Saturday, June 15, 2019

The 𝙊𝙣𝙚 and Only Pain

All of us, from the bottom up, ants to divine beings, are facing their own death. This one realization, if truly embedded in our feeling level, is enough to bring on oceans of tears--and yet, we sometimes act with unnecessary cruelty toward each other. This one realization is enough to bring on oceans of blood-tears. It is no wonder tears and tear are of a kind. 

Thursday, June 06, 2019

(Site under construction, read at your own risk.) New Cosmology Inquiry (or something like inquiry)

The most accurate description of this set of posts--within the overarching theme of the One--is best thought of, initially, as a thought-experiment. As elaborations accrue to each of the movements of thoughts spoken here it will become evident that this post takes on a more radical appearance and, hopefully, disappearance. This will be made clear if time allows us its hoped for dispensation. Let us pray. 

The following, despite appearances, is intended for use in treating disease. As such, it may be considered medicinal in intent. The disease this medicine has been fabricated to treat is the disease of misplaced ontological loyalties and the substitution of ontology for phenomenology* in the study of Eastern meditation practices and expected outcomes. 

If you are following along with me, then you too may take off in any direction you wish while attempting to remain loyal to the stated situation that there is only One. (We shall capitalize the "O" whenever we are discussing this One.)

*N.B. I made a dumb mistake early here using the word "epistemology" instead of "phenomenology." My apologies.  

Our inquiry begins with a question. What if there was only one? Our first impulse would be to ask, "One what?" Well, that question cannot be legitimately asked because there is nothing else but One and to ask "One what?" would imply that there exists a knower and a known. To ask the question is overstepping the limits of our knowledge because there is only One. (Part of our exercise, if you are in the game, is making an effort to stay with this apparently impossible rule that we always remember that there is only One. I know, I know, but hang in there, please.) Now, imagine you, this ego or I, am that One. Imagine, if you will, what it would be like. You would be all, only, and One without a second. But how would you know this? How would such knowledge be possible in this, our story or experiment? Please exercise patience and consider that we will have some stumbling blocks along the way. The journey, I hope, will be worth it. So, what would be the necessary conditions for such knowing?

First, it requires that we somehow split ourselves in two. So, let us imagine that our division into two would not be an ontological division, or a division of our selves, whatever that would mean, into two--one the knower and one the known. (Akin to Aristotle's Unmoved Mover.)

Now, let us say that the One that I am is recognized as such by thought. Thought, therefore, provides a second which only reflects that one itself, for there is nothing else. In our experiment, this One is each One of us unknown by any others because there is only Me as the One. So, there is an incestuous relationship between Me and the thought or fabricated me. Let's say the conceptual or fabricated me is the second me. So, there is still only Me, one without a second, with the realization that I am also this second me. Me is merely a reflection of Me as the One. For now, let's let this experiment sink in. Meditate on it. Use it as an exercise in imagination. Allow it to take on the ontological sense of really being that One. We shall return with more on this soon. Please follow along and get behind it as if it was you being that One. Okay?

(𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘦𝘹𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘳 𝘢𝘮𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘶𝘯. 𝘐'𝘮 𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘪𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘹𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳.)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Aphorisms on Free Will

I'm sure you have heard the phrase "sentient beings" before, as in "We humans are 'sentient beings.'" Well, forget that. Let's say, arguing against the notion of free will, that there is sentience but let the "being" part drop. So, there is the incarnation of history or karma and sentience. Lose the "being" part. 

"He deserves the death penalty," you have heard this before haven't you? Was this decided upon by his or her own free will? Was there some deliberation about responsibility or some such nonsense prior to this thought or statement arising? This statement is pure reaction. What do you think? Did something just "come to mind"? 

All of a sudden, "I feel like having a piece of chocolate."

Here is an example of free will with respect to getting a glass of water: "I'm thirsty; I'm getting a glass of water." The incarnate narrative is the will. Looking for something outside, alongside, behind, or in front of the narrative will prove to be futile upon close observation. See for yourself.

Ever watch your hands perform? This kind of watching may take place in, for example, doing dishes or tying shoelaces. We may be carrying the assumption "I am doing the dishes," or "I am tying my shoelaces." However, if we are watching the movement of our hands, very carefully--without suspicions or expectation--you may observe the action is performed without you. Don't believe it? Watch and see. Now, this observation may be made with respect to all acts, even including speaking and thinking. After all, do we ever know what thought will occur next, honestly? Honestly here translates as clear-minded observation alone.    

Thursday, May 23, 2019

(Certainly needs editing) Subjectivity, Consciousness, Awareness, and the Mirror

Here is a story about a mirror and how we may see life occurring.

It's like a mirror tain, what is put before it, it reflects. In our case, as human beings, our structural configurations dictate some of what goes into the mirror. Structure, along with the accumulated acts of body, speech, and mind--or so we have come to believe--flesh out the images that are placed before the mirror. The mirror then dutifully reflects back what is not only the expected but the novel as well. The novel may be seen as the prevailing conditions of present concerns, anticipations, circumstances, e.g., intention (as desire), lighting, mirror dust, etc., all due to accumulation. This is what we might call, in keeping with the Indian philosophical traditions, karma (action). Past actions plus prevailing conditions--we may draw a fine line between the two--constitute the image. So, the past and present conditions enter the mirror and become a self plus incarnate and meaning-laden circumstances.

The mirror is indifferent to all presentations. The processing of image production is fundamentally important to the intentional concerns only, manifesting as selves who live and die. This body of anonymous intentions driven from beneath us as desire to fill the mirror has no perceivable bottom, no perceivable beginning (an-adi for Sanskritists). Even to ask why life occurs is a question the source of which is on the side of history, i.e., the actions, not the mirror. We find ourselves on the receiving end of the reflection. We are the receiving end of the reflection. What goes in comes out as experience, or more correctly, experiencing. The concern-content has little to do with the mirror, although nothing incarnates, nothing lives, without it. It's a trick, a scam that manifests all the whos, whats, whys, wheres, and hows that history has given each one of us in the movement of living. Yes, it is always and fundamentally each one of us. We believe and live what the mirror reflects. We call this conscious living in meaningful circumstances.

We must, however, realize that we consciously receive and live much less than what goes in, in both human personal terms; it would be quite different for whales and so-called extraterrestrials, individual and species-specific. We are limited to the surface while the depths of history configure in silent and sentient emptiness (shunyata). Our senses of self, circumstances (the lived world) are a reduction of karma to the manageable limits of our historically imposed images. However, we can, with some effort and help, overcome some of the limitations. (This is a discussion, always, for another time.)

Now, as for our mirrors, yes they must be plural despite their common function considered by many to constitute a singularity. Mirrors are often relegated to becoming terms such as consciousness, divinity, sentience, and all sorts of images and estimations. In any case, it is unknowable, futile, and at times, dangerous to characterize with certainty. Oddly enough, the word certain is related to the word crisis--and, as history will testify, certainty has given rise to many. Our mirror only gives us what is put into it. We get nothing from it but life itself, and life is also what we put into it. What's to say? Not much at all. Keeping silent recognition and appreciation, like the mirror itself, allowing it to be present as much as possible, helps us navigate the many realities history lives to become. The mirror mocks it all but provides it nonetheless. Accommodating it is an essential ingredient for the minimization of life's challenges. Call that an epoché or bracketing ala Husserl's phenomenology or just plain meditation.       

Now we have a very basic understanding of the mirror metaphor. There are more subtleties that will be fleshed out as we proceed on this methodos, or way. What goes into the mirror--if you like, call the mirror consciousness or awareness--is both historical and structural. History here means actions of body, speech, and mind that have been constituted by a vast and incomprehensible network of causes that were, at one time or another, embodied in a human form, a universal form. (We will address this universality below.)     


Friday, March 08, 2019

On Mannequins, Portraits and Karma: A Prelude to Ethics

Mona Lisa - Wikipedia

Here we begin with a question put to your memory. Have you ever seen a portrait where the eyes of a person being portrayed seem to follow you? As you move from one side to another the eyes follow as if the person was actually looking at you, or so it seems. Some might even think it creepy. Now, have you ever been, say, in a store or a place where we might find a mannequin? Have you ever said "excuse me" to a mannequin? Have you ever perceived a mannequin as a living person, even if it was just for a split-second? How are two situations like this possible? What might this tell us about our human experience? What must be happening for that experience to occur? What might we learn from this experience?

A look at these experiences may function as a heuristic opening a door to the realization that it is in and through our own experience that other living beings become what and who they are and bear the meanings they appear to embody. In a very immediate sense, sentience may be granted to a mannequin. It does happen that we may perceive an insentient mannequin as a sentient being, a person. Or we may perceive a painting as being haunted when its eyes appear to follow us as we move through a room.

The sentience-granting function of our own pure form of subjectivity, i.e., the manner in which we feel alive as the I-am sense, is immediately attributed as the sentient other or, as Edmund Husserl has said, "constitutes" the other, by our own sense of self-existence at that very moment. All others, in this sense, live through us. We are truly the "lights unto the world(s)." This process lives in each and every conscious moment of our existence. In one critical but obscured and forgotten sense, there is the experiential possibility of seeing that the sentient other--and this includes more than I will state here--is, in a very real sense, an embodiment of your own pure form of self or radical subjectivity.  

What the others are or become is granted or imputed by our own repertoire of beliefs and concepts that have been historically given by the past (incarnate) acts of others and our own contributions. This repertoire or storehouse of knowledge results from the prior incarnate acts--including experiences which are also acts in their own way--of sentient beings. This past lives within us and functions to constitute our present experience in our intention-filled acts toward an anticipated future. All acts are incarnate and remain with us in fractal-like sediment of a living past. In this sense, the past may be said to live in each act seeking fulfillment as intentional acts. This is what is called by Buddhists and Yogis karma. The past is alive constituting the present toward an anticipated future. These intentional acts not only constitute present circumstances but the living others in our experience. Who people or other sentient beings become (their what) is the doing of living past acts (karma) as incarnated in each and every circumstance we face.

At this point, it almost goes without saying that the circumstances we face result from past acts. We face these circumstances intentionally. Not as free agents willing what is but as embodiments of past acts that aim toward.  Our desires, i.e., intentionality, will organize the circumstances based on what either fulfills or thwarts the intentions. The future is an intended future that lives now as experience moves as time. Time, in this sense of the term, is synonymous with the ephemeral movement of experience structured by past actions of body, speech, and mind. Each moment is organized by the past toward an intended future and as an evanescent appearance and disappearance of phenomena--including the composition and dissolution of self-senses. These self-senses also incarnate ephemeral time ever appearing/disappearing. Selves are movements in dynamic meaningful circumstances organized within the appearing and disappearing intentional movements of experience or living. As the Buddha suggested, we may note five continually aggregating meaningful movements of perceptions, feelings, consciousnesses, intentions, and objectivities--intentionally structured ephemeral aggregations of experienced elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space, rise and fall as meaningful and intentional experience. As time, as experience, this happens too fast for the conceptualization process to account for. It attempts in vain to picture or freeze into ideas or concepts that either take stock of ephemeral experience in their fabrication or unintentionally overlook the manner in which experience occurs, based on axiomatic historically driven presuppositions that give rise to deleterious outcomes, i.e., suffering. One of the major axioms in place is the notion that we are a self within a material universe that exists independently of its constituting and dynamic elements. We ignore karma at our peril, as should be evident by now.

A careful look at the conceptualization process itself reveals it to be one ephemeral element of the movement of experience as time. Concepts rise and fall in relation to circumstances and their ephemerality and their historical constitution are overlooked in favor of attending to them as referential. What they say about becomes more important than what they mean and are. The danger of the about is not seen as they perform well for the notions of self and world that they seem to refer to as a result of mistaken usages of their heredity.

Of course and as always this examination will remain incomplete for readers to make of it what they may. History, intentions (intentionality), prior acts will not only weigh in

This is an unedited version.         


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Empathy as the Foundation of Compassion

I recommend this slide show very highly. Please pay close attention to the constitution of self/other as an embodied process. This is the key to self-other means of compassionate reduction of suffering. 

EMPATHY AND COMPASSION A Neurophenomenological Approach Evan Thompson.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

On the Dangers of Translation

One of the most important texts of Mahayana Buddhism is the Bodhipathapradipam ("Path to Awakening") by Dipamkara Shrijnana Atisha, commonly referred to simply as Atisha (982-1054). In this text, a path to awakening is laid out in a wonderful format which, in my view, promotes a path of empathy. Here are two examples of a possible translation of verse 5 from this text. A well-known translator and long-time practitioner has translated this magnificent text for us--and has done a great service for doing so. 

Here I include his translation first and my corrected rendering of the same verse with a twist. I hope you appreciate the intent of this modification. It has great bearing on how one views and practices Buddhism. I have simply eliminated his interpolated material and kept the rest. His translation may serve, as I see it, to obscure the intent of the verse. It is based on presuppositions, that are axiomatic in our Western philosophical tradition. In fact, I find his interpolation to reflect a Cartesianism that hides in the background serving--in far too many instances of translated, taught, and practiced aspects of Buddhist and non-Buddhist Indian (as well as Chinese) traditions--to reinforce the underlying beliefs that keep human possibilities framed and locked inside of a noose of deleterious limitations as evidenced today in far too many problems from pollution to insane inclinations toward war. 

See if you agree. Husserl would have objected to his translation (interpolation) on the basis of his view of empathy within phenomenological intersubjectivity. 

5) Anyone who fully wishes to eliminate completely
All the sufferings of others
As (he or she would) the sufferings included
in his or her own mental continuum
Is someone of supreme motivation.

Anyone who fully wishes to eliminate completely
All the sufferings of others
As the sufferings included
in his or her own experience continuum
Is someone of supreme motivation.

I sincerely hope you find this challenging, interesting, and helpful. Buddhism needs your help. 

                                                        --Gene Kelly 14 February 2019

Burning as living, Living as burning

The 𝙊𝙣𝙚 and Only Pain

All of us, from the bottom up, ants to divine beings, are facing their own death. This one realization, if truly embedded in our feeling le...