OBC Connect

A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Renamed thread: Using masques

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Renamed thread: Using masques    Wed May 02, 2012 9:58 pm

[Admin note: This thread is being renamed temporarily as a workaround to a user's access problem.]

Howard wrote:
The mind spins trying to relate to having to hide
behind a mask to speak of a practise that is supposedly all about
removing our masks.

This came from a forum discussion about people using aliases on discussion forums, but I latched onto it in the context of how we move through the world (whether practising as a buddhist or not).

After mulling this over I wonder if I could actually remove my own mask if I tried, which I've not done lately as far as I can recall. I have as many masks as I do purses and shoes probably I pick them up and drop them just as quickly, depending on where I'm going and what's required. Been doing that for quite some time. I don't think it causes me to have split personalities or anything that severe, it's more a case of varying degrees of guardedness, depending on who I'm dealing with.

Some of this could be attributed to OBC residue, the I-don't-trust-teachers thing, but it's not only that. Part of it is not wanting to expose something that feels valuable or important to me, for others' inspection and potential "thumb's down".

I have this idea that masks can sometimes help in training, like a bicycle helmet maybe, or the great big gloves you wear when pulling a roasting pan out of the oven . . .


Last edited by Lise on Mon May 21, 2012 2:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 03, 2012 2:14 am

Hey lise
Great topic to mull over.
Don't know why you're wondering if you could remove your mask and then say you have many masks????

When I'm masked, time flys by, perceptions are blurred, the heart is constrained & and a wake of suffering develops.
When maskless, the world slows right down, perceptions are unclouded, the heart is wide & equanimity manifests.

In those times and places that I am able to live my meditation, masks are irrelevant. Where I am unable to live my meditation, a mask has already taken it's place..
I'm sure for those who live where a disguise is a nessesary survival tool, meditation and mask building can be compatible practises. It has just been my experience that my mask maker has always been fear or craving and has only been ever used to fool people. People on both sides of the mask get fooled.
I can't think of the last time I fooled someone and looked back over that action and seen it as wakeless?
Cheers
H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 03, 2012 12:21 pm

Howard wrote:

Don't know why you're wondering if you could remove your mask and then say you have many masks????

I didn't say this clearly - I meant, removing one form of mask and not having another take its place seamlessly and automatically. When I look at this I see a whole wardrobe of protective layers (mental/emotional) that I put on and take off all day long. The boss sees a version, friends see something else, husband sees yet a different one. Of course we aren't the same with everybody, and different settings have different forms of appropriate behaviour and expression; that's not the question. It's something more that I'm trying to get at, and haven't articulated. Maybe the right words will come

I have recently considered trying to be less-masked, I guess, when opportunities come up to speak with monks and others who identify as teachers. I listen to online material quite a bit, dharma talks and such (including OBC, to see what they're up to) but having direct contact is something I've shied away from for years. Lately it doesn't seem so fraught with risk. Interesting development, not sure what will follow -
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Kozan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 672
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 68
Location : Sonoma County CA

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 1:11 am

Lise wrote:

I have this idea that masks can sometimes help in training, like a bicycle helmet maybe, or the great big gloves you wear when pulling a roasting pan out of the oven . . .


Lise, I love this discussion of masks. And I think that you are entirely correct.

I would say (from my experience) that to become a Buddhist monk is to put on a mask that is designed to facilitate the dropping of one's earlier ego-mask, by providing a kind of protection from a variety of interactions that mainstream culture and society not only regard as normal--but expect!

(It is interesting to note, in this regard, that a Buddhist monk, walking on a begging or alms round, pulls her or his traditional straw hat down in order to mask the face.)

I think that many of our culturally conditioned context interactions are essentially adversarial in nature (no matter how subtle)--and that therefore, some degree of protection can facilitate healing of the distress and trauma that we have (all) experienced--experience that leads us to create ego-masks, for protection, in the first place.

Therefore, I think that the mask-dance can provide the protection we need to unmask. And that masks are not only not a problem--but can be enormously beneficial--especially when we are able to recognize them for what they are.
Back to top Go down
Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 10:07 am

To me, training is about taking off all the masks... meditation feels like a dissolving. (The 'builder of the house' analogy comes to mind.) Of course there is always more going on inside than I choose to say or show at any given time, because only a selection of the inside stuff is relevant and useful to the people and/or situation at hand. But things being out of view does not mean that they are hidden. Maybe it comes down to an attitude of willingness to give whatever a situation asks for, and to not hold on to a personal agenda?

When I began to let go of masks there was an immediate alarm 'OH NO, I'M GOING TO GET HURT' but by that time I was already so hurt that it was obvious the masks weren't working anyway. So I went to a safe place and did my best to scrap them altogether. When I came out of that place there was a feeling of rawness, but interestingly not of vulnerability. Letting go of masks had somehow counter-intuitively made me less vulnerable. If someone shouted aggressively at me, somehow it went through me. I'd be shaken but because I'd trained not to blindly react from an 'egoic defense', I no longer took it quite as personally and recovered much faster.

That was all a long tricky process though. Trying to let go of masks in the midst of conflict, prior to retreating, was not a great idea - there was not sufficient peace on a day-to-day basis to be able to integrate it and recover gradually, so that did make me more vulnerable.

In terms of monastic training, I think that will always be adversarial to some extent, and some adversarial situations are useful in the sense that they teach us how to juggle all the above; in a best-case scenario adversity encourages the integration of openness, control and discernment all at once. But I do think that an ideal monastery or retreat place offers far less adversity than e.g. world politics... we need a space to breathe and to feel safe, and I don't see how learning can happen if we don't.
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 11:07 am

Mia wrote:
To me, training is about taking off all the masks... meditation feels like a dissolving. (The 'builder of the house' analogy comes to mind.) Of course there is always more going on inside than I choose to say or show at any given time, because only a selection of the inside stuff is relevant and useful to the people and/or situation at hand. But things being out of view does not mean that they are hidden.

This resonates. Zazen is a safe place to identify the masks and remember that wearing them is a choice. When I first started practicing I discovered there were masks in place and I had forgotten when and why I created them. I learned to let them go and experience their absence. Now the mask dance of daily life is more fluid and masks serve a more constructive purpose.

Mia wrote:
In terms of monastic training, I think that will always be adversarial to some extent, and some adversarial situations are useful in the sense that they teach us how to juggle all the above; in a best-case scenario adversity encourages the integration of openness, control and discernment all at once. But I do think that an ideal monastery or retreat place offers far less adversity than e.g. world politics... we need a space to breathe and to feel safe, and I don't see how learning can happen if we don't.

Yes, but how to implement. In the early days of Shasta Abbey there were those who had unrealistic expectations that the community would be free of conflict, but I would say that Jiyu Kennett intentionally created an environment in which there was much greater conflict than typically encountered "in the world". She did it, as you say, to "encourage the integration of openness, control and discernment". Unfortunately she sometimes just traumatized people - she didn't always seem able to discern when she was doing more harm than good. In the world conflict arises naturally and is subject to many checks and balances, but in isolated monastic communities where conflict is created intentionally many of the normal checks and balances are absent. As you know there are many threads here trying to speak to this issue in the OBC.
Back to top Go down
Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 11:22 am

Yes I do hope this issue will come to be fully addressed Isan.

For what it's worth, I've often heard RM Daishin say that enough conflict arises naturally that he does not believe in creating it intentionally, and in my experience his actions were in line with those words. I'm not pretending that because of this everything is therefore ok in the whole institution forever after. But there are distinct pockets of good practice in the current OBC, which are arguably substantial, and which may give some interested parties hope.


Last edited by Mia on Fri May 04, 2012 11:53 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To clarify)
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 1:34 pm

Isan wrote:
Yes, but how to implement. In the early days of Shasta Abbey there were those who had unrealistic expectations that the community would be free of conflict, but I would say that Jiyu Kennett intentionally created an environment in which there was much greater conflict than typically encountered "in the world". She did it, as you say, to "encourage the integration of openness, control and discernment". Unfortunately she sometimes just traumatized people - she didn't always seem able to discern when she was doing more harm than good. In the world conflict arises naturally and is subject to many checks and balances, but in isolated monastic communities where conflict is created intentionally many of the normal checks and balances are absent. As you know there are many threads here trying to speak to this issue in the OBC.


Mia wrote:
Yes I do hope this issue will come to be fully addressed Isan.

For what it's worth, I've often heard RM Daishin say that enough conflict arises naturally that he does not believe in creating it intentionally, and in my experience his actions were in line with those words. I'm not pretending that because of this everything is therefore ok in the whole institution forever after. But there are distinct pockets of good practice in the current OBC, which are arguably substantial, and which may give some interested parties hope.


This dovetails into an opportunity to bring up something I've been thinking of. There's a retreat at SA in June, on the topic of Kennett's teachings. I've been thinking of setting down my masks long enough to attend some of the discussions (not any other part of the retreat), to gauge how SA is packaging Kennett's image and message these days. If I thought the talks would be posted online I would not try to attend, but it seems they don't always post each retreat's talks. Anyway, not sure I will do this but I am considering it. If SA monks have gotten to a place where they can acknowledge at least some of Kennett's harm in addition to the sanitised version of her great compassion, that would be reason for optimism.

If I attend any retreat talks it will not be as an emissary for OBCC or anything like that. I've no plans to ask questions or disrupt anything, I would just like to hear what they say.
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 2:20 pm

Mia wrote:
Yes I do hope this issue will come to be fully addressed Isan.

For what it's worth, I've often heard RM Daishin say that enough conflict arises naturally that he does not believe in creating it intentionally, and in my experience his actions were in line with those words. I'm not pretending that because of this everything is therefore ok in the whole institution forever after. But there are distinct pockets of good practice in the current OBC, which are arguably substantial, and which may give some interested parties hope.

Daishin and I trained together in the same manipulative environment. The fact that he now says it's unnecessary to intentionally create conflict to facilitate practice is a dramatic change in thinking. So far he hasn't been willing to talk about it here, but he's still an active member :-)
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 2:37 pm

Lise wrote:
This dovetails into an opportunity to bring up something I've been thinking of. There's a retreat at SA in June, on the topic of Kennett's teachings. I've been thinking of setting down my masks long enough to attend some of the discussions (not any other part of the retreat), to gauge how SA is packaging Kennett's image and message these days. If I thought the talks would be posted online I would not try to attend, but it seems they don't always post each retreat's talks. Anyway, not sure I will do this but I am considering it. If SA monks have gotten to a place where they can acknowledge at least some of Kennett's harm in addition to the sanitized version of her great compassion, that would be reason for optimism.

If I attend any retreat talks it will not be as an emissary for OBCC or anything like that. I've no plans to ask questions or disrupt anything, I would just like to hear what they say.

If you do it will certainly be interesting to hear your impressions regardless of whether they post the talks online. It is ironic that although JK often said that she was not perfect (and definitely meant it) many monks still cannot allow themselves to view her realistically. I believe this is one of the main obstacles for the OBC going forward.
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 5:08 pm

The retreat schedule shows there are talks (delivered by a monk) and discussions (Q&A with attendees) and I may try to get to both, on the days I can attend which is probably not more than two. The discussions will be interesting to the extent that comments take the discussion beyond the usual script.

When I was going there years ago I don't think I ever heard a lay person comment on Kennett or her teaching, or publicly ask a question about her. When a monk mentioned her, a hush would descend on the room, an unnatural silence actually; it was just understood that laity did not speak about her. We'll see if this is still the case. I will post my impressions about it -
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 7:21 pm

Masks are just the signposts that say, "Really? Is that as honest as I'm prepared to be"?

Some, people have been cautious about the validity of their input here because they've seen themselves as newbies. The issue of masks for newbies & wrinklies can take on an interesting twist when looked at through first mind & second mind teachings.

The masks of first mind are usually sculpted out of fear or craving and are often discerned for the fight or flight stimulus that supports them. The average trainee deals an un countable number of them. They are the coarse responses to our lack of acceptance of where ever we happen to be and as such, are easily observed and dropped within a meditative practise.

The masks associated with second mind are notably different for how difficult they can be to recognize apart from our chosen spiritual landscape. Second mind masks, although few in number, tend to be worn for a long time. Second mind Masks are carefully crafted through trial & error with a mind well focused & coached within a religious practise.
These masks are difficult to remove because of how well they blend in with our spiritual aims, for how they can become adopted as a substitute for the practise itself and for how their singular long term usage can imbue them with a formidable sense of identity to lose just by being questioned.

It goes a long way to explain the some of the nuttiness as well as my sympathy for everyone in


Our Order of the wrinklies behaving badly.

Cheers
H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 74
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 04, 2012 9:24 pm

Quote :
The masks associated with second mind are notably different for how difficult they can be to recognize apart from our chosen spiritual landscape. Second mind masks, although few in number, tend to be worn for a long time. Second mind Masks are carefully crafted through trial & error with a mind well focused & coached within a religious practise.
These masks are difficult to remove because of how well they blend in with our spiritual aims, for how they can become adopted as a substitute for the practise itself and for how their singular long term usage can imbue them with a formidable sense of identity to lose just by being questioned.


Howard, a perfect description of the start of the descent into fundamentalism. Always shielded by the 'Mask of Being Right'. Then, out of compassion of course, almost anything goes in order to help others who are less fortunate to the 'Right Path'. It's the old paradox: If you know where you are you're already lost.

Lise, I wouldn't worry to much about your masks, don't feed them by cultivating (or rejecting them), just let them go like any thoughts and states of mind in meditation.There is nothing wrong with them they are part of you its just that they tend to lead in illusory directions.
Back to top Go down
glorfindel

avatar

Posts : 226
Join date : 2010-07-12

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 05, 2012 7:18 am

Isan wrote:
Mia wrote:
Yes I do hope this issue will come to be fully addressed Isan.

For what it's worth, I've often heard RM Daishin say that enough conflict arises naturally that he does not believe in creating it intentionally, and in my experience his actions were in line with those words. I'm not pretending that because of this everything is therefore ok in the whole institution forever after. But there are distinct pockets of good practice in the current OBC, which are arguably substantial, and which may give some interested parties hope.

Daishin and I trained together in the same manipulative environment. The fact that he now says it's unnecessary to intentionally create conflict to facilitate practice is a dramatic change in thinking. So far he hasn't been willing to talk about it here, but he's still an active member :-)



"The koan appears naturally" is something I've heard emphasized alot at Throssel Hole, so perhaps the idea is spreading.


Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 05, 2012 10:57 am

Reading this business about masks made me realize that I wasn't really sure what a mask was anymore. Many of the descriptions by people I wasn't so sure was actually a mask as it was just a reaction to what was going on around them or within them. When we perceive a threat, we protect ourselves. Is that a mask? When we want to assure someone, we behave in a certain way to do so. Is that a mask? In essence, we often present to the world in a wide variety of different ways depending on the circumstances we are in.

The term mask is a term I'd use to describe a situation in which we present ourselves to the world in a way that is meant to deceive. What and who we present to the world is not at all in harmony with our inner feelings and genuine reactions, but is simply a facade pasted on our faces to present something wholly different from our inner experience.

Is that necessarily bad though? That depends on the circumstances. Sometimes you have to put on a mask. There are situations that are not good to display the fear and anxiety we might feel, or conversely, the cockiness and arrogance we might be feeling. So wearing a mask (i.e. masking our feelings, inner experience, reactions, etc.) is a judgment call, and as most judgment calls, it is difficult and tricky to place our own values onto another person.

Why then is wearing a mask, dropping a mask, letting masks dissolve in meditation something of concern to many meditators? I'd venture to guess that wearing masks becomes problematic when it creates inner discord and when there is an element of compulsion in the process in which one feels that our own ability to present as we'd like is mitigated by a compulsion or fear to present differently; or when we feel like what used to feel genuine nor longer does feel genuine and so we are uncertain as to what is real and genuine. In these circumstances the dichotomy between inner and outer makes us feel that we are wearing a mask and that this mask is problematic for us.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 05, 2012 2:22 pm

Hey Henry

What does a mask look like?

I'm not sure where or if this mask falls into your definition but it is one of my more noticeable ones.

Part of my practise involves trying to watch for where I'm present in life and where I'm not. I seldom notice that I'm wearing a mask, only that for a period of time my flow of awareness has seriously narrowed. This is usually discovered in my rear view mirror as I'm leaving a mask behind.

One place where I sometimes notice this is at work where I visit peoples homes for HVAC repairs. My visits up to their front doors is a flow of awareness of lifes minutia, that can disappear as I enter their home only to reappear as I'm later walking back out again. When returning to a fuller awareness and looking back at my consciousness holiday, the only difference I see is that I had been pushing the river, so to speak. By this I mean I was placing more emphasis on projecting my self & my services than I was on just simply being present. I don't think of it as a problem so much as a slap up the side of the head reminding me of the real cost to wearing a mask. There is no doubt that masks acheive an effect. I just wonder how much of the resulting effect are really just more deification of the self.

Cheer

H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 05, 2012 4:46 pm

Henry wrote:
Reading this business about masks made me realize that I wasn't really sure what a mask was anymore. Many of the descriptions by people I wasn't so sure was actually a mask as it was just a reaction to what was going on around them or within them. When we perceive a threat, we protect ourselves. Is that a mask? When we want to assure someone, we behave in a certain way to do so. Is that a mask? In essence, we often present to the world in a wide variety of different ways depending on the circumstances we are in.

I've heard Doctor Phil talk about the "social mask", which is simply the set of behaviors we don when out in public and interacting with people we don't know. For instance, when it's my turn at the grocery store checkout the clerk usually asks how I'm doing and I say "fine, how about yourself?" He smiles, I smile and we get on with bagging and paying for the groceries. This "how are you" call and response routine is done everywhere as a preamble to whatever else you need to do. For a time I tried giving people a more honest answer to the question. If I wasn't having a great day I might say "I've been better", you get the idea. I quickly learned that this rarely went over well. It almost always put people off to some degree, and sometimes actually upset them. It became obvious that this exchange is really not about inquiring after each others' well-being. It is a ritual where people demonstrate to each other that they are harmless and capable of social interaction. I see this as an example of intentionally donning a mask in order to participate effectively in the culture - in other words exhibiting social skills. Strictly speaking it's dishonest and yet essential. Zazen doesn't free me from the need to don the mask, but it does help me put it on more consciously and take it off when I'm done, so if I'm not having a great day at least I'm not pretending to myself along with everyone else :-)
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sun May 06, 2012 1:09 pm

Howard,

Sounds like business concerns take precedence over meditation when your under customer scrutiny. Maybe you're concerned that if you don't present in a certain way your business might falter some. If that assumption is true, I think it would be interesting for you to know the details of that conflict in the moment and see if you could pull an Isan by doing the little social dance you've probably been doing all along with awareness.


Isan wrote:

I've heard Doctor Phil talk about the "social mask", which is simply the set of behaviors we don when out in public and interacting with people we don't know.

I'm rethinking this whole mask business. From reading the comments on this thread and from what I think society as whole might think, a mask (psychologically speaking) might be defined as displaying something outwardly that is not in accord or harmony with one's inner state. But in truth, aren't we doing that most of the time? Feelings are quite volatile. We feel something one minute, then something quite different the next. Thoughts are worse. They often flash by faster than we can see. What if our facial expression and our body language truly, accurately, and in real time reflected our inner thoughts and feelings. Wouldn't we have to up the dose of our medication? So, does it make sense to use the word mask for an activity we're doing most of the time?

This is especially true when it comes to religion. Though we are supposed to transcend guilt in meditation, most of us know from experience that Buddhism in practice can give a Catholicism a run for its money when it comes to guilt. Do we want to add to that guilt with a spiritually and psychologically impractical definition of masks?

Howard wrote: "The mind spins trying to relate to having to hide behind a mask to speak of a practise that is supposedly all about removing our masks." But is that true? If we see masks as discordance between inner and outer, then what about equanimity? We sit in meditation while all sorts of thoughts and feelings arise, yet we keep our awareness on keeping our body still and relaxed. Is that a mask? We have an urge to strike out verbally or physically at someone, yet keep ourselves in check. Is that a mask?

I think from a spiritual and psychological perspective, a mask is not so much how we outwardly present in a certain way, but what our intention is in doing so. I think that might dispell some of the guilt people may feel in having an imperfect reflection between inner and outer and also some of the confusion in the our daily reality that the frequent difference between inner thoughts and feelings and our outer expression is just the nature of our reality.

So, if the above ideas regarding masks are impractical definitions for spiritual purposes, what would be a practical definition(s). I think including an element of deceiving others for selfish purposes would be a start. In addition it needs to include self deception, in which we project a personna onto the world that we consider to "me" but actually creates problems due to being in conflict with repressed or denied aspects of ourselves. Anyway, that seems to me to be a start.
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sun May 06, 2012 2:06 pm

Henry wrote:

I'm rethinking this whole mask business. Feelings are quite volatile. We feel something one minute, then something quite different the next. Thoughts are worse. They often flash by faster than we can see. What if our facial expression and our body language truly, accurately, and in real time reflected our inner thoughts and feelings? Wouldn't we have to up the dose of our medication?

I saw a House MD episode recently where the main puzzle was a patient suffering from "frontal lobe disinhibition" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinhibition). Essentially this character was verbalizing every thought/opinion that came to mind in real time which resulted in him alienating everyone around him. This kind of honesty is obviously not desirable as it would literally endanger a person's ability to survive. We must have evolved/selected for "frontal lobe inhibition" to enable us to live together in groups which, in turn, enhanced our species chances for survival. The TV show was an interesting study of what constitutes honesty Vs lying, and fits right in with our mask discussion. If you get House MD reruns look for it - it's called "The Social Contract".
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sun May 06, 2012 3:04 pm

Isan

I've heard about House MD from another friend who highly recommended it, but I never followed through. I think I'll give it a try. The episode you mentioned sounds exactly like what I'm talking about. I do think that the distinction between masks and disinhibition has areas of confusion for many.
Back to top Go down
Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Tue May 08, 2012 5:40 am

Isan wrote:
For instance, when it's my turn at the grocery store checkout the clerk usually asks how I'm doing and I say "fine, how about yourself?" [...] Strictly speaking it's dishonest and yet essential.
"How are you" is such an interesting conundrum. I reasoned, why are people asking? My answer is that it's to connect with each other in a positive way (because even the best of us can't handle the full truth of suffering every time we go grocery shopping). So, even if I'm depressed, if a stranger asks me how I am, I find the part of myself which is ok and answer truthfully from that part, "I'm good, thanks." On other occasions, if it looks like they wish to have a chat, I answer with a palatable piece of news that they can relate to, regarding why I may not be 100% ok. So in a sense small talk is important because it answers a real need for people to connect; and I don't think we're being dishonest just because we're not spilling the profound depth of our guts? Having said that, I do answer with a fuller truth if a true friend asks. But even the fuller truth isn't ever completely negative or positive. Thankfully I eventually found friends who are used to strange meandering answers to small questions. "I feel [banned term] as usual today thanks but there is a weird sense in which I'm still able to sense that everything is somehow ok so ultimately I guess you could say we're all ok... "
Back to top Go down
glorfindel

avatar

Posts : 226
Join date : 2010-07-12

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Tue May 08, 2012 9:39 am

Hopefully we will all evolve into Harmoniums. (You know, those little star shaped blobs that live on the planet Mercury). Like us,
they only have two phrases in their language:

"Here I am!"

"Glad you are!"


Unlike the Harmoniums our verbiage seems to obfuscate those two basic communications.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Tue May 08, 2012 11:51 am

Kind of liked the spirit of Cameron's Avatar movie aliens greeting of

"I see you".

You might be suprised at how consistantly it turns typically robotic social exchanges into a shared gassho between two sentient beings.

H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Wed May 09, 2012 12:43 pm

Howard wrote:
The issue of masks for newbies & wrinklies can take on an interesting twist when looked at through first mind & second mind teachings.
Is there a 'third mind' mask for people when they leave the monastery?
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Wed May 09, 2012 8:44 pm

Mia wrote Is there a 'third mind' mask for people when they leave the monastery?

While there might be some similar experiences for those leaving a monastery, I wouldn't say first mind/ second mind teachings are conditional to staying within or leaving a monastery.


First mind/second mind is one way of saying there is never any shortage of delusion for all to indulge.
That the advantages bought by long years of training are countered by the more insidious delusions that come dressed as spiritual identity. These travel freely beyond monastic bounds.

"Our Order of the wrinklies behaving badly" was just a collective term that applies just as much to old timers in the OBCC as the OBC.

Cheers
H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 10, 2012 12:25 am

Mia wrote Is there a 'third mind' mask for people when they leave the monastery?

I think there is at least one third mask for some who return to lay life, based on what people have posted on the forum and messages I've received by PM. I'm thinking of the shame/failure overlay that some organisations foist upon those who leave, an effort which is probably months/years in the making before the actual day of someone's departure. "Rev. Master would be so disappointed with your selfishness, if she knew". Or: "You failed at everything before you came here and now you've failed as a monk". These things are actually said to people, if accounts are to be believed. I have no grounds for disbelieving them.

Leave-takers in all realms tend to create masks for themselves, don't they. It helps to transition from one way of life to another, or possibly postpone a true transition and instead support a languishing in the places in-between, if they can't let go of what's behind and can't move forward to what's ahead. I think of those who are living that twilight existence and wish them well.
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 10, 2012 7:55 am

Well said Lise.
Back to top Go down
jack



Posts : 165
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 10, 2012 9:38 am

Interesting discussion about masks ...

The greatest difficulty I've had with masks is seeing them as I put them on. That has been my greatest challenge. Once they can be seen, and can be donned or discarded at choice, they are not nearly so formidable.

Sometimes a mask is appropriate for a role. In real life most actors don't become psychotic by virtue of their costuming, and quite capably differentiate themselves from roles they play.

In our social interaction, some roles require certain costumes. Tee shirts and shorts are probably not the best costume for a board room meeting; they would greatly distract from the task. Ministerial costumes, like robes and necklaces, are often important to many people as part of pastoral care. The basic helpful idea for me is to see the costuming and to understand it. It seems just as delusional to develop an identity around "not wearing" an appropriate cultural costume as to think the mask is real.

Sometimes the relationship defines the mask that people expect. It seems reasonable to understand the expectation of the role mask, and adapt fluidly to it, as long as it is constructive and there is freedom in how the role is played. Father, brother, spouse, employee, distant relative, passing person on the street, meditating Buddhist, etc. are different sets and roles. There can be a lightness and playfulness in roles without becoming manipulative or dishonest. In fact, that seems a key message of Buddhism; there is no constant identity -- just a mind that is forever changing masks. When the masks and roles become "serious," they almost always become delusional and invisible to the wearer.

The difficulty I've seen people have is that they become the costume rather than donning it with awareness. Sometimes they are aghast to find that they they are capable of wearing vastly different masks. Rather than acknowledging the starkness, they tend to rationalize the chasm and become blind victims of their own schizophrenic behavior. BTK killed, raped, tortured and then went to church and taught Sunday School. Jiyu and perhaps some of her disciples could not acknowledge the disparate masks she unconsciously wore; the vastly different masks had be subsumed by gluing them together with a fierce mental insistence that such disparity was wisdom beyond understanding.

It is a common error for many new Buddhists (including myself many years ago) to imbibe and mimic "being a Buddhist" as a new form of personality or identity to replace an old one, rather than becoming free of both. With time, my identification as a Buddhist has become decidedly unimportant, though considerable Buddhist teaching remains a useful part of my life.

I often found it interesting that many Buddhists monks were so tightly attached to their monkhood, wearing it tightly as a critical identity in the same way that the ordinary people cling to their identity. No freedom at all. Some were married to their Master almost compulsively. No freedom at all. Some were easily miffed if others did not acknowledge their donned identity with deference. No freedom at all.
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 10, 2012 11:52 am

jack wrote:
It is a common error for many new Buddhists (including myself many years ago) to imbibe and mimic "being a Buddhist" as a new form of personality or identity to replace an old one, rather than becoming free of both. With time, my identification as a Buddhist has become decidedly unimportant, though considerable Buddhist teaching remains a useful part of my life.

I often found it interesting that many Buddhists monks were so tightly attached to their monkhood, wearing it tightly as a critical identity in the same way that the ordinary people cling to their identity. No freedom at all. Some were married to their Master almost compulsively. No freedom at all. Some were easily miffed if others did not acknowledge their donned identity with deference. No freedom at all.

Insightful observations Jack. I've often considered the incongruity of the original Buddhist monks who let go of worldly identity and became beggars wearing clothing made of rags, to current day monks in monasteries who dress and eat rather well, and receive special recognition in society. Those original followers may have had more in common with today's homeless people. Personally I came to feel trapped in the monk persona and "returning to world" was enormously freeing, but also disorienting given how invested I had become in being a special person in a small world. In the world people wear many hats - you can experience being special in one context and completely ordinary in others - and that can help dispell the notion of self-importance. The problem with being a monk is it's a 24/7 role that every person and situation serves to reinforce.
Back to top Go down
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 74
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 10, 2012 1:47 pm

I feel that a common problem lies in our failure to distinguish between role and person. Deference of role comes with position, deference of the person is earned. So to give two instances: President Obama is due deference as President by means of office, whether he has deference as Obama, the person, depends on whether you feel he has earned it or not. Whilst Jiyu was owed deference as Abbess of Shasta whether she was due it personally again depends on whether you feel she earned it or not.
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 11, 2012 1:56 pm

Jack wrote:

In fact, that seems a key message of Buddhism; there is no constant identity -- just a mind that is forever changing masks.

Though I agreed with much of what Jack wrote, I can't say I agree with this. His statement does, however, seem to jibe with much written in this thread. I don't see a duality between "mind" and "masks." It is that very sense of an ego or mind that is creating masks or managing events that dissolves in meditation. I think life is largely like a river in which the water flows according to what it meets. Water flows around a rock and eddies by the shore. Much of life is like this. As I wrote earlier on this thread, are our different responses to different occurances during the day really masks? If they are perceived as masks, do they really have to be so perceived? Is water flowing around a rock donning a disguise? The word mask brings up that connotation for me, and I don't see our different "faces" we portray throughout the day as necessarily masks at all. My different faces do not feel at all like masks. They seem more like water taking different shapes according to circumstances, both external and internal. It seems rare to me that I actually put on a mask. That's not to say I don't behave like a fool. But when I do, it doesn't seem like a ask. I'm just a a fool sometimes.

PS I realized there is a time when I use masks frequently--when I'm joking around and making faces, such as when I'm denying doing some evil deed that amused me and I put on my "that couldn't be me" face.
Back to top Go down
jack



Posts : 165
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 12, 2012 9:05 am

Quote :
Though I agreed with much of what Jack wrote, I can't say I agree with
this. His statement does, however, seem to jibe with much written in
this thread. I don't see a duality between "mind" and "masks." It is
that very sense of an ego or mind that is creating masks or managing
events that dissolves in meditation

Perhaps it's a word problem, or maybe we just disagree. We keep looking for some core persona -- some "true" self when all our masks are peeled off. The Buddhist surprise is that there's no core -- just the flux of masks and roles -- some conscious -- some unconscious. There's a lot of distress about wearing personas we think are false. We think they are in conflict with some "true" self and experience dissonance as a result. The "true" self we think we are is just another idea that is the very substance of masks. Letting go of that "true" self idea makes it a lot easier to flow around objects that seem to be obstacles. Letting go of the notion of having a "true" self is really uncomfortable for most people.

It seems to me people who pathologically always try to be what other people want them to be still believe in a "true" self, except that they are searching for it in the reactions of others rather than within. They still believe in it, though.

The physical world seems very, very solid. That is how we experience it. But atoms are about 99.999999999999% empty space -- not even remotely "solid" -- even in the remainder where even emptiness is beyond definition. It is useful to deal with the apparently solid world. There is considerable lightness (an unintended pun) in realizing that what is apparently so probably isn't.
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 12, 2012 9:49 am

jack wrote:


Perhaps it's a word problem, or maybe we just disagree. We keep looking for some core persona -- some "true" self when all our masks are peeled off. The Buddhist surprise is that there's no core -- just the flux of masks and roles -- some conscious -- some unconscious. There's a lot of distress about wearing personas we think are false. We think they are in conflict with some "true" self and experience dissonance as a result. The "true" self we think we are is just another idea that is the very substance of masks. Letting go of that "true" self idea makes it a lot easier to flow around objects that seem to be obstacles. Letting go of the notion of having a "true" self is really uncomfortable for most people.

I like this Jack. I believe that while there is no true self in the sense of a specific belief or stance, the flow of masks/roles is given integrity by our commitment to express compassion. Consistent compassionate intent integrates the personae. So, perhaps instead of a true self, we have a true intention.
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 12, 2012 9:58 am

Jack,

But my question is--is it just a flux of masks and roles? Isn't that just a judgment? And kind of a harsh one? Why would being in the world be a mask or a role? Why wouldn't it be just being? I think you have correctly identified a dichotomy that doesn't go to the core of our being: the true self/false self dichotomy. However, from what you wrote, it appears to me that you have let go of the true self half of the dichotomy but still not the false self half. People often see the false self as a mask and the true self as who they are. It seems to me that you are saying that both are masks and roles, so you posit that life is just a flux of masks and roles, if I am understanding you correctly. What I am trying to say is that what you perceive as a constant flux of masks and roles can also be experienced as a stream of being. This sounds all enlightened and mystical, but I don't really think it is. If you let go of the whole false self/true self dichotomy by realizing it is itself emptiness rather than emptiness being the absence of the dichotomy, I think you'll see what I'm trying to say.

The old view of atomic structure was that there was atomic particles--protons, neutron, electrons, etc.--and then empty space. But what has developed is the understanding that the solid particle and empty space dichotomy doesn't really hold water. Are particles little solid objects traveling through empty space? Empty space is itself constantly producing and reabsorbing "particles." So is empty space empty? They can't find any true substance to these particles other than how they interact with other particles. We interact with each other, but is the interaction solid and self-like (masks and roles) or empty and non self (a stream of being)?

Just thoughts for your perusal.


Last edited by Henry on Sat May 12, 2012 10:06 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 12, 2012 10:03 am

Isan wrote:
Perhaps instead of a true self, we have a true intention.
Eureka
Back to top Go down
jack



Posts : 165
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Tue May 15, 2012 12:01 am

Henry,

In reply, a couple of observations.

Quote :
But my question is--is it just a flux of masks and roles? Isn't that
just a judgment? And kind of a harsh one? Why would being in the world
be a mask or a role? Why wouldn't it be just being?

I don't see the harshness of the judgment. A role takes some form, and then fades into something something else when circumstances change. Water flowing around rocks has the froth of the interaction. Water in bottles, as long as it's fluid, takes the shape of the bottles. When cold it becomes rigid. As vapor, it's often invisibly dispersed. What is the true role and form of the water? The flux of states is ever effortlessly adapting and changing. I suppose there's a conclusion there, but it doesn't seem a particularly harsh one.
.
Quote :
We interact with each other, but is the interaction solid and self-like
(masks and roles) or empty and non self (a stream of being)?

Forma don't have to be rigid or solid, though it's possible and interesting sometimes to experience the world through rigidity for a while, and then to let the forms dissolve away. "The incredible lightness of being" (I think the phrase comes from Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged) seems to me to be an apt description of the freedom possible. A few times in my life, I've come close to that, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with who I thought I was or wasn't at the time.

Isan wrote

Quote :
So, perhaps instead of a true self, we have a true intention
.

Interesting thought. It brought to mind the phrase "unbending intent" that Carlos Castaneda ascribed to his idealized Warrior.
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Tue May 15, 2012 8:32 pm

Jack,

At this point we may be stuck in semantics, but let me check to make sure.

This thread began about masks. Masks, by definition, are a disguise. They are put on so that what people see of us is not who we truly are. At minimum masks have the connotation that what we are presenting to the world is contrived. This is largely what I’ve been referring to in my posts on this thread. Somewhere along the road, “roles” were thrown in with masks. The definition of roles is a step down from the original intent of this thread which was masks. The word roles has a wider range of meanings. Roles can be an actor playing a role that has nothing to do with who he actually is. Roles can also be something closer to who a person is, but something in which the person doesn’t quite fit and feels awkward about. These definitions are closest to the word mask. Then there is role as a function or purpose. That is simply something we do. We have many roles in life: husband, therapist, etc. Perhaps in this definition, the word role is devoid of any sense whatsoever of being a mask. So if your position on roles is from the function definition, I think it’s all about semantics at this point.

Writing about this I realize that I never use the word roles for myself. I’ve never consciously decided not to, but have realized just now that I don’t. I think this is because for me the word role just has the feel of being at minimum slightly removed from who we are: a role; not really quite me. But that may just be my own idiosyncratic view. So if our differences are semantic, I guess we’ll just have to agree to agree.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Tue May 15, 2012 9:56 pm

Jc Baran once wrote about what I thought was a Tibetan version of the scripture of great wisdom, which I liked.

It started with..

The everyday practise of dzogchen is simply to develop carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit. We should realize openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.

I guess I don't think any masks fool anyone completely. That despite whatever intent that the mask wearer has, the mask's inherent message includes a transmission of the underlying deception.

From my zafu's sight line, the creation of masks are just a transformation of lifes pain into suffering.

Much of this OBCC thread has been about the justification for mask building & wearing. It wasn't very long ago that most of the OBCC posts were slamming Shasta personnel for doing exactly the same thing.

Mostly I wonder what it all might have looked like if masklessness had truly been the practise.

Cheers all

H


Last edited by Howard on Tue May 15, 2012 11:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Tue May 15, 2012 10:41 pm

Howard wrote:


I guess I don't think any masks fool anyone completely. That despite whatever intent that the mask wearer has, the mask's inherent message includes a transmission of the underlying deception.

Apparently you have not seen the latest Mission Impossible movies...
Back to top Go down
jack



Posts : 165
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Wed May 16, 2012 1:23 pm

Howard,

Quote :
I guess I don't think any masks fool anyone completely. That despite
whatever intent that the mask wearer has, the mask's inherent message
includes a transmission of the underlying deception.

I don't think masks are as simple as only being used to deceive. A real llfe example ...

I've been a member of a pastoral care team at a local church during the past year. I got an urgent email from a chaplain at a VA hospital. When I called Father F., a Catholic, he told me that :"one of my kind" had been insistent on finding a Buddhist of some sort to talk with. I agreed to visit,vand Father F. sighed a thanks of relief.

I found Clarence in the palliative care section of hospital, old, in very obvious discomfort, with an indeterminate future. His speech was labored, slow and difficult to understand. I spoke with him a few minutes, and then started to leave. He stretched out his bony arm, and said, "Before you go, will you pray for me?"

I find Buddhist prayer even more oxymoronic than Christian prayer. I give little or no credence to the pantheon of Mahayana deities or semi-dieties. I find the OBC Avalokiteshvara scripture to be deceptive, pandering, and false to Buddhist teaching. So my feeling about praying is pretty negative, and my thoughts about it are similar. (Feelings and thoughts do not always agree though -- at least in my life.)

So there's this strong inner objection. But it seemed appropriate in the bigger scheme of things to be a compassionate fellow human being than to indulge my objections at his expense. I took his hand, held it, and started something like, "Whatever merit I have I share with .... for his well-being, peace of mind, his family's ... -probably less than a minute, though it seemed longer to me. When I finished, he squeezed my hands with watery eyes as he mouthed "Thank you" and rolled over on his back to try to rest. Masking? Yes. Deception? I'm not so sure about that at all -- just deciding which aspect of my personality to be true to -- which role to play.

The story illustrates a common predicament for me. There are often conflicts of feeling and mind, and in the end I attempt to choose a behavior that is wholesome even it means I sometimes mask the feelings and thoughts in my mind which may not be wholesome at all. The freedom to choose the role seems freedom enough.

As I stated earlier, the biggest difficulty I've had is self-deception -- like telling myself I'm not angry when I actually feel anger, or greed, or whatever. That blinds me to my own choices, and when I am blind, those things find a way past me to give themselves expression in ways that have sometimes surprised me. Not masking those feelings to myself has been critically important, whether or not I choose to give behavioral expression to them. Sometimes the anger is really irrational and primitive. Is it really wholesome to be "maskless" about it by pounding someone, when even I know it's not warranted? That seems irresponsible craziness in an attempt to holy about not masking anything.

A friend of mine believes she has conquered anger to the point it no longer arises; in her words, even the root is gone. In a recent conversation with her, she recounted an encounter with a vendor in which the vender had insulted her intelligence, and in her own words, she put down the phone physically shaking because she was so "disgusted" She wasn't angry, though. She would have lost her achievement of being anger free, if she'd admitted that. Her self-masking blinds her, and sets her up for problems.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Wed May 16, 2012 5:38 pm

Hey Jack

Thanks for your clearly well thought out responses on masks.


Even if a mask is not worn to deceive, it often hides a greater truth.

We all move through swirling vortex's of feeling & thought. I think meditation is only as effective as the priority we give it in our life. I don't think Meditation is about choosing wholesome impulses over un wholesome ones. It's about not feeding our ego with either. When sitting in meditation, if anger arises you can experience it's full intensity without punching out your fellow seat mates because you are not actively identifying with that anger. Lust does not end up with an orgy on the tan. An emotion or thought is able to rage on it's own without us needing to act out with it. This is not mask making or wearing. This is just you demonstrating how un necessary mask building and wearing is through your own lived meditation.

When faced with someones request for help in palliative care, did you put on the presentation mask of a sing song merit transfer or were you being as present as you could be while holding his hand. Were you a duplicitous song of merit or were you your practise. We are free to identify with our thought & feelings or we can let them be the satellite phenomena that our meditation demonstrates them to be. The arising of such phenomena only dominates through the exclusion of our other sense gate input. Attempting to practise masklessness does not mean hiding what arises. It just means fully including all other arising phenomena, so that everything manifests it's real significance in proportion to a much wider picture.

No denial, suppression, conquering, striving, goals or even introspection is necessary.

It's probably naive of me but I think a mask just points out what one values more highly than the meditation.

Cheers

H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Kozan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 672
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 68
Location : Sonoma County CA

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Wed May 16, 2012 6:55 pm

Howard wrote:

Even if a mask is not worn to deceive, it often hides a greater truth.

This entire thread is such an interesting discussion. On one hand, much of it is about the issue of the separate self. And yet, it frames what are often separate self issues in a way that does not first posit the existence of a separate self, allowing the discussion to go far beyond the self.

Forinstance, another level of masking is that coming into existence, as a human being, might itself be described as a process of putting on a mask! And that death is, correspondingly, the process by which this particular mask dissolves.

I would say that meditation practice is, therefore, the process of uncovering the original mask-wearer.
Back to top Go down
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 74
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Wed May 16, 2012 7:09 pm

Howard wrote:
Quote :
Even if a mask is not worn to deceive, it often hides a greater truth.

Surely it must be true that our masks are made out of the stuff of ourselves, if only the stuff of our imagination. A mask can therefore never be greater than the completeness of our true self, only lesser. This is one of the problems, masks lessen us, whilst we try to hide ourselves behind them. They become the very stuff of delusion when we start to believe in them and lock ourselves away, even from ourselves!
Back to top Go down
jack



Posts : 165
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 17, 2012 1:50 pm

Howard,

Quote :
When faced with someones request for help in palliative care, did you
put on the presentation mask of a sing song merit transfer or were you
being as present as you could be while holding his hand. Were you a
duplicitous song of merit or were you your practise.

I doubt I did singy or songy, but I don't know how my voice was, nor do I much care. I hoped it conveyed a heart true sympathy for his predicament, and a heart true wish for his peace of mind in that predicament and the same for his estranged Thai family he was concerned about. My intent was to express compassion I felt in a form that he would understand, rather than insisting that he try to grasp my ideology so I could be pristine pure. Whatever I said seemed to convey that to him; that is all that mattered to me.

An acquaintance of mine related a hospice story where she found one of her late-stage Alzheimer's patients waking to a rainy day in an utter panic about forgetting to make her daughter Maggie wear boots to school in such bad weather. Her new shoes would be ruined, and couldn't be replaced. She could catch a cold, and she was not that well to begin with. The patient could not be placated, though I suppose she could have been drugged into a stupor.

The acquaintance stepped from the room for a few minutes and then returned to tell the lady that she had found Maggie's boots and taken them to school for her. The patient beamed a smile of relief and went back to sleep. (Maggie was the memory of her daughter many decades past.)

Perhaps there is an austere Buddhist nun who will harshly rap this person's knuckles with threats of bad karma for stepping into this lady's delusional world to bring her peace rather than drugging her or chastising the patient for not being able to step into hers.

There are only five great Buddhist teachings that I've found to be helpful. They are: 1) impermanence (annica), 2) cause and effect aka dependent origination (pratityasamutpada), 3) non-sefl (anatman), 4 emptiness (sunyata), and 5) lovingkindness (metta). Of these, metta is the greatest. Ironically, Buddhists seem just as likely as Christians to drop metta in favor of all sorts of harsh doctrinal purity in pursuit of the others -- a sad, but true commentary on human nature as a whole.

If I err, I choose to err on the side of metta rather than doctrinal purity.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 17, 2012 6:43 pm

Hello Jack.

Your take on my last post are worlds apart from mine.

No one suggested you should impose your ideology on anyone else. (Could you have chosen a more loaded word than ideology, oh yes ..doctrinal purity?).

You decided that he wouldn't understand your views and so you just presented them in the form more familiar to him. You calling that a mask was your business but I thought you sounded pretty maskless at that moment. As for "you remaining pristine pure",(another loaded concept), I thought what you were showing the ailing man was that everyone already is.

That's also in those 5 teachings.

I don't know who that austere boogy buddhist nun was but she sounded like someone in serious need of some of that Metta. Oh yeah, another definition of irony that we probably both share is watching folks being selective with Metta's application.

H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Thu May 17, 2012 10:59 pm

What jumps out at me from this thread is the idea of what is controllable or volitional for any of us, re: masks, and what is not within our ability to affect. I don't have the quickness or self-awareness to feel a mask arising when it happens - the moment doesn't allow for it. I muddle through. I tip my hat to those who can monitor their behaviour or mindset and issue a course correction mid-flight. I don't think I'm able to, nor do I want to try; what is happening is not about me or how I practice or defending a doctrine.

Jack, your description of sitting with the older Thai gentleman, and saying a prayer, makes me hope I will find someone to do this for me in time. My family isn't buddhist, my closest friends aren't, I'm a bit isolated that way and I'm not sure anyone will know what if anything to do for me when I'm on the way out. If I still feel then, as I do now, that I would like to receive some modicum of comfort from another person familiar with Buddhism, I hope it can happen. My lawyer friends say to write this stuff down and I'm sure they're right -
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 18, 2012 12:51 pm

Jack,

In any situation, our brains come up with a variety of options, some selfless, some selfish, some kind and loving, some very cruel. With each of these options our brains come up with, we may experience associated feelings. In the end, we a drawn to a path forward that manifests as actions. In the case you described above, that was to show kindness to the person in the form that was most understandable and beneficial to him under the circumstances. This is right action.

Despite going down this path, the mind and feelings may (as often happens with myself) or may not continue to present options (some negative,some positive, some neutral) and their associated feelings. This is where meditation comes in. Without meditation, one can perceive these options as "one's self" and the right action being acted upon as a role or mask; or sometimes one might feel guilty for having negative thoughts and feelings. With meditation, the other options and associated feelings that may arise can be perceived not as one's self, but just as thoughts and feelings that arise and pass. In this way, what we do in the moment, how we present in the moment, is not a mask or role, it is just how we manifest at that moment.

I hope this helps people understand why I have been writing posts that suggests that the ubiquitousness of masks and roles may be less ubiquitous than it appears when regarded from a different perspective.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 18, 2012 1:48 pm

Hey lise

Masks as stories.

Form, sensation, thought, activity and consciousness is one common list of Buddhist mask making materials. It's useful for mask searching because each category opens up a different possible unseen view of the mask but I like "a story" for what the more accurate composite nature of a mask is and what it's saying.

Sometimes I think meditation is just the observing of the stories I make about my life? Dropping out of the participation of the maintenance of a story, is a mid flight course correction.
Everyone eventually does that whether they "meditate" or not.

Sometimes I think that meditation is just our opening up to a wider existence than the stories & the story teller allows for.
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Fri May 18, 2012 4:42 pm

[off-topic reply alert]

Howard - I would like to respond but possibly I'm out of brain cells by a Friday afternoon -- actually I have the hardest time understanding many of your posts. Others get them so I am sure it's me.

You mention meditation often and I think this must be a primary point of reference from which you relate to questions and comments posed. However, it's not an anchor concept or practise for me so I never know what to say back, when people talk about it

Maybe tomorrow I'll have something more intelligent to tap into the keyboard .. .
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    Sat May 19, 2012 7:36 pm

Lise, Thanks for the heads up.

I never would have addressed a posting like this to you had I known that your Shasta & Tibetan leanings did not include an active meditation/contemplative practise. Of course it wouldn't make much sense. I'm not even sure that the beginning and ending my posting could be re written it in a way that was understandable outside of a meditation practise.

I guess with all your OBCC set up, your path is one of service to others.

Anyway, pardon my blundering bad.... again.

H
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Renamed thread: Using masques    

Back to top Go down
 
Renamed thread: Using masques
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next
 Similar topics
-
» The Italian Thread
» The Tarot Collectors Thread
» Most viewed thread to date
» The crafters topic- post your handiwork here! ( non grazing thread!!)
» The Korean language thread.

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
OBC Connect :: OBC Connect :: In Theory and Practice-
Jump to: