Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
auto
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by auto » Fri May 03, 2019 3:35 pm

PeterC86 wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:28 pm
auto wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:05 pm

Ok as a i understand for you there is noone feeling sensations.
Indeed, but this doesn't mean I do not identify and define things. In order to live and take care of his survival (like in a big city as I do), one has to identify and define things. It is only when we cling to them that the self takes a more permanent form. As long as one sees that there is no meaning beyond the meaning we give to these things, there is nothing to cling to, besides one's desire for meaning. This desire is the cause of these mental fabrications.

So helpful for our survival in one hand, but also the cause of suffering in the other hand. In this I see the importance of the middle way.

With insight into dependent arising, one realizes there is no meaning to give, as the essence of the things identified and defined appear to be empty. But this doesn't mean they are not there. These things are our reality and our perception of it, so we still have to deal with them.
thanks to the things you are attached to you are feeling feelings and therefore can recognize the self awareness, and become aware of the knowledge that you are aware..and so on

point is if you don't notice the self when feeling feelings then there you proclaim wrongly that there is no self feeling hence the net of views(DN 1). There are many views, some claim cessation of self on sensual world, some claim it on 1st jhana etc..and you will reborn accordingly to these views held.

quote:
https://suttacentral.net/dn1/en/sujato
There are some ascetics and brahmins who have this doctrine and view: : ‘When this self amuses itself, supplied and provided with the five kinds of sensual stimulation, that’s how this self attains ultimate extinguishment in the present life.’That is how some assert the extinguishment of an existing being in the present life.
it is true, but its because they don't see the self, they hold onto certain views and reborn accordingly.

in short, you may claim and believe there is no self, but still reborn and reborn accordingly to the view you held.

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Fri May 03, 2019 6:56 pm

You do not understand my explanation. I mean there is no seperate entity outside of spacetime in form of a self. The self is just a chain of cause and effect. Which is empty in itself. So thoughts and feelings are still there, but they are empty of an essence.

I am not going to reply to these kind of posts from you anymore. You just ignore everything I write and do the opposite, which is fine, but I am not going to spend more time on this. Instead of reading my writings to come to an understanding, you try to keep comparing my posts to the sutta's to try and establish my attainment. Which, again, you cannot, and it will hinder you from progressing on the path. One has to focus on learning oneself instead of trying to figure out someone else.

auto
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by auto » Sat May 04, 2019 2:01 pm

PeterC86 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 6:56 pm
You do not understand my explanation. I mean there is no seperate entity outside of spacetime in form of a self. The self is just a chain of cause and effect. Which is empty in itself. So thoughts and feelings are still there, but they are empty of an essence.

I am not going to reply to these kind of posts from you anymore. You just ignore everything I write and do the opposite, which is fine, but I am not going to spend more time on this. Instead of reading my writings to come to an understanding, you try to keep comparing my posts to the sutta's to try and establish my attainment. Which, again, you cannot, and it will hinder you from progressing on the path. One has to focus on learning oneself instead of trying to figure out someone else.
do you expect me to understand what you mean by "there is no separate entity outside of spacetime in form of a self"?

if you say self is just a chain of cause and effect, i don't agree with that. It is thanks to thinking about self i can induce awareness where i can know my self.

the cause and the effect is not one and the same thing. The cause is a conditioner what only works if there is clinging. The condition is not my self, the clinging i do is feeding, it is to be done so long till consciousness descends/dawns which is a result or an effect. That consciousness/awareness has self what can be known as tangible sense and then can continue cultivate it what is equivalent to continued existence in DO chain and its done so long till
you reach the place where the grain of consciousness where descended at first steps but now you are there with a stage or state personally, there you will rise the cavity and look into it and everything fades, that doesn't mean extinction, it mean you start gestate in a more personal level now..there is more..

As of you, you throw the self away on superficial levels, like you yourself say that self is mere fabrication an aide to buy things on a grocery shop.

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Sat May 04, 2019 3:25 pm

auto wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:01 pm

do you expect me to understand what you mean by "there is no separate entity outside of spacetime in form of a self"?
I mean it does not exist on itself.
if you say self is just a chain of cause and effect, i don't agree with that. It is thanks to thinking about self i can induce awareness where i can know my self.
That is the opposite of what Buddhism points to. Try not thinking; is there still awareness then?
the cause and the effect is not one and the same thing.
It is, the cause is the effect. That is the DO, they cannot exist without each other. Therefore their essence is empty.
The cause is a conditioner what only works if there is clinging. The condition is not my self, the clinging i do is feeding, it is to be done so long till consciousness descends/dawns which is a result or an effect. That consciousness/awareness has self what can be known as tangible sense and then can continue cultivate it what is equivalent to continued existence in DO chain and its done so long till
you reach the place where the grain of consciousness where descended at first steps but now you are there with a stage or state personally, there you will rise the cavity and look into it and everything fades, that doesn't mean extinction, it mean you start gestate in a more personal level now..there is more..
And from what place do you see this tangible sense? From what place you know all this? You reached Nirvana?

Maybe you want to readhttps://www.foundationsofhumanlife.info/9-the-body/
As of you, you throw the self away on superficial levels, like you yourself say that self is mere fabrication an aide to buy things on a grocery shop.
I just say that it is empty of an essence. We still need food to survive.

This will be my last reaction to your posts, until you have read my writings. I am not going to keep referring to the texts, and that is all I am doing here. I hope you can live with that. All the best to you!

auto
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by auto » Sat May 04, 2019 6:03 pm

PeterC86 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:25 pm
That is the opposite of what Buddhism points to. Try not thinking; is there still awareness then?
i said 'thanks to' that would imply that the awareness rises due some cause.
PeterC86 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:25 pm
It is, the cause is the effect. That is the DO, they cannot exist without each other. Therefore their essence is empty.
the idea in your writings doesn't make sense, that a flower need environment to be called a flower, you think something akin to in order to have green color you need blue and yellow hence green is without essence, right? and when you put that into perspective then everything is empty. Do you call that realization a nirvana?
PeterC86 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:25 pm
And from what place do you see this tangible sense? From what place you know all this? You reached Nirvana?
awareness is tangible, get some confidence in dimensions you can't yet sense.

the sense of self is tangible, sense-able, you can even concentrate on it.. And not only that, you also can feel the effect in heart sometimes when you come aware hence there is evidence that it affects body.

Nirvana is cessation and what is so special about it? see the net of views, some claim it on sensual realm that the atta ceases and think it is the ultimate extinguishment. I have claimed many times nirvana..
PeterC86 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:25 pm
until you have read my writings
i have read your writings, i have glanced it over in the past.

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Sun May 05, 2019 2:31 pm

auto wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:03 pm

i said 'thanks to' that would imply that the awareness rises due some cause.
Yeah

the idea in your writings doesn't make sense, that a flower need environment to be called a flower, you think something akin to in order to have green color you need blue and yellow hence green is without essence, right? and when you put that into perspective then everything is empty. Do you call that realization a nirvana?
I wrote that the flower needs an environment to even exist. So it is not only about calling or defining, but also about distinguishing. A snippet from chapter 14, which you might have missed because you glanced over it;
Every thing that is distinguished through our six senses has been formed. So form does not limit itself to thoughts; when a flower is seen, it is formed, even without thoughts.
This realization is not Nirvana, its a stepping stone. But indeed, everything is of DO, and therefore empty. If fully realized, leads one to nothingness/non-existence/dissolving/Nirvana/no-space. To fully realize, one needs to get full insight into the DO of form, and full insight into the DO of the formless.
awareness is tangible, get some confidence in dimensions you can't yet sense.
Please don't assume things. Of course awareness is tangible, as the perception is awareness. But it does not exist on itself, so you can not look at it, or think about it from some point.
the sense of self is tangible, sense-able, you can even concentrate on it.. And not only that, you also can feel the effect in heart sometimes when you come aware hence there is evidence that it affects body.
if there is something which one distinguishes or identifies with, this is not Nirvana or nothingness.
Nirvana is cessation and what is so special about it? see the net of views, some claim it on sensual realm that the atta ceases and think it is the ultimate extinguishment. I have claimed many times nirvana..
Well, one does not exist anymore as an entity inside or outside of space-time. One realizes one was just a mental fabrication, an attempt to identify with something. Through this realization, one releases himself of the cycle of rebirth and from the suffering which comes from this. One realizes one cannot die, as one was never born. Basically making one immortal. Congratulations!

auto
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by auto » Sun May 05, 2019 6:40 pm

PeterC86 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 2:31 pm
auto wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:03 pm

i said 'thanks to' that would imply that the awareness rises due some cause.
Yeah

the idea in your writings doesn't make sense, that a flower need environment to be called a flower, you think something akin to in order to have green color you need blue and yellow hence green is without essence, right? and when you put that into perspective then everything is empty. Do you call that realization a nirvana?
I wrote that the flower needs an environment to even exist. So it is not only about calling or defining, but also about distinguishing. A snippet from chapter 14, which you might have missed because you glanced over it;
Every thing that is distinguished through our six senses has been formed. So form does not limit itself to thoughts; when a flower is seen, it is formed, even without thoughts.
This realization is not Nirvana, its a stepping stone. But indeed, everything is of DO, and therefore empty. If fully realized, leads one to nothingness/non-existence/dissolving/Nirvana/no-space. To fully realize, one needs to get full insight into the DO of form, and full insight into the DO of the formless.
What you saying looks fine on paper. In reality things are more technical. For an example the eyes, there are two of them and you have to make them single to free up the gaze, it takes a long time to practice to open that cavity. When that cavity opens then it causes(may) migraine symptoms etc. and once it opened somewhat you can at will access that way of seeing it works the same as with the awareness when you access it you know you didn't even look clearly it is same difference of being aware or not.

the importance to realize awareness is to open a pathway to heart.
PeterC86 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 2:31 pm
Please don't assume things. Of course awareness is tangible, as the perception is awareness. But it does not exist on itself, so you can not look at it, or think about it from some point.
When being aware you need cultivate and dislodge the unclarity from the center of the brain and to do that you need energy substance what gathers just by being aware and enforcing the tangible sense of that awareness.. there are more steps and cavities what open before you get to the main cavity in brain.

why i talk this is to give context on what depth the practice is, it involves your daily activities hence you need fulfill some requirement by working, doing job with using your body hence being attached to life, you can claim of being free of doing work to get pass psychic point after you have gone beyond the need of physical body made actions.
PeterC86 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 2:31 pm
Well, one does not exist anymore as an entity inside or outside of space-time. One realizes it was all just a mental fabrication, an attempt to identify with something. Through this realization, one releases himself of the cycle of rebirth and from the suffering which comes from this. One realizes one cannot die, as one was never born. Basically making one immortal. Congratulations!
i think you are not free, you need physical body if want to evolve to higher realms. The path is way more supernatural.

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am

I did some short research into Theravada after the discourse here, which brought me back to the Jhana's. Which I already explored on the way to liberating insight. But something interesting happened;

After residing in this place of nothingness for a couple of months, after getting the final insight into 'no coming, no going' (liberation from Samsara), I began to notice being thrown back and forth between perceiving emptiness of form; nothing is formed, and emptiness of the formless; nothing is formless.

Upon reading about Theravada, I came across the Jhana's again and realized I was in a state which is described in the seventh Jhana; nothingness. Although already having the liberating insight (no coming, no going). I read about the eight Jhana again and soon realized this state again, but from a different perspective; that of already being liberated. This time the state is always present, as with the previous state of nothingness. So not attained only in sitting or lying meditation as I experienced before liberation.

After some searching I found a rather detailed explanations about the Jhana's here (not sutta); http://anaditeaching.com/why-buddha-was ... hth-jhana/

For going from the seventh to the eight Jhana from a point of liberation: In the seventh Jhana one realizes nothing is formed and nothing is formless. I explained how to come to this seventh Jhana, and liberating insight, in the writings. One realizes nothing is really perceived, as form is empty, but this doesn't mean that there is no perception. So, there is this state where one is conscious that nothing is formed (nothing is really perceived) and at the same time there is the realization that nothing is also formless, meaning; that which is not perceived is also nothing. That is the seventh Jhana.

After exploring this state or dimension for some time, one comes to the point where one becomes aware of being thrown back and forth between perceiving emptiness of form; nothing is formed, and emptiness of the formless; nothing is formless. Basically trying to identify with non-perception. One enters the next Jhana (stage of concentration) by becoming conscious of the space between nothing is perceived (nothing is formed) and nothing is not perceived (nothing is formless). Basically residing in between neither perception nor non-perception. One attains this concentration by becoming conscious that through realizing the emptiness of form, one left perception behind (nothing is formed). One then enters the state of non-perception (nothing is formless), which is the base for nothingness. This non-perception however is still perceived from some point, that is the state of neither perception nor non-perception.

So, like also described in the link above; one does not leave the previous state (nothingness) behind, like in the previous Jhana's. In the eight Jhana one still dwells in nothingness, but before going into the eight Jhana there is a distinction between 'nothing is perceived' and 'nothing is not perceived'. One realizes that 'nothing' is perceived and therefore one tries to identify with non-perception, not realizing that trying to identify with non-perception comes from a point of perception. Because of this distinction, the mind is not completely still. In the eight Jhana this distinction is solved by realizing the point from which one perceives this non-perception. Through this realization the mind becomes completely still.

I am planning to add the above to the writings.

Without refering to the sutta's, I read about the supramundane Jhanas. Although I plan to do some more research, from what I have gathered they seem to be a re-experience of the Jhana's from a liberated state? Maybe someone can shed a light on this? It seems to be what I experienced.

I also read about there being two types of Arhats, although I lost the source; one seems to have achieved liberation only through insight and the other seems to have achieved liberation through meditation practice through which insight is attained. The first having liberation on one front (wisdom, paññā-vimutta) and the latter having liberation on two fronts (ubhato-bhāga-vimutta). In that case, I dont know in what category I fall, but I am planning to do some more research on this later.
Last edited by PeterC86 on Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:56 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by DooDoot » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:17 pm

PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
I already explored on the way to liberating insight.
Sure. Just read a word like "jhana" somewhere and then impute you mastered it.
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
I began to notice being thrown back and forth between perceiving emptiness of form; nothing is formed, and emptiness of the formless; nothing is formless.
The word "emptiness" ("sunnata") means "the state of empty of self". It doesn't meaning nothingness.
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
Upon reading about Theravada
Do you mean upon reading some words and having very fertile imaginings about those words... like the other Jhana Masters here ??? :shrug:
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
I came across the Jhana's again
The word "jhana".
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
and realized I was in a state which is described in the seventh Jhana; nothingness.
Imagining this?
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
I read about the eight Jhana again and soon realized this state again, but from a different perspective; that of already being liberated. This time the state is always present, as with the previous state of nothingness. So not attained only in sitting or lying meditation as I experienced before liberation.
Sure; whatever is imagined.
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
After some searching I found a rather detailed explanations about the Jhana's here (not sutta); http://anaditeaching.com/why-buddha-was ... hth-jhana/
The link refers to "True Self", "Grace" & "Divine intervention" plus doesn't seem to understand why jhana alone is not liberation.
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
In the seventh Jhana one realizes nothing is formed and nothing is formless.
The suttas merely say of this: 'There is nothing'
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
I explained how to come to this seventh Jhana and liberating insight in the writings. One realizes nothing is really perceived as form is empty, but this doesn't mean that there is no perception. So, there is this state where one is conscious that nothing is formed (nothing is really perceived) and at the same time there is the realization that nothing is also formless, meaning; that which is not perceived is also nothing. That is the seventh Jhana.
Sounds like a very complicated 7th jhana; a lot more complicated than the simple: 'There is nothing' of the suttas.
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
One enters the next Jhana (stage of concentration) by becoming conscious of the space between nothing is perceived (nothing is formed) and nothing is not perceived (nothing is formless).
It seems, according to the suttas, the mind cannot be consciousness of non-perception.
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
Without refering to the sutta's, I read about the supramundane Jhanas. Although I plan to do some more research, from what I have gathered they seem to be a re-experience of the Jhana's from a liberated state? Maybe someone can shed a light on this? It seems to be what I experienced.
"Supramundane" is "lokuttara", which means "above the world", i.e., without self and without dukkha. For example, the suttas say about supramundane jhana:
But it didn’t occur...: ‘I am entering the first absorption’ or ‘I have entered the first absorption’ or ‘I am emerging from the first absorption’.

https://suttacentral.net/sn28.1/en/sujato
:alien:
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:02 am
I also read about there being two types of Arhats, although I lost the source; one seems to have achieved liberation only through insight and the other seems to have achieved liberation through meditation practice through which insight is attained. The first having liberation on one front (wisdom, paññā-vimutta) and the latter having liberation on two fronts (ubhato-bhāga-vimutta). In that case, I dont know in what category I fall, but I am planning to do some more research on this later.
Sure. After doing research, I imagine the mind unable to dissolve 'self' will continue to "identify with" whatever it reads. :roll:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:42 pm

@Doodoot; thank you for your message.

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:39 am

After some time contemplating and doing research, the process becomes more clearly;

To summarize my second-last post (to make it easier to understand) on how to get to the eight Jhana from a point of liberation;
Form is empty, therefore no-thing is really perceived. Because you realize that no-thing is really perceived, your attention shifts towards the formless (that what is non-perceived). But because the formless is also empty or nothing, non-perception is not realized. Because of this, one is thrown back and forth between neither perception nor non-perception, until one realizes that this back and forth is also perceived from some point. This point of neither perception nor non-perception, where there is stillness of the mind, is also Nirvana.

This leads me to the following conclusion, for which I used this paper to conceptualize; https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle ... sAllowed=y

Nirvana can be attained in two ways; one way is the realization of nothingness (emptiness of form and emptiness of the formless) by fully realizing the nature of being; dependent arising. Through this realization, one realizes that there is no coming and no going. This is called liberation through the intellect, or 'paññāvimutti'. 'Paññā' is the base and refers to the intellect, or cognitive side of consciousness; the faculty of thinking. Ignorance (avijjā) is the cause of Dukkha (misunderstanding/ confusion) in the intellect, but through realizing the true nature of being, ignorance is dissolved, because one realizes form is empty and the formless is also empty.

The other way is through liberation of the mind, or 'cetovimutti', by becoming aware of the state which is neither perception nor non-perception. 'Citta' is the base and refers to the (emotional) mind, the affective side of consciousness; or faculty of feeling. Grasping is the form of Dukkha in the mind, through the cause of desire. Through getting to the point of neither perception nor non-perception, desire is abandonded, because there is no-thing to grasp or perceive. In my second-last post, and in the first paragraph of this post, I described how to attain this state from the seventh Jhana. In the writings I describe how to get to the seventh Jhana and how to realize 'no coming, no going'.

So through realizing the true nature of being, ignorance is blown out. Through getting to the point of neither perception nor non-perception, desire is blown out. Hence, perfect liberation. I will add the above instructions to the writings.

From the paper in paragraph 3.4 Liberation of mind (cetovimutti) and liberation of intellect (paññāvimutti), page 63;
"Citta and paññā operate together, as they are the two sides of the
same human psyche or consciousness, comprising a complex system of the khandhas or
personality factors. Citta could not desire the possession of a physical object unless there
were present an ignorance of the empty or ephemeral nature of the object, and the knowledge
that attaching itself to it would eventually lead to suffering. And - by extension - life itself as
a human would be understood to end in disease, old age and death, and with this knowledge
the citta would not be inclined to bind itself, understood as clinging to the five personality
factors."

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:55 pm

Is there anyone on this website getting close to Nirvana who understands these instructions? Are they of any help to anyone?

I am interested to know, as the whole point of me writing here is to help others move forward. Until now I have not received a lot of useful feedback. Of course, it could very well be that no one here is reading my texts and posts with an intrinsic interest to learn from something else than the sutta's. I am also interested to know why someone wants to stick strictly to the sutta's. I am also interested to know if someone has read what I have written, how it changed the way they look at themselves, me, the path, or the sutta's.

I have updated the Nirvana chapter with the last instructions. I was also able to slightly improve the instructions, at least to my ability. https://www.foundationsofhumanlife.info/14-nirvana/

If there is no interest that is also fine, then I will just move along. Do not feel pressured to post anything, if you're not really interested.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:19 am

Thich Nhat Hanh on 'Why doesn't Buddhism support romantic love?'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FCIIDmN_Po

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:13 am

I decided to publish my writings as an e-book, that is why the website is offline. I improved the flow in the writings by keeping it really concise, and I also improved upon the explanations. The book is already available on Amazon and will be on Kobo in the next few days.

I really want to help people understand Buddhism. Why do you ask money for the book than? Because I need to make a living. Can you not make a living without this book? I can, but I have considerably less time available to help other people. Why not simply go into a monastery? I might do that in the future, but before I can teach other people in the monastery, I first have to get ordained, which takes up many years of my time, and I already know how and what to teach.

Greetings Peter Cordes

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:44 pm

I am going to post the last chapter of the book here, to help you guys on the way. I will relate parts of the chapter to the matching Arupa Jhana's. The Jhana's are states of concentration reached through meditation/contemplation, whereas what I have written is the fruition of that meditation/contemplation. One progresses through the Jhana's by letting go, gaining fruition is achieved by reflecting on that progress.

This is a post for the more advanced people on this forum, who already transcended form, with which I mean that you have understood the emptiness of form because of dependent arising. The advanced people can help explain it to the more novice ones. A detailed explanation on how to get to the emptiness of form can be found in the book.

Chapter 14 Nirvana

After gaining insight into dependent arising and the emptiness of essence, we are just consciousness; we perceive something. We now know that if something is formed, for instance a flower, we can’t distinguish or define it by merely observing its physical appearance. The flower also needs everything around the physical appearance of the flower to be the flower. This means that without the air, the soil, the sun, et cetera, the flower would not exist. Because of this, the flower can’t be truly distinguished or defined, therefore, its essence is empty.

Every thing that is distinguished through our six senses has been formed. So form does not limit itself to thoughts; when a flower is seen, it is formed, even without thoughts. However, because we can’t really distinguish or define a thing, nothing is truly formed. Though, we still experience something, so this 'something' is without form.

The following is an example to clarify the above. A young woman and an old woman are both present in the image below. For the young or the old woman to form, our mind has to interpret the lines in the picture. If one forms, the other stays 'formless', but is still there.

Image

Through insight in the above, one enters the Sphere of Boundless Space, as Space is not bound by form anymore.

The following example clarifies the scope of the formless. We know that a flower grows out of a seed. We can observe this when we plant a seed and wait for the flower to grow. This means that the flower is already present in the seed, but the conditions for the flower to manifest (form) have not met yet; the flower needs to grow first. We can say that the presence of the flower in the seed is formless. Before the flower has manifested we cannot say that the flower isn’t there. If the flower has grown and someone asks you where the flower came from, you will say; the flower came out of the seed.

Just like the seed comes from a flower, we could say that this flower is still formlessly present in the seed. Everything before the moment the seed was formed, made the seed into what it is. So the seed was never not there; it was just formless and had not manifested itself yet. Also, the flower and the seed will never go, as the remains of the flower and the seed will fertilize the soil.

Below is an example of how we identify the formless, from which we subsequently identify ourselves. Imagine standing next to a busy street in a big city, where you hear a mixture of moving vehicles. Suddenly you distinguish a different sound between these sounds. In the moment before you distinguish the other sound, you identify the formless; although you have not yet been able to distinguish the other sound from the sound of the vehicles, it is present. If you then shift your attention to the direction where you seemed to hear something else, you distinguish this other sound from the rest. In the same way that you shift your attention on the lines in the image of the two women above, to see the other woman. Before you see the other woman, the woman is already present in the lines of the image, we just have not been able to distinguish her.

If we focus our attention on the other sound, this appears to be the chirping of a bird. Because you notice the chirp, you identify with this sound; you are conscious of it. However, now we know that the essence of the chirping is empty, because the chirping needs everything outside the sound to exist, we cannot identify with the sound, because there is nothing to identify with.

Before you distinguished the chirp, you already identified yourself with the sound that you did not consciously perceive. Although you did hear something, you were not yet aware of what this was. The same happens when you are identifying the two women. Before you see the other woman in its entirety, you see a part of this woman, and although you have not yet been able to distinguish the woman, you notice that there is something. You identify with this something, because you are conscious of it.

So, there is a formless something, without us distinguishing, defining, or interpreting it via our six senses. Also through our intuition and instinct we experience the formless. Once you have let go of the identification with form, you are left with the identification of the formless. Although you no longer distinguish or define a form, you recognize that you experience something. The only difference between form and the formless is if we distinguish it or not. Both are from the same nature. The formless is also empty of an essence, because something is dependent upon being; something has to exist in order to be experienced. We cannot distinguish something from our experience. If we realize the previous, we do not identify with the formless anymore, as there is nothing to identify with. The only identification which exists is our mental fabrication, an attempt to identify with something.

Through insight in the above, one enters the Sphere of Boundless Consciousness, as you realize that everything you perceive and will perceive was never not there.

There is really no coming (birth), as the manifestation of form already existed in the formless. Just as there is no going (death), as form will continue to exist in the formless when the form dissolves. If we do not identify with something anymore, we attain Nirvana and liberate ourselves from Samsara. Samsara is the endless cycle of rebirth, which is described in Buddhist texts. This rebirth occurs whenever someone tries to define an experience in form and every time when someone tries to identify with an experience which we do not distinguish.

We are merely a mental fabrication, from the attempt to identify and define ourselves out of ignorance. The ignorance that there truly is nothing to identify with permanently. We attain Nirvana when we also have let go of the identification with the formless. We are conscious that nothing is truly formed, as the essence of form is empty. This emptiness means that something is without form. However, also the essence of the formless is empty, and is therefore nothing. So nothing is formed, and nothing is without form. Nothing does not come, and nothing does not go. Nothing is permanent; everything is impermanent. We are dissolved into nothingness, as we were nothing to begin with.

Insight in the above, obviously lets one enter the The Sphere of Nothingness

When you come to the above realization, you become aware that nothing is really perceived, but this doesn’t mean that there is no perception. Through the realization that no form is really perceived, your attention shifts towards the formless; that which is non-perceived.

If the formless is seen as something that exists independent from our perception, like God, it is non-perceived. Which means that you are aware of it, without actually perceiving it. Apart from the fact that God’s existence or non-existence is not verifiable and rests on faith, clinging to the formless is not full liberation, as you still identify with something. This creates a spiritual entity that is separate from our perception. You cannot comprehend what this something is or what its intention is, through which you still experience a subtle state of unsatisfactoriness. Its intention is then a source of doubt and subjective interpretation, which can then lead to differences between people with regard to their views on this. In addition, this formless something would be the basis for the manifestation of form. Where every thing, experience, event or phenomenon can be seen as a manifestation of this entity. This can then be used as an excuse to label that what we are capable of doing to be its intention. This entity also stirs up a desire for meaning in what is being experienced, thereby creating a spiritual self. This spiritual self may be even more difficult to see through than a physical or mental self, because it is anchored in the formless. In addition, people with a spiritual self have walked through life to get there, which may give them the feeling that they have achieved something.

We know that the formless is dependent upon existence; something has to be, if nothing is, then something is not. Thus, the formless is also empty, and because of this, your awareness is thrown back and forth between neither perception and nor non-perception. Until you realize that this going back and forth is also perceived from some point. That point is the state of neither perception nor non-perception, where there is stillness of the mind, this state is also Nirvana.

Also quite obvious; insight in the above lets one enter The Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-perception

So, Nirvana can be attained in two ways; one way is the realization of nothingness, by fully realizing the nature of being; dependent arising. Through this realization, you realize that there is no coming and no going. This way is called liberation through the intellect, or 'paññāvimutti' in the Pali language. 'Paññā' is the base and refers to the intellect, or cognitive side of consciousness; the faculty of thinking. Ignorance is the cause of misunderstanding or confusion in the intellect. Through realizing the true nature of being, ignorance is dissolved, because one realizes form and the formless are of dependent arising and therefore empty.

The other way is through liberation of the mind, or 'cetovimutti', by becoming aware of the state which is neither perception nor non-perception. 'Citta' is the base and refers to the (emotional) mind, the affective side of consciousness; or faculty of feeling. Grasping is the form of dissatisfaction in the mind, through the desire to grasp. By getting to the state of neither perception nor non-perception, this desire is abandoned, because there is no perception to grasp.

Through reading this chapter, one is able to progress through the Jhana's, by letting go, as one becomes aware of their nature.

Through fruition of the Jhana's, one has penetrated the nature of reality and himself, after which one dissolves, and the desire to grasp anything is blown out.


Thank you!

Warm regards,

Peter Cordes Copyright 2019

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