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August 23, 2007

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So what the hell are we going to do?

Happy hooking! You know, of the fish......

No! Mr. EW - have a heart!

You sure you don't want that new cellular data/internet card I got you? Could come in handy at the ole fishin hole.....

Enjoy your trip Emptywheel. We'll be good for the substitute teacher.

You cannot do this to us! Congress went home, and now you are going fishing or something... Who the heck is gonna keep the White House at bay? Do you realize the awful things that can happen while you are out of touch? And, I don't know about everyone else here, but not have TNH to read is like...is like...why,it is just plain despicable!

Enjoy your time!

You should at least hold out the possibility that something big might break - after all, tomorrow is Friday - and then borrow Jane's laptop.

Have fun!

pack is going to play around in the mud together for a couple of days on the way back ?

that's got scrum potential. Mr. Emptywheel will wish you'd brought your toobz instead.

I hear the aspen turn in clusters along the riverside....

Throw back the bottom-dwellers.

On the Clock

That's creepy. The last time I even tried to go toobz-less was the week Judy's story was published. And it was fall, in Michigan's UP, and there were Aspens, turning in clusters, everywhere.

I remember two years ago all hell breaking loose and no emptywheel for several days. Did anyone have any idea of where this would all lead? What an impact your writing/actions would have? ew you are an amazing citizen. writer, intellect, and human being.

EW, Happy trails to you and Mr. Emptywheel. You're headed east, I'm going west...well, as far as Upper Pier Michigan to attend a college reunion of sorts -a weekend with good friends from the class of '85, the 'South College Gang.'

EW you Mr Ew and MC have a great time and I think we will all be OK until you get back see ya

We'll look forward to a huge burst of posts when you get back -- because you may not have access to the Toobz -- but your brain will keep on tickin'. And the time and space and rest will yield great insights. Have a great time!

ew,

Just don't read the comment I just posted on the minimization thread. I'd hate to have mr. emptywheel all mad at me because I made you think about this stuff.

No, really, don't read that comment. Seriously, what ever you do, don't read it...

I'm getting cranky already.

McCaf-ML, May have Chesapeake conference prospects: RSVP.

Appreciate the warning, it always helps to have notice before I have to go into emptywheel withdrawal. I hope that you, Mr. ew, and McCaffrey all have a great (and well deserved) vacation.

Great to see dogs lie down together for a change... Blessings to the beltway poodles. Safe travels.

Well, after all, it's SUMMERTIME!

(interlude)

A break from analysis for the contentment of being, as is.

In Buddhism, stories of the Buddha giving teachings are called Sutras, meaning 'ways to the Truth.' The Diamond Sutra is to Buddhism what “Love your enemies as yourself,” is to the teachings of Jesus.

In the Diamond Sutra, the Buddha is approached by Subhuti, one of the elders of the Community of twelve-hundred and fifty monks that formed the Buddha’s principal male congregation. This congregation, called a Sangha in Sanskrit, was spread out amongst approximately 17 locations along the Ganges River in India around 500BCE.

Only a few of the monks traveled with the Buddha between locations, and many of the monks had congregations of their own in their home geographies. Since the Buddha’s nomadic visits were infrequent, the 17 sites developed 17 versions of the Buddha’s basic teaching – the same material absorbed by different tribes, Countries and traditions into their own recensions.

Subhuti and his geographic congregation had taken the Buddha’s basic teachings and developed them along the line of “How to cultivate Wisdom”. This was done not as a purely scholastic pursuit, but rather as a practical pathway to enlightenment – liberation while living from time and space bound existential (egoic) suffering. In recognition of his aptitude for seeking Wisdom amongst the twelve hundred and fifty, the Buddha named Subhuti ‘foremost in absorption in non-contention,’ or pleasant abiding – a clarity of understanding experience harmoniously mirrored by wise-actions.

As the Diamond Sutra opens, Subhuti – at the head of a Wisdom-recension congregation of 500 disciples – approaches the Buddha and says:

“We seek complete perfect enlightenment. Where does Wisdom end and the Buddha Mind begin? What practice will take us most directly there?”

(more later as we float towards Tuesday...)

So, Subhuti and the 500 disciples ask the Buddha, in essence, “What is complete perfect enlightenment - the Buddha Mind - like for you? And, how can we get our own Buddha Minds, too?

To which the Buddha replies: “Of the myriad thoughts and feelings that occur to my mind – I watch all of them arise, change and fall without dwelling on any of them.”

Subhuti and his disciples were a collection of sharp minds, amongst the strongest analysts in the Buddha’s considerable following and roughly analogous to the kind of posters and commenters we have here and at FDL. Individually, and as a group, they were proficient at generating insight from observable facts, and applying that insight wisely to improve the quality of their lived-life experience.

However, in their proficiency, as such, Subhuti and his followers were prone to ‘thinking too much’ – a kind of analysis paralysis composed of perpetually testing hypotheses for outcomes.

In his reply, the Buddha tells Subhuti that thinking isn’t the problem here – it’s over-thinking that is the problem. How to differentiate between thinking enough and thinking too much? First, the Buddha tells Subhuti that thoughts and feelings of all types arise in his mind all the time.

That’s important – thoughts and feelings of all types arise in the Buddha’s mind. His experience is generating thoughts and feelings. However, the Buddha says to leave it at that – it is going too far – over-thinking - to ‘dwell’ on your thoughts and feelings.

So, a stream of thoughts, like an analysis, that illuminates the facts to reveal the truth – no problem! However, someone hanging-on to a flimsy analysis to justify Scooter staying out on appeal, despite precedent, just to win an argument – that’s dwelling on thoughts and feelings!

The Ordinary Mind grasps at objects in the stream of thoughts and dwells on them with self-interest, instantaneously creating an evanescent sense of ‘self’ as actor, whose beliefs condition actions with intended outcomes – for which that ‘self’ is happy if it gets it’s way, and sad if it doesn’t. That dream-cloud of grasping at objects in the stream of thoughts is the ‘dramatic’ story of an ego’s life, conditioned on the entirely false sense of a separate ‘self’.

Regarding the practice that most directly takes a practitioner to the Buddha Mind:

“Of the myriad thoughts and feelings that occur to my mind – I watch all of them arise, change and fall without dwelling on any of them.”

It is enough to meet one’s daily needs in complete inner peace and outer contentment just by being consciously aware of the thoughts and feelings of the moment without dwelling on any of them.

A Buddha is an ordinary person who has awakened to complete perfect enlightenment (transcending time and space, birth and death, and directly realizing ‘things as they are’) by ceasing to grasp at objects in the stream of thoughts, while an ordinary person is a Buddha who has become confused (in the grip of greed, hate and ignorance) by grasping at objects in the stream of thoughts.

(I’ll bring it all home with the connection to Jesus tomorrow…)


So if this little trip is what it took to get rid of Gonzo, fair enough. ew and her wily ways...

In the Diamond Sutra, we see the Buddha explaining to a group of intellectuals the difference between the Ordinary Mind and the Buddha Mind. It is given that everyone, all of us, has a stream of thoughts in their mind, full of ‘objects’ relating to their experience. These objects in the mindstream vary from person to person, of course, but typically they are proxies for things like family members, friends, co-workers, good people, bad people, heaven, hell, fears, doubts, memories, hopes, dreams, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches and ideas – everything that goes into the ‘story of your life.’

Everyone – including the Buddha - has a mindstream like this. The difference is that the Ordinary Mind – the egoic self - selectively interacts with the objects in the stream of thoughts - grasping and dwelling on some objects, while ignoring others, creating the *flashbulb* sense of a separate self acting in a drama to control outcomes – while the Buddha Mind watches all of them non-selectively with dispassionate, but attentive, interest. Elsewhere in the Sutras, the Buddha says that when one activates the Buddha Mind by not grasping at objects in the stream of thoughts, then its function is subtle being, as is, in any circumstance.

That means that no matter if you are a doctor, a lawyer, or an Indian chief – or a monk in a cave – if you activate your mind as a Buddha Mind, instead of as an Ordinary Mind, then you will effortlessly apply your professional knowledge to your job in order to meet your needs on a daily basis – you will be a Buddha who happens to practice law, or medicine, or journalism, or doing whatever needs to be done in your daily life, whatever your circumstances may be. In addition, the Buddha says that activating the non-dwelling Buddha Mind simultaneously gives rise to waves of emanations that ‘feel like’ loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity – indicating that liberated awareness is naturally affectionate toward all others. It’s called Liberation, because it feels that way when it happens to the practitioner.

So, the Buddha Mind is ‘in the world’ witnessing the objects in the stream of thoughts, but not ‘of the world’ by grasping selectively at those objects.

Jesus, while a profoundly great Wisdom Teacher, preferred to communicate heart-to-heart (foregoing elaborate analysis) in order to show the Way to – not just a better life – but, to a perfectly better life:

Here’s Luke 6:35

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”

The Buddha says to treat all objects in the stream of thoughts, good people and bad people, the same – give them attention without obsession. Make your life a practice of accepting what is given, doing the right thing, and making nothing of it, for friends and enemies alike – and this will lead to Liberation from the suffering of a separate existence.

Jesus says to treat all people, the good and the bad, the same – treat your friends and enemies as you would yourself – love them as you would yourself for they are all your neighbors, and equally the children of the Lord. Elsewhere in the New Testament, Jesus says in many, many places that the reward for exercising the sublime heart of compassion for all others is entry into the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now – like Schweitzer said, the only way to explain the behavior of the Apostles after the Crucifixion is that they were convinced beyond all doubt that Jesus’ teachings led to redemption from suffering and entry into a direct relationship with God, unity awareness – the new Covenant - and salvation from the error of separateness from Him.

And now back to your regularly scheduled BushCo resignations...

Sigh, now if only everyone practiced that, where would the world be...hey a HAPPY PLACE like Disneyland! In a world where individualism is running rampant, how do we acheive this...I agree with all that you said, but how do we achieve it as a whole?

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