1/13~ A few notes to, um, "self," on an ongoing interest.

My current sense is that the Buddhist attention to the core problematic processes of "ignorance" and "desire" goes to something very deep ... and also very simple and very natural.
2~ The Sanskrit for "ignorance" is *avidyā.* Like in English sometimes, the "a-" is a negative (as w/ our word "atypical," which of course means "not typical"). And the "vid" is related to the English words *vision* and *video.*

*Avidyā,* ignorance, literally means "not seeing."
3~ The Sanskrit here for "desire" — also often translated as "craving" — is *trsnā* (which word in Buddhist Pāli is *tanhā*). It literally means "thirst," and in fact our word "thirst" is etymologically related to it.
4~ A not uncommon, and not altogether inappropriate, interpretation of Buddhist teachings about ignorance and desire is that we should try to be attentive (and not blithely ignorant), and that we should try to minimize our cravings and our habitually addictive inclinations.
5~ But at a subtler, and potentially more esoteric-seeming, but ultimately just very natural & psychologically matter-of-fact level, our very sense of being a "self" that stands as it were apart from and maybe above nature and perhaps our bodies—is created from trsnā and avidyā.
6~ I sometimes meditate in my sleep. That reminds me that the sleep states, and most meditative states, and the typical waking state — along with its attendant waking egoic sense of "this is me"— all come from somewhere. Those are all created. They're all "booted up" occurrences.
7~ So sometimes in really really quiet meditative states, as we then get less quiet, the distinct sense of "me and mine" returns. Those aren't wrong so much as they're just not the beginning of the story. The waking sense of "me and mind" is, as it were, an "added value."
8~ And there are ways that that is a kind of "of course" natural understanding. Go to sleep, and the sense of "here I am" & "this is me" gets effectively turned off. Wake up, and it gets turned back on. That sense is something generated. It's dependent on things. It's contingent.
9~ And the fact that we fail to appreciate that and don't see that is, well, *not seeing.* It's avidyā. It's ignorance. It's a kind of delusion.
10~ And the fact we nonetheless have a kind of "proprietary investment"* in our sense of self as "us" & "ours" comes of a type of want, a felt need, a sensed advantage. It's trsnā.

*"proprietary" is from *pro privo,* "for one's own"; "investment" is from "to be clothed in."
11~ I don't feel I've depicted what I'm gesturing towards here especially well. But two points:

No longer "not seeing" that the sense of the egoic "me-presence" is a created sense can actually make it all the more *naturally wondrous.*
12~ And I'm rather sure I still don't fully understand this, and still don't fully understand what, for instance, Buddhist "ignorance" and "desire" really are. But it's so easy, bc it's important, to presume an accomplished understanding. To presume that we do know.
13/13~ But that motivated presumption that we know is itself a manifestation and example of ignorance and desire.

I'm reminded here that Socrates' eminent wisdom rested in his knowing that he didn't know things.

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More from @bodhidave3

11 Jun
0/ 30-something

Nice long thread on nice, long-cultivated experiencings in meditation, with reflections on Rob Burbea's "energy body" and the perceptual space of the Old School Buddhist jhāna absorptions.
1/I’m preparing a presentation on the Buddhist jhānas. The jhānas are a very distinctive series of meditative absorption states. The style I’ve practiced involves experiencing some synesthesia.

And I’ve been listening to audio of some talks Rob Burbea gave for a jhānas retreat.
2/ Burbea makes references to “the energy body,” and I was unsure what that was. Doing some reading, and getting some helpful comments from several persons here on twitter today, I have a sense for that now, and wanted to create a thread in part related to it.
Read 38 tweets
29 Apr

Brief thread of comments regarding unific, non-dual contemplative experience, and some quick notes about traditional teaching "maps" for it.
2) I don't have a full answer, but sense it can be both. And where "emptiness and form" are characteristically Buddhist terms, you can get non-dual experiences depicted in other traditions, too. Like this in The Book of Privy Counseling, by the author of The Cloud of Unknowing:
3) I don't know Wilber well, but it's apparent he likes making maps of different stages & styles of contemplative practice and experience. The distinction you mention here is one the Mahayana Buddhists draw, differentiating their presentation from earlier "Old School" Buddhists'.
Read 8 tweets
29 Apr
1/4* I got my heart broken last year. And sometimes her name enters my mind. As a distinctive little thought. Not much more than the name. It has a kind of perseverative quality. And tonight when it occurred in my meditation the sense was

𝑚𝑦 𝑏𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑛 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑏𝑟𝑢𝑖𝑠𝑒
2* And, like a bruise, my feeling is there’s not much to be done with it. Just let it be. Don’t poke at it. Give it time.

There was also a moment in my meditation when I wondered, “Are all my thoughts 'bruises'?”
3* There are different kinds of thoughts and thinking. Some are just random bits of nothing much. And a lot of them are a kind of trying to figure things out. And the sense I had was not so much those are “bruises,” but there is a component in them of trying to help me out.
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
1/5# Scholars are unsure of the meaning of Socrates' last words (as conveyed by Plato): “We owe Asclepius a rooster. See that you buy one, and don’t forget.” Asclepius was the god of medicine (and a new-ish addition to the accepted Athenian canon of recognized gods).
2# But the Greek word for "medicine" — pharmakon — could also mean "poison," and the condemned Socrates had just drunk hemlock (a portion of which he'd previously asked the guard if he could pour out as a libation gift to the gods).
3# Some scholars speculate that Socrates, in dying, is thankful for being cured of the "disease" of having a body. There's maybe, too, an association with him being a "scapegoat" for the city (another, older, meaning for *pharmakon*).
Read 5 tweets
5 Mar

#ShipOfTheseus is trending, prompted by the reference to it in the finale episode of #WandaVision.

I discuss the Ship of Theseus paradox in the book I'm writing on meditation, addressed to my young adult daughter.

It's fun. Image
2' Image
3' Image
Read 7 tweets
17 Feb
When I was a younger man (on Monday) I used to joke about living like a pioneer here in freezing Texas. Today I'm placing buckets beneath spots where the broken pipes are leaking outside to collect water for the toilet. 🪣👨‍🌾
meanwhile... Image
huh ... I happened to have just met a plumber, going to service a building across the street ... he reports he's being instructed by the city to turn off the water to various locales as an effort to try and preserve pressure for others.
Read 4 tweets

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