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 Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Thu May 14, 2015 8:35 am

Letting Go of Spiritual Experience

Stop clinging to peak moments and open to true realization.
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche

Spiritual Experiences and Realizations
There will be all sorts of experiences on the spiritual path. Positive periods of development—those that are reassuring and comforting—are an important part of the process. It is important to realize, however, that even positive experiences will fluctuate. We will rarely, if ever, perceive a steady development of them, precisely because experiences are fickle by nature. Enjoying a series of good experiences does not ensure that they will continue indefinitely; they may stop suddenly. Even so, they remain an important part of spiritual practice, not least because they help to maintain our motivation to continue practicing.



The way in which these positive experiences arise also varies enormously. You may have some amazingly moving experiences, something like a spiritual awakening that appears to arise out of the blue. In fact, such experiences do not really come from nowhere; psychic conditions will always precede them, although they appear to our conscious experience as independent. They can also vanish just as quickly as they appear. At other times, certain experiences will grow over a period of time, peak, and then gradually fade away again.

As spiritual practitioners, we are instructed not to attach too much significance to these experiences. The advice is to resist the temptation to become fixated on the experiences themselves. Experiences will come and go. Each experience has to be let go of, or the mind will simply close down in its fixation on that experience, leaving little or no room for new experiences to arise. This is because your fixation will encourage worries and doubts to arise in the mind and interfere with the development process. If there is no fixation involved in the process, positive spiritual experiences will start to lead you to spiritual realizations.

In Buddhism, we distinguish between spiritual experiences and spiritual realizations. Spiritual experiences are usually more vivid and intense than realizations because they are generally accompanied by physiological and psychological changes. Realizations, on the other hand, may be felt, but the experience is less pronounced. Realization is about acquiring insight. Therefore, while realizations arise out of our spiritual experiences, they are not identical to them. Spiritual realizations are considered vastly more important because they cannot fluctuate.
The distinction between spiritual experiences and realizations is continually emphasized in Buddhist thought. If we avoid excessively fixating on our experiences, we will be under less stress in our practice. Without that stress, we will be better able to cope with whatever arises, the possibility of suffering from psychic disturbances will be greatly reduced, and we will notice a significant shift in the fundamental texture of our experience.

There are many accounts in Tibetan Buddhist literature of how spiritual disturbances may arise, but all point to fixation on experiences as the cause. Fixation on our experiences is seen as another variation of fixation on the self.

In the overall context of the spiritual journey, it is important to remember that self-transformation is a continuous process, not a onetime event. One cannot say, "I used to be a nonspiritual person, but now I have been transformed into a spiritual person. My old self is dead." We are constantly being transformed when we travel on the path. While we may be the same individual on one level, on another level we are different. There is always continuity, and yet at each major turning point on the journey we have become transformed because certain habits have dropped away. The spiritual journey is dynamic and always tends forward because we are not fixating on things.

Letting Go

The spiritual journey, then, is a journey of detachment, a process of learning how to let go. All of our problems, miseries, and unhappiness are caused by fixation—latching onto things and not being able to release them. First we have to let go of fixation on material things. This does not necessarily mean jettisoning all our material possessions, but it implies that we should not look to material things for lasting happiness. Normally, our position in life, our family, our standing in the community, and so forth, are perceived to be the source of our happiness. This perspective has to be reversed, according to spiritual teachings, by relinquishing our fixation on material things.
Letting go of fixation is effectively a process of learning to be free, because every time we let go of something, we become free of it. Whatever we fixate upon limits us because fixation makes us dependent upon something other than ourselves. Each time we let go of something, we experience another level of freedom.

Eventually, in order to be totally free, we learn to let go of concepts. Ultimately, we need to relinquish our fixation on the reification of concepts, of things being "this" or "that." Thinking of this and that binds us to a particular way of experiencing things. Even spiritual experiences will not be given complete, spontaneous, unmediated expression as long as the subtlest kind of conceptual distinction is present. Experience will still be mediated, adulterated, and tainted by all kinds of psychic content when we make discriminations. Therefore, it will remain impossible ever to be truly free.

The final step in the process of letting go is relinquishing the idea that material corruption and spiritual freedom are unequivocally opposed to one another and that we have to give up the former to attain the latter. While this is an important distinction to observe at the beginning of the spiritual journey, we have to overcome that duality. We have to transcend both the seduction of samsaric pleasure that turns out to be so illusory and the seduction of our spiritual goal that appears to be offering eternal happiness. Once the pull between these two poles is harmonized and transcended, we are ready to return home.

The Fruition of the Spiritual Path

The ultimate goal of the spiritual journey is to realize the union of your mind and ultimate reality. You discover eventually that not only are you in reality, but that you also embody that reality. Your ordinary body becomes the body of a buddha, your ordinary speech becomes the speech of a buddha, and your ordinary mind becomes the mind of a buddha. This is the great transition that you have to make, relinquishing your fixation on the separation of samsaric beings and buddhas. When we can talk about them as ultimately the same, when this actual transformation occurs within an individual, it is a truly great occurrence. It is remarkable because an ordinary, confused being still retains that preexisting continuity between an ordinary being and an enlightened being, in the sense that what you become is what you have always been. At the end of the journey, you are simply returning home.



Yet the journey itself was absolutely necessary. It was necessary to leave your familiar environment and venture through various trials and tribulations. It was necessary to deal with many unexpected things, to grapple with your inner demonic forces. It was necessary to go through the spiritual struggle and engage in vigorous disciplines. Spiritual struggle is valuable for the purification of the mind. Your mind has to be cleansed of the delusions and conflicting emotions that are the product of your karma, the product of the negative thoughts and actions that have accumulated in your mindstream over a long period of time.

After a point, however, you have to ease away from that struggle. As progress is made on the path, the positive qualities required for further advancement will become part of you, and you will gradually learn how to assimilate and become these positive qualities, rather than regarding them as something to be attained and possessed. So after the initial focus on learning how to replace vices with virtues, we must learn to let go of our fixation on virtues. We have to stop thinking about accumulating virtues, spiritual qualities, experiences, and realizations as if they were a form of wealth. We do not require spiritual wealth; moreover, spiritual wealth can only be accumulated by not fixating on it. All fixations lead only to all manner of trouble—envy, possessiveness, and egotism, for example. It is then that we really go astray and wander from the spiritual path.

As our virtuous qualities of love, compassion, joy, courage, determination, resolve, mindfulness, awareness, and wisdom develop, we progress further along the path. At some point, we have to accomplish one final act of detachment, which is to let go of reifying concepts altogether. Even the concepts of virtue and vice, redemption, karma, and liberation have to be relinquished. By way of illustration, I’d like to share a story from the Zen tradition.

It is not uncommon for Zen meditation students to keep in regular contact with their teachers concerning their spiritual progress. In this particular story, a Zen student has a penchant for writing to his teacher monthly with an account of his development. His letters began to take a mystical turn when he wrote, "I am experiencing a oneness with the universe." When his teacher received this letter, he merely glanced at it and threw it away. The next month the student wrote, "I have discovered that the divine is present in everything." His teacher used this letter to start his fire. A month later, the student had become even more ecstatic and wrote, "The mystery of the one and many has revealed itself to my wonderment," at which his teacher yawned. The following month, another letter arrived, which simply said, "There is no self, no one is born, and no one dies." At this his teacher threw his hands up in despair. After the fourth letter, the student stopped writing to his teacher, and after a year had passed, the teacher began to feel concerned and wrote to his student, asking to be kept informed of his spiritual progress. The student wrote back with the words "Who cares?" When the teacher read this, he smiled and said, "At last! He’s finally got it!"

At the end of the journey, you will be able to engage in everything on both the material and the spiritual planes without being tainted by them, because a spiritually realized being is no longer affected by the world in the same way an ordinary person is. Without going through the trials and tribulations of this journey, however, you will never find your home. You cannot simply stay at home and say, "I am already where I want to be." It is only the journey that makes you realize your true potential, and only at the end of the journey will you understand that the goal is not to separate from the starting point. That is the attainment of buddhahood, the natural state of your own mind.

Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche is the president and spiritual director of Kagyu E-Vam Buddhist Institute, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. From Mind At Ease: Self-Liberation Through Mahamudra Meditation, © 2004 by Traleg Kyabgon. Reprinted with permission of Shambhala Publications.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Thu May 14, 2015 6:37 pm

Thanks for the article Josh.  You have a talent for producing timely and pertinent articles !
I`d like to make a comment.

I enjoyed reading it and following Rinpoche`s logic.  So many boxes happily ticked !  Slowly though, a familiar pattern emerged.  The teaching which is originally based on reality being non-dual, slowly descended into a yogic teaching.  The notion that there is a joining/ yoking....the path or journey analogy.  two things becoming one.
Rinpoche tried to mitigate this by saying that the " goal is not separate from the starting point ".
In his last paragraph he said......

" Without going through the trials and tribulations of this journey, however, you will never find your home. You cannot simply stay at home and say, "I am already where I want to be." It is only the journey that makes you realize your true potential, and only at the end of the journey will you understand that the goal is not to separate from the starting point. That is the attainment of buddhahood, the natural state of your own mind." .

Basically, he is saying that `the journey` is one`s spiritual practice and without this journey/ practice, "You will never find your home".
It is of course true that not doing a practice is not an option.  If nothing else, the mind needs to be undisturbed and concentrated so as to be able to `see` / Understand clearly.  and anyway, even not doing a practice intentionally, is still a practice.

However, no matter how many limited practices one performs, they can never add up to an unlimited result....Enlightenment.

Further, if " only at the end of the journey will you understand that the goal is not to separate from the starting point.",  has there actually been a journey from anywhere or to anywhere ?  surely not ?
" only at the end " ?   Time and space refer to Duality only and this is a dualistic teaching.

This is wishful thinking....the triumph of hope over experience.
What is "the goal" ?
I would say that you will never "find your home" by going "on a journey".  Why, because you already are "Home".   You never left because you can`t leave what you are and you can`t arrive because you never left and are already here.

This teaching is the usual `Enlightenment is an Experience` one and is a confusing teaching because it uses the language of action, where the language of Identity should obtain.
If Reality is Non-Duality, which it is, then the problem has to be one of Understanding and not Experience.  In Non-Duality, nothing is seen as separate from anything else so there is no need for action which is karmic.

Rinpoche makes another dualistic statement when he says "that is the attainment of Buddhahood".
There is nothing to attain. nothing had been lost.  frankly, it`s Buddhism 101.

Lastly, `Buddhahood being the natural state of your own mind.`
It`s getting a bit painful by this stage.....  my dog never leaves the natural state of his mind.  he runs out his programing perfectly. time after time...and that`s just lowly instinct.
I`ll go to sleep shortly and when i`m in deep dreamless sleep, i`ll be in a blissful state of no problems whatsoever. that`s a perfectly natural state and everyone loves it.  Do we wake up enlightened though ?

" The natural state of your own mind "  ?   Last time I looked, it was just an object in Awareness.
Same as any other old object.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sat May 16, 2015 6:24 am

The distinction between “spiritual experience” and “realisation” rings true to me.
 
In my youth I had a series of very powerful psychic explosions which I couldn’t make head nor tail of in any logical sense. The first one happened when I was 19 and I didn’t have the writing skills to make a sensible record of it, I was totally ecstatic and filled with a sense of my own destiny, I noted down somewhere “it is as if all the as ifs were the real thing”. To outside appearances I was a raving madman, and I was picked up by the police and confined in a mental hospital for a few days, until my father came and rescued me.
 
I didn’t come out of this experience actually knowing anything I hadn’t known before, except that such an experience was possible. But one odd thing about it was that a quarter of a century later my eldest son was picked up and hospitalised, his stepfather telephoned me in a very worried state and handed the phone to Tom in the back of the car. I asked him what was happening and he said, “it feels as though the past, present and future are all rolled into one.” I was able to tell him that I knew what was happening to him and he survived the experience, perhaps our conversation helped.
 
Looking back at the things I wrote at this time, there isn’t really anything I would keep, but the one poem I discovered which really seemed to evoke an experience like mine was a sequence of poems by the American poet EN Sargent called “A Season in Paradise”. They are in a book called “Love Poems of Elizabeth Sargent”, long out of print, but probably obtainable somewhere. I have the whole poem sequence typed out if anyone is interested.
 
Was it the sound of your voice that made the planets
Cease for a moment combing their long hair?
 
Was it your warm touch that melted space?
 
Was it the taste of you that brought me here?
 
Demons hung aside, their wings impaled.
The moving heavens opened and were still.
The friendly wind held our door.
 
Snow blossomed; roses fell. Forever had come.
 
I had a couple more explosions, each one entirely different, after which I calmed down, the experiences forced me to redirect my life and refocus my energies, and I think after I did that then maybe there was no more need for explosions.
 
Realisations are a different matter, though. Perhaps the archetypal realisation is that of Archimedes in the bath. He suddenly knew something he didn’t know before. Once known, that thing cannot be forgotten. I experienced this later in life. Once in a therapy session when the therapist said something to me which completely turned my whole perception of my situation upside down. I had a moment of complete unreality and I discovered that my perception of what was going on in the room was completely false. The second time I had a “realisation”, was about twenty years after that. I was walking along a river bank with a woman I loved and I looked over the river and I saw a tree and the tree appeared as an old woman bending down offering me armloads of fruit, I realised that I have no idea what a tree is, that a tree is a message from deep in the roots of the cosmos and that all my ideas of what the cosmos is, is it alive, is it dead, is it mind, is it matter, is it conscious, is it unconscious, are all irrelevant because in itself it is not subject to the limitations of our descriptions and our categories. I’m a firm believer in science and I follow the latest developments in physics and cosmology as closely as I can, but I think many of us fall into the trap of believing that science can somehow describe or limit the actual nature of things. It can’t, the universe will always be vastly bigger than any description we can give of it. And it gives us so much, and its greatest fruit is love.
 
The scientist JBS Haldane said, “my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sat May 16, 2015 5:22 pm

I never got fixated by kenshos, more shaken up by them. They disturbed the foundation of my world. I was left confused, and frighteningly aware when I became small 'me' again of how far away I was of letting go into oneness awareness. 

True realisation for me is just my eyes opening. Nothing changes and yet I can never again shut my eyes without knowing that I have shut my eyes. Bummer!

Hi Stan. I like what you say here. I am a bit worried by the Lama's description of a journey that leads to purer states of mind, and a realised person acting unaffected by the world, and being unlike ordinary men. I am reminded of all those men transmitted as realised by their masters, seen as such by their disciples, and caught with their pants down, their hands in the cookie jar,  and very much revealed as ordinary.

My realisation is of an ordinary man with eyes open. One stream of karma has totally gone in this lifetime, but at least one more lingers in a very ordinary dysfunctional mess. My enlightenment sees that we are all the same, ordinary. And at the same time we are all the entire universe, unconditionally loving, compasionate, wise. And by unconditionally I mean unconditionally!!!!!!!!

tufsoft, I really like what you say.I have had maybe similar therapy realisations. And the tree realisation I can totally relate to from an opening I once had with a lamp-post! Unfortunately for me the girl of my dreams was not holding my hand or in my life at the time....

I am also reminded by what you said of the messiah's handbook...

Imagine the universe beautiful
And just and perfect.
Then be sure of one thing:
The IS has imagined it
Quite a bit better than you have.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sun May 17, 2015 10:01 am

tufsoft wrote:
In my youth I had a series of very powerful psychic explosions which I couldn’t make head nor tail of in any logical sense. The first one happened when I was 19 and I didn’t have the writing skills to make a sensible record of it, I was totally ecstatic and filled with a sense of my own destiny, I noted down somewhere “it is as if all the as ifs were the real thing”. To outside appearances I was a raving madman, and I was picked up by the police and confined in a mental hospital for a few days, until my father came and rescued me.
 
I didn’t come out of this experience actually knowing anything I hadn’t known before, except that such an experience was possible. But one odd thing about it was that a quarter of a century later my eldest son was picked up and hospitalized, his stepfather telephoned me in a very worried state and handed the phone to Tom in the back of the car. I asked him what was happening and he said, “it feels as though the past, present and future are all rolled into one.” I was able to tell him that I knew what was happening to him and he survived the experience, perhaps our conversation helped.

 


Yes, one of the most important things about "experiences" is the simple fact that they happen; profound shifts in perception/insight are possible, and one of the results is we can support others down the road who find themselves in the throws of something similar.  It's not uncommon in our secular society to view any altered state of mind as a "disorder" which is sometimes a great disservice.

tufsoft wrote:
I’m a firm believer in science and I follow the latest developments in physics and cosmology as closely as I can, but I think many of us fall into the trap of believing that science can somehow describe or limit the actual nature of things. It can’t, the universe will always be vastly bigger than any description we can give of it. And it gives us so much, and its greatest fruit is love.
 
The scientist JBS Haldane said, “my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”


Yes, scientists who are on the frontier understand this.  Dark matter, dark energy, black holes, on and on.  We are immersed in mystery.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sun May 17, 2015 9:53 pm

The venerable Rimpoche further writes:
Eventually, in order to be totally free, we learn to let go of concepts. Ultimately, we need to relinquish our fixation on the reification of concepts, of things being "this" or "that." Thinking of this and that binds us to a particular way of experiencing things. Even spiritual experiences will not be given complete, spontaneous, unmediated expression as long as the subtlest kind of conceptual distinction is present. Experience will still be mediated, adulterated, and tainted by all kinds of psychic content when we make discriminations. Therefore, it will remain impossible ever to be truly free.

Well, friends, I come across this a lot, and it is indeed a lot hooey.
As Stan says, you're already free....Buddhism 101 - (or should be, but there are different kinds of Buddhism).
What's wrong with concepts, for Heaven's sake? How can they bind you? They are useful, as is a hammer, or a car. Which experience is pure? Why does it need to be 'pure'? If it is in me, awareness, if the concepts are in me, awareness, how on earth would, or could, they bind me?

It seems that religions, for the most part, give us recipes for becoming free. So then someone must die for you on the cross; or you must practice and practice with the same intensity as you would put put the fire on your head.  Actually, we keep hunting for that free experience, and there is not that much difference between 'spiritual-free', and that lovely 'free' when the wind blows through your hair.

If I am already free, it's better to come to know that. NOT so that I would BECOME free thereby. Living is just nicer if I know I am free, and the clearer this is to me, the better. I think that it is useful to know that I simply CAN'T miss the boat. That gives me a certain leisure, and leisure is a good state of mind for seeing something that is a fact.
O.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sun May 17, 2015 11:10 pm

Ol'ga, so good to see you here!





I must admit that I've come to think of religion as a "Bait-and Switch" proposition:



Spiritual teaching offers us liberation--

And yet institutionalized religion all too often offers us either partial or complete enslavement.




I don't tend to think that religious institutions per se are the root of the problem (although they often are the driver...).



I tend to think that unquestioning, culturally conditioned BUY IN--is the problem.

...Just a few thoughts...
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Mon May 18, 2015 5:47 am

OLGA,

" Well, friends, I come across this a lot, and it is indeed a lot of hooey."

Amen and Hallelujah to that Olga......great to see you about the old place !


" Eventually, in order to be totally free, we learn to let go of concepts "


Well, And who is we exactly ? how do we get rid of the concept `We` ?  It doesn`t go far enough,
as usual.  It`s still not freedom from the `Doer`...the person we mistakenly think we are.
Still NOT seeing the Doer in Awareness but thinking " I am the doer" looking for freedom.

Just agreeing with you......
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Mon May 18, 2015 6:13 am

Steve,

" Spiritual teaching offers us liberation--
And yet institutionalized religion all too often offers us either partial or complete enslavement."

Whoa.. Steve !  steady on.  A person might get the impression that you no longer hold the view
or concept, that you are a Buddhist !   Ha ha ........


" I tend to think that unquestioning, culturally conditioned BUY IN--is the problem. "

Yeah, that`s not a bad definition of "Beginningless Ignorance" !  Just as well that it can have an end though.  As you have mentioned before, Ignorance fully known, is no longer binding.
Until that point, delusion reigns supreme.  It makes the Apparently impossible, possible.  It fools us into thinking that we don`t know who we really are.
It`s a knowledge problem and not an experience problem in the `end`.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Mon May 18, 2015 3:44 pm

Kozan and Stan,
Thank you for welcoming me so warmly. You are a buncha dahlings, and that's that.

I won't have much time to write, as always these days.

Only my usual tune...There is no problem with taking oneself for an individual, so long as one knows that that is only a part of the story...and that the 'other' part, the unchanging truth, is that you are 'it', the truth itself.

Now, you may ask me if this is clear to me...Well, to be honest, something has clicked sufficiently, so that any urgent sense of desire, need, fear, is just gone. The underlying urgency is gone. The 'understanding', the vision of the truth, (I'm told, and it does make sense) needs to mature, or open, as they say, like a flower....Coming to understand, after all, being in time, being a phenomenon, follows the laws that govern this world. As I don't have a quarrel with the world and its laws, since it is clear to me, that THAT is not the problem, I am quite happy to accept the process, and let it unfold; and let my life unfold also, and guide me, let my 'karma' unfold also...because the karma also is not the problem.

So poorly put, so please bear with me.

Ciao,
O.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Mon May 18, 2015 6:22 pm

Olga,

" Thank you for welcoming me so warmly. You are a buncha dahlings, and that's that."

Yes we certainly are Ha ha ....and i`m sure Kozan will agree,  you`re a real sweetie pie too.  :-)



" So poorly put, so please bear with me. "

Receiving loud and clear Olga...preaching to the converted.  Always a nice message to hear though !

" bear with me "   Ha ha ... very good Mrs Bear !   don`t be a stranger.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Mon May 18, 2015 9:15 pm

Stan, I certainly do agree--Ol'ga is indeed, a sweetie pie!

In fact, Ol'ga is our very first Forum member who ardently supported the recognition of Awareness itself--a recognition that you, and then I, have subsequently taken up and promoted. (I think that language and concepts are primarily a collective process. Many of us may have a realization which does not become easily expressed until the necessary language and knowledge base is sufficiently well recognized at a collective level. As I've opined before, it seems to me that the recognition of awareness itself has been inherent in Buddhist teaching from the beginning--but only directly articulated more recently in Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta teaching.)

Ol'ga--YOU ROCK!
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Wed May 20, 2015 1:21 am

Stan:
and i`m sure Kozan will agree,  you`re a real sweetie pie too.


Kozan:
Ol'ga is indeed, a sweetie pie!


I know!
he he he

Have you heard about the Slovak fella who emigrated to Canada not speaking much English. And he needed to buy a strainer, but he didn't know the word. Finally, after a lot of explaining, he told the shopkeeper, "You know, it like zis: shpaghetti stop, votr go ahead!"

Good night dahlings,
S.P.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Wed May 20, 2015 1:36 am

Yes, Kozan, Awareness is it, isn't it.
O
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Wed May 20, 2015 3:55 am

Hi all. Strangely I agree with everything said...

This thing of it being awareness is so simple, and a perfect explanation of it. I would add one extra word.. Spacious. It is in spacious awareness that the miracle of life lies.

The funny thing is how complicated some people make it.

I guess the complicated bit that i tend to focus on is the layers of subconcous holding and conditioning that keep me from it.

Also very little is said to big it up and make it enticing... And the work required worthwhile, so here goes.... :-)

When I let go of ego/somebody/subconscious me as who I am, and find myself floating in/as spacious awareness itself it feels like this..

Like I'm home, like I've found the place I've always been searching for
I am loved, totally and unconditionally, better than the best hug ever
That all is perfect as is, a wonderful alive relaxedness
That in this awareness all the deepest questions I had are answered
All my fear is no more
That if my body was to die now in any way it all it would be quite perfect
A relaxed intensity of being totally connected to my senses. Everything i see shimmers, everything I hear is an exquisite explosion as beautiful as the most beautiful music, physical sensations are totatally connected
The same as taking LSD. I habitually am in 1-tab land, and in sitting and doing movement practice by the end am usually in 2-tab land
Enhances totally the experience of intimacy with others. When someone I am with opens their heart to me I feel it intensely. When someone cries I am with them intimately and spaciously all at once.
Allows me to feel energy, and the flow of energy between people in the most connected and intimate way.
Its where the love is. In fact its the only place where the love is
It is the same feeling that adrenaline junkies look for, but you get it on tap without having to jump out of a plane etc. I have climbed 1000 foot vertical rock faces, and that mindblowingly amazing feeling is the same as I get sitting and being spaciously aware.
Surfing (in my case falling off and being knocked over and in a washing machine over and over) for 2 hours until I'm totally connected to the sea, the waves, the sky, the sun, is the same feeling.
Sexuality is enhanced and improved dramatically, as one feels the flow of energy between self and other as huge waves of connected bliss.
Physical discomfort and pain is softened, as it is now one small part of awareness, and not an issue. (Though in my moment of greatest physical pain I did just scream and beg and plead for an hour or 2 :-l)
The feeling of Suffering is now felt and realised as just emotions, fear, grief, loneliness, hurt, unloved. And emotions are felt as as absolutely OK and absolutely safe. Part of the perfection of the here and now.
A feeling of inherent wisdom of the ages
A feeling of timelessness, a kind of transcendence of time.
A constant smile. At the utterly perfect sillyness of it all. Ram dass calls it the cosmic giggle.
Totally ordinary. This seems to contradict all the above, but it doesn't :-)

These are some of how it feels to me.

So my big issue with myself is if it is so wonderful, amazing, exquisite...

Why do I spend so much time every day trying to be somewhere else!!!! Like surfing the internet, feeling tired all day from late night surfing the internet, getting annoyed with myself from being tired all day from late night surfing the internet. Thinking all the above are solved by surfing the internet...

I blame my parents

Yaboo sucks
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Wed May 20, 2015 11:30 am

Hey Ol`ga,

Nice to see you out of the bear suit..... you look so young and kind of err cute !  ....just sayin`.....
Why did I think of you as a formidable rolling pin wielding babushka underneath that outfit ?
Any protestations re the new image will be summarily dismissed !   sorrry....

That joke of yours reminded me of an old Polish immigrant one.

Janek, who speaks almost no english, is trying to convey to his english friend that they should go
to the local town.  The final attempt went like....

I go,  you go,  bus go,  Glasgow !    my old folks found it funny....
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Wed May 20, 2015 11:46 am

So glad I posted the piece... triggered such a rich conversation....
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Wed May 20, 2015 2:42 pm

Thanks Josh,  Glad you did too  !
It`s been fun putting that `emptiness` term in a different and more accurate light.  It`s perfectly
valid when it pertains to Objects as all objects `in the world` really have no inherent meaning of
their own.  Awareness is a much more pertinent term and is, due to the internet, given a more
accurate acceptance of it`s true meaning now.

That `Emptiness` I believe has caused more confusion and heartache than practically any other so called spiritual term.  The original translations of the term in the 19th century were many and varied until the term Emptiness gained widespread traction and acceptance.
 I believe the Buddha dharma will be slowly revealed more and more  as wider study is made of Buddhism in it`s entirity...rather than each school sticking to it`s own limited interpretations.
I reckon a lot of `sacred cows` are going to be let loose.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Wed May 20, 2015 5:39 pm

Stan,
Re my new image I responded elsewhere...certainly no protestations! I am sufficiently vain to love your comments, and have no intention of changing.

Perhaps you don't know that Janek's English is still lacking, but he is a Buddhist now:

I go, you go, let go Ego!

...well, a Buddhist of a variety I debate passionately elsewhere....

...and of commercial.
O.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Thu May 21, 2015 2:37 am

Ol'ga,
You probably have no memory of my presence, but in Dec. 1971 on a visit to Shasta Abbey I have a vivid memory of you sitting in the dining hall (unless I'm conflating you with someone else), and being touched with this sense of a sweetness in your face. I have that same sense from your photo here. In my aging years I am hoping to be more and more a sweet old guy to my grandchildren who worries less.
Best wishes,
Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Thu May 21, 2015 12:51 pm

Dear Bill,
What a lovely thing to say!
It may well have been me that you remember from December 1971. The other girl monks did not look like me. December 1971 was a happy time for me - I had got over my misery, caused partly by Roshi's teaching me something (maybe how to be tough?) and partly by my belief that misery goes with the territory.
If I saw your photo from those times, I might remember you, too.
You have a sweet face, too! I'm sure your grandchildren adore you.
As for faces - I love human face (also animal faces). When painting someone, I always fall in love hopelessly with the face....the body, too, hands, all of it.
Much love,
O.
P.S. This morning I woke up thinking I am too vulnerable showing that photo, and thought I'd go back to my bear-me....well, maybe I won't then. This way perhaps my ruminations won't appear so doctrinaire (I know they do, sometimes, it's an old failing of mine. Mom used to say, 'you're sounding like a mentor again'.)
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Thu May 21, 2015 2:35 pm

Thanks for the lovely response, Ol'ga. I have a good memory for faces, so if you were there then, must be the same person and same warm smile. I don't have a photo immediately available from that period of myself. Your contributions on this forum have been most welcome to me precisely because you are so adept at unravelling doctrines and affirming the goodness of our humanity. Thank you for that gift.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Fri May 22, 2015 1:32 am

Bill, Kozan, Stan, and all my friends,

I won't go point by point. It is often a very good way, but now it is much too late, and I am tired.
I'll just think aloud, OK?
I don't know why exactly I started 'searching for the truth'. But if I remember correctly, I always had a healthy respect for life. Maybe that's why Michael is so dear to me, because he's seen a lot of it - hard, messy, dangerous life, too. And life is my starting point, and no truth can circumvent it - if it does, it's not truth.
I was a rather serious Christian (Lutheran) when I was confirmed at twelve. Christians were, of course, persecuted and despised by Communists. You know, opium of the people and all that.

But when I was eighteen, I read Tom Paine, and lost faith in the Bible. There are many gems in it, and a lot of it still 'sings' in my heart. But it is not an authority for me. Anything I might read there, must be tested. It must make sense, otherwise it is not useful.

So I test everything I hear; experiences also must stand the test of time. They may be negated in some ways by further experiences or knowledge.

No scripture is an authority for me. I know some Upanishads in some depth, have studied them with my teacher in great, careful detail. I've studied a lot of Sanskrit at the UofT, both with Western teachers, and with an accomplished Hindu pundit. I have heard and, to a degree, understood some wonderful things.

But in the end I always come back to life as I live it. No knowledge is of any use so long as it is an abstraction. It must fit in life itself - and not some noble life, but this nitty-gritty life, life as is.

And so, when we talk about the Reality which is Awareness (Satyam-jnanam-anantam Brahma, in my background), I have to see clearly how relevant it is to this life, to this world, and of course, to me, whoever I may be.

Because I find myself here. I exist. I did not put myself here, I did not bring myself somehow into existence. I am here! This is a huge fact; do you see? You are here - wow! And so I start from this huge fact. Everything, really, pales in significance next to this huge fact.

And so, if a scripture sheds some light on this me, this inescapable me, then great, bring it on. If I can find a teacher that can expound the scripture to me, elucidate it (because I find the scriptures, on their own are often cryptic, or at least unable to make themselves properly understood by me), then I listen. But the teachings must be relevant to my life, to me, to that which is so present, so inescapable. I need to be true to myself. It's irksome otherwise, and ultimately a waste of time.

If I hear that the world has an apparent reality, I have to understand what it means. You know the story of Johnson, kicking the stone, "I refute it thus".
The world is real - I can touch it. It is as real as my touching it. Who can tell me, that my breath is apparent, that my lungs are apparent? I want to understand it thoroughly, so I don't have to suppress, or disregard any of my experience. You know Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie) - if there is one single little fact that contradicts my theory, the theory is no good.

I am saying this because I find that understanding the truth (which is quite revolutionary) is a long, and beautiful - sometimes maybe frustrating - process. At least for me, it is no good rushing it. It is a part of my life, and I believe in enjoying my life  - it is such a beautiful thing.

So I, personally, at times need to step away from any formal study. Just live, take care of all those little, mundane things in life. They are all my friends - my duties, my enjoyments, my shortcomings, others' shortcomings. I am grateful life gives me a chance to learn acceptance - it is my good teacher.

How does that fit in with the "big" things - Awareness, and all that? I'll see it clearly when the time comes. I want it to be right, true, and include everything, particularly those who are in pain.

I think I'd better go.
Good night everybody,
O
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Fri May 22, 2015 7:03 am

Totally lovely, Ol'ga. Resonates for me. The Zen dimension of my story likewise, prepared me to accept and enter into the little, small, and also the big and most painful experiences in life, being present to them with the fullest awareness. Complementing that training in "mindfulness"  for me has been the Christian mystic dimension of the story in the teaching of heartfulness, to meet every moment with the fullest love I can give myself to, the "little way" of Brother Lawrence and Terese of Lisieux. The Upanishads teaching and that of Ramana Maharshi, complemented for me that teaching from the hesychasts, of continuous release of the mind of awareness from entrapment in the thinking brain and bringing it into the heart, was and remains, ever helpful to me. 

But perhaps the most valuable teaching of all happened when my little son was dying from acute myelocytic leukemia, watching him die and suffer pain from the onslaught of disease and chemotherapy on his little body (when I was a young father of 31 years of age) while I and my wife were helpless and could only companion him. The question in his eyes was clear, 'are you going to walk with me through this, or are you going to run away?' That is always the question that stays with me in everything. I could and did say "Yes" to that and always can, if willing. So often that is the only thing we can do, say "yes" and be present with the fullest awareness, not run away, and love the best we can. He, along with my wife, have been the greatest teachers of all to me about loving, awareness, and the spiritual journey. 

Early this morning I am off to have surgery to have a cancerous growth on my ear removed. Shouldn't be too complicated. I am grateful, unlike too many human  beings, that I have access to the medical care to have this done. The practice is still the same, be fully present in love to this and everything else, the  best I can. And in our present life we do child care times a week for our three little grandchildren, who need changing, feeding, and holding, and our patient attention. The "little way" continues.....
Blessings on your day,
Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Fri May 22, 2015 3:20 pm

Yes, Bill, exactly right!
Your little son now entered my life, and my heart. And, as you said
The question in his eyes was clear, 'are you going to walk with me through this, or are you going to run away?'
I see those eyes of your little boy, and they speak to me, too. I once heard someone say - You must be reckless in love. In these things one can't hold back, shelter oneself. Love, even if it comes with so much pain.
I know about Brother Lawrence - there is a pile of books by my bed (I am an unspeakably messy person) - he might still be there.
And so there are the three, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of them is love.
[btw, the first English translation was by William Tyndale - he got garroted and burned at stake for this 'crime' - and he has 'love' in this gem from St Paul. The King James Bible, which is largely a plagiarism on Tyndale (the N.T), has 'charity' instead. A pity, because love is the correct word, isn't it?]
Your operation should be over now. I hope all went well. I am thinking of you.
Lots of love and hugs (carefully!),
O
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Fri May 22, 2015 4:05 pm

Bill, i too would like to add my best wishes and hope your operation was successful.
I`ve found your life story as you`ve unfolded it here to be inspirational and heart warming.
I hope you don`t mind me saying so.
My best regards to you Bill.
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Fri May 22, 2015 4:11 pm

Ol'ga wrote:
A pity, because love is the correct word, isn't it?]

Bill: Yes, it is. In my view it is the main thing, the only thing, in fact it is who we are in our essence.

Your operation should be over now. I hope all went well. I am thinking of you.
Lots of love and hugs (carefully!),
O

Bill:Thank you for the kind thoughts, Ol'ga. The surgery went well. The surgical technique for this is called Mohs surgery. I went to a clinic in Portland, Oregon (hour and a quarter drive) where they specialize in it. Essentially you go with the idea of possibly staying for the day, and they are prepared to take off slices of tissue and examine them until they are assured that you are cancer free. Fortunately for me they only had to take just one slice of my ear. Also fortunately for me I had the slowest growing form of cancer. When they first discovered it, I was worried it might be a melanoma which can spread throughout the body and quickly, and I reflected briefly on whether I felt ready to die that kind of death. The main regret in that scenario are my daughter, her husband, and my grandchildren. They really do need us right now, at least for a while, so that part I didn't like. Otherwise it would be okay to leave the scene. 

Blessings,
Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Fri May 22, 2015 4:16 pm

Stan Giko wrote:
Bill, i too would like to add my best wishes and hope your operation was successful.
I`ve found your life story as you`ve unfolded it here to be inspirational and heart warming.
I hope you don`t mind me saying so.
My best regards to you Bill.
 
Thank you for the kind words, Stan. If you read my response to Ol'ga, the surgery went well. Likewise I have appreciated your contributions as well in this form.
Blessings,
Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Fri May 22, 2015 6:44 pm

Bill v glad the operation seems to have been succesful. As you say the good thing about possible fatal illness is it put things back in perspective.

Olga lovely to see you back stiring things up again with your lovely straightforward approach. As you say the truth is before us always we just don't recognize it, even hide from it. As for your criticism of the King James I'm afraid I prefer charity as the translation of the Latin caritas, not as we use the term now but as it was used then - to mean a cross between care and compassion. I cannot love ISIL terrorists as they gruesomely behead helpless prisoners but I can push myself and sometimes have caritas. As for scriptures as a whole as far as I'm concerned they only other peoples advice and directions on how to find the truth. As soon as they become Holy Writ. I am with Hume:
Quote :
‘In every system of morality … the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. The change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence.’
Scriptures are sometimes wise but of necessity they are couched in terms of and infused with the culture of their authors. I rather lean to the rather more heretical approaches like those of the English Diggers and Levelers, even on occasion the Ranters. It is easier to see where they've gone barmy. I tend to think that we make much to much of what is staring us in face. Giving it capitals and calling it The Truth and then connecting that 'with an ought, or an ought not'. The truth stares us in the face all the time and we turn away and live in our heads. I rather like the formulation about mindfulness put forward in a Veterans Association app: 'Have more direct contact with the world, rather than living through your thoughts' ...simples! (Ah, if only it was)
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sat May 23, 2015 12:43 am

Dear Bill,
What a great news! Great relief. You seemed to be so calm going under the knife, I admire you for that. I hope your ear will heel quickly now. I promise I won't pull it.
I have to go now - just will pull Mark's ear a bit, and then off to bed.
Love,
O
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sat May 23, 2015 1:01 am

Hi Mark,
I seem to be collecting really heartwarming welcomes. Thank you for yours, too. It's really nice for me.
I agree that one can have compassion for many people that one could hardly love. As for charity, or Latin caritas, one would have to know what those words meant at the appropriate time. You suggested some meaning - I don't have any suggestions, since I simply don't know.
What 'caritas' meant in Latin is, of course, beside the point, as the NT was written in Greek, and Greek uses in this instance the word 'agape' (as distinct from eros). David reassures me that agape indeed means love, but his Greek may not be adequate either. It seems that KJV is an odd man out  translating the word as 'charity' - all the modern translations, as my minimal research shows, have love.
I am very much behind in my reading of the forum posts. It would be good if I could just read, and not jump at the slightest provocation like the Jack in the box; but I am so trigger-happy! So  probably you guys will hear from me more that you bargained for.
If you withdraw you warm welcome, I'll understand.
All for now, phew!
Charity,
O
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sat May 23, 2015 8:05 am

mstrathern wrote:

I cannot love ISIL terrorists as they gruesomely behead helpless prisoners but I can push myself and sometimes have caritas.

Hello Mark, good to see you here.  Interesting that you should mention ISIL (ISIS or "Islamic State" in the news media over here).  They are dominating the news lately and for good reason.  I've been thinking about what a meaningful response might be to people in the grip of such madness...?  Does our practice help us formulate a response?
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PostSubject: Re: Letting Go of Spiritual Experience by Taleg Kyabgon Rinpoche - from Tricycle   Sat May 23, 2015 1:04 pm

@Isan
My practice suggests that a meaningful but very unpretty response starts with
 
exploring the possibility that everyone is actually in the grip of this madness, followed by some personal exploration of where all of us were, are and will probably continue to be contributors to it's being.
In other words, until we can own and bring some resolution to our own part in it all, are we not just snoozing our way past the ignorance that continues to feed it.
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