal, or plant come to that. The person we are truly exists, but may be different from what we think it is. My decisions truly exist, but may be made by an 'unconscious' part of my brain before I become aware of them. My point is that things exist, but we can to see them in different ways, see different aspects of them. I often use optical illusions as a point of meditation. Is it a rabbit or a duck or both or neither? The picture truly exists but the interpretation my senses make of it can change.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline stevie

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Dear Chaz,

I have to apologize but I committed a great mistake when starting this thread. Lojong mind trainings are very precious and all Tibetan traditions make use of them. I shouldn't have elaborated on my failure in the context of lojong using words and arguments that may cause the impression that I would put the blame on lojong when it is just about my incapacity.
Even worse, I used words that have caused unnecessary dissent that cannot be dissolved when we do not share the same background.

Could you please close the thread?  :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

 


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