Friday 2 August 2019

Which sect of Buddhism has the true teachings of Buddha?

Many people (myself included in the past) are today unfortunately confusing real Buddhism with a sect that split off of it called Mahayana. Buddha taught how to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime. In fact, a number of his students became enlightened instantaneously upon hearing his teachings (even just one sentence: things happen due to conditions, or, in the seen there's only the seen. in the heard, only the heard. no you in any of that, as per the Bahiya sutta.) 

Mahayana Buddhism teaches that we should put OFF enlightenment so that we can remain here for countless lifetimes to help others. This is actually not exactly against what Buddha taught, but he referred to people who thought this way as people who were foolish and wanted to suffer, even tho he respected them and was himself one of those people (called Bodhisattvas), unknowingly, in his past lives, which is how he became a Buddha, which is not just an enlightened being, but a world-teacher (turner of the wheel of dhamma, as they say). 

The Mahayana sutras are "fake" because they say "Buddha said this" but in fact he never did say that--this is what meditators apparently saw him say in their visions or something like that. Some Mahayana monks actually converted to Theravada after they found out the sutras were fake. 

I've experienced (actually not me, but reality itself without me) Nibbana, which is totally infinitely perfect, disjoint, witnessless reality, every flowing process knowing itself, on various occasions, so I'm not just some believer or theorist or something like that. What Buddha taught is very simple, very scientific, and it works.

Even more troublesome tho, than the Mahayana bodhisattva emphasis, is the very frequent tendency in many Mahayana sutras to teach the OPPOSITE of Buddha's teaching of no-self or anatta. They actually teach there is a True Self and a One Universal Mind (in fact these are just stages of insight before no self), in the sutras which talk about the Tathagathagarba, which originated with Buddha's teaching that there is a "luminous mind" which is defiled only by environmental influxes. Yes, there indeed is such a thing, and I've experienced that. But, as Ajahn Mun supposedly taught Mae Chee Kaew, but failed to teach Ajahn Maha Bua, that is only a pothole on the road, not some indestructible essential perfection. Ajahn Mun himself seems to have been confused about this at one point as well, tho the timing of his realizations is unclear.

A good book to read is "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula. That really sums everything up pretty clearly, but if you want a book geared more towards how to meditate, I suggest "Mindfulness, bliss, and beyond" by Venerable Ajahn Brahm.


There's also a more subtle and maybe respectful explanation of this topic from a Theravadan monk here.

Monday 22 July 2019

How does the brain construct the psychedelic experience?

Ben asked:
Interested in any interesting psych interpretations or whitepapers you may know of on dmt and how the brain constructs the experience :) 

Sukhino bhava Ben,
You asked how the brain constructs the experience... certainly there are books and papers on this topic which you can find on google scholar and Amazon (a classic book is Antipodes of the Mind, but personally I found it so boring I could not read it), but my question to you is, which brain are you talking about? Everyone has different experiences, even the same person will usually have a different experience on different days, so there's no reason to suspect that every brain is constructing the experience with the same methods, however based on my own personal experience and based on reading of others, and seeing others, I can say that the brain/mind has a model of reality which determines the limits to which reality can be seen, as well as the limits to the expansion or deconstruction of the very same model. So it's a process of gradually gaining clarity, or as Buddha called it, Right View. Each time we gain clarity it helps us to figure out how to gain more clarity. You can also think of it like you are born wearing 1,000 sunglasses. You take one off, and you can see a bit clearer. Now you take the next off, and so on, all the while becoming more aware that you must have quite a lot of sunglasses on you, and maybe at a certain point you even figure out that you can shake them all off at once with the correct head movement. 

Now, unfortunately, some people do not want clarity about reality. They just want different colored sunglasses! So, they pluck a few off and then buy some new ones to put on. This is analogous to the folks who take psychedelics in order to travel to other realms and have weird new experiences (I've certainly had enough of those).

I will absolutely look into Antipodes of the Mind. This is exactly what I was looking for based on the amazon description. I have always been a believer that the ayahuasca and dmt experience is not channeling something external but instead tapping into something very deeply internal and tucked away past the conscious mind.

Am I external to your mind? Technically, no, whatever "I" am to you is all in your mind. In fact, although probably most people believe they exist, I don't have that belief, so in this case, for me, there's no me (just letters, fingers, sounds), but for you, there's me, here, talking to you in English. See, you don't need psychedelics to get mind-fucked.... sorry for the language. Since everything simply happens automatically due to conditions, there is really no you, no your mind, and that identity illusion, in fact, is the source of all questions, all doubts, all ignorance, and all suffering, just as, coincidentally(lol) Buddha explained in the Pali suttas. Ironically, the average person sees existence as the fountain of happiness, and in fact that is the basis for every religion in the world that I know of, aside from Theravada buddhism, if you could call that a religion, tho it's more just a teaching about reality/how to see clearly.

I once had a dream in which I realized I was dreaming, and I said to the dream characters in my room, "None of you exist! Why should I even talk to you?" or something like that. One female dream character said to me, "Even if we don't exist, we still have feelings!" In other words, at some level she understood she was just a dream character (as was I), but not completely enough to let go of her feelings, and so I had to take her feelings into account because her belief in existence created real suffering which I had to be careful not to make worse (in this case, by being nice and not implying that these people are stupid).

I completely agree that the mind can only construct through previous experience and learned axioms and that these experiences cannot exist in a vacuum. I have also read a bit on the ideas that these experiences echo the thoughts of Jung and his archetypes but, having read Jung, have not been very convinced. My interest is similarly in self discovery and trying to come to my own conclusions on why I have seen what I have seen - experienced what I have experienced etc.
To this point, I have had a hard time both integrating the experiences and mapping them to something digestible to the conscious, self reflecting mind. My experiences have been very very abstract. Which to be totally honest, is likely the reason for my curiosity. The idea that your conscious mind can have trouble knowing or understanding the motivation of another part of your mind in such a visceral way is fascinating. Interested in your thoughts on this and the best ways to continue exploring! 

Well, curiosity killed the cat, so it can't be all bad, right? Well, if you are the cat, and death is ego death, I mean. But be careful with curiosity because it can be sort of like treadmill (as can ego death). Using it skillfully we can come up with some ideas which we then check to see how they will improve our lives. If the idea does not liberate us, we can discard it, because ultimately, we are looking for (hopefully) the end of suffering, not to publish some academic paper (which nobody will ever read probably, unless they are a competing academic who wishes to argue with you). 

Yes, we have a conscious mind and a subconscious mind which is like 99.999999995% of our mind. Although we do not know every detail (we cannot, given the puny nature of our conscious mind) about our subconscious, we can gather that since we are evolved by nature to survive long enough to reproduce, the subconscious mind is that survival programming. It includes all kinds of tasks, such as receiving sensory data, interpreting it based on memories, binding to other sensory data (hearing to seeing) to build a coherent experience which can be identified with, producing the sense of self to ensure the desire for survival, creating emotions based on the sense of self to further ensure the desire for survival, including sensual lust, anger, love, and so forth.

There are plenty of general guidelines for improving one's experiences in life (and also with psychedelics). For example, do you have a goal when you are taking psychedelics? How long do you meditate on this goal each day? How long do you meditate on this goal prior to taking the psychedelic? Do you continue to meditate on the goal after taking it? What prevents your meditation from continuing? Do you get distracted by images or thoughts? Just let go of each one as it arises, without judgement. If it is too difficult to meditate on the psychedelic, chances are you took too much of the drug. I find that any more than 500-700mg of my acacia confusa powder (2% potent or so) becomes difficult to meditate with, because the thoughts & images project so vividly & constantly.

If you have no goal aside from explaining the mechanisms that create various experiences, then I hope you are happy to have infinite different experiences!

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Is awakening a proper goal for a family man/woman?

Question: "Some of what Eshwar was saying does make me question, if someone becomes so evolved and breaks the cycle, how does that affect their “relationships” in this realm?? Talking more like a wife/husband… having children, etc… I almost feel that if was at that point, prior to getting married, I probably never would have. Which leads me to where does Love fit into this or is that a state in the realm where we should ultimately be? These systems placed onto us ( families, the physical body, my most >hated … TIME, etc.. etc.. )… all just seem like organizational tools."

That link will give you some background info for what I'm basing my answer on. Stage 3 of awakening is still compatible with family life, but at stage 4 you give up all attachments so there's no such thing anymore in your mind as "my family." However, once you go past stage 1 (I'd say I'm at stage 1), you lose most interest in sensual pleasure, so you better hope your spouse is not a very sensual person or else they will become quite disappointed and may feel like you were selfish to pursue awakening. You cannot choose what stage of awakening you go to, but usually people go thru the stages rather than just jump all the way to stage 3 or 4. I suggest, if you have a family, try focusing on "letting go of ego so that you can be a better husband/father." Not so you can stop being reborn--that will be a side-effect which might take another lifetime to complete. With that goal in mind I think that it is most likely you will land at stream entry or stage 1 (probably first having to go thru the True Self delusion), and stay there until your kids are grown and maybe your wife is also ready to advance spiritually with you.

Friday 8 March 2019

Are plant spirits real or are they all in my mind when I eat psychedelic plants?

Here's a conversation that I've had with various people. I'm posting this most recent one so that I don't have to have it again over and over:
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: Being that you have experience with aya and other plant psychedelics, do you believe that these plants have spirits? Or do you believe that any experience with external entities (benevolent or malevoalnt), is really just projections from your own psyche? I understand that Buddhism is not a homogeneous belief system, but what is the Buddhist view of an external reality where spirits and entities dwell, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:34 PM
Message by You: As Ajahn Mun said when asked about this, "Everything is real within its own realm.", Friday, March 8 2019, 10:35 PM
Message by You: within its own context, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:35 PM
Message by You: outside of its context nothing is real, like in a dream, the dream characters are real, but outside the dream they are not, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:35 PM
Message by You: "your" psyche is a concept which is just as abstract as "things outside your pscyhe" -- your psyche after all being nothing but the things that make it up, all of which are originally from "outside" of it, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:36 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: I'm reading the psychedelic experience: a manual based on the Tibetan book of the dead, and it seems to suggest that everything in the psychedelic state is the minds internal creation. But I looked around and it seems that some Buddhist schools of thought believe in deities and spirits, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:38 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: So I'm a little confused, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:38 PM
Message by You: am i real or am i in your psyche?, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:38 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: You are real but only because I have the perceptual apparatus to engage with you, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:40 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: I suppose, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:40 PM
Message by You: The idea that I am real is not one that I hold. It is one that you hold. What I understand is that I am just the convergence point between various sense streams (which was what buddha taught)., Friday, March 8 2019, 10:41 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: I guess what I'm trying to get at is: is there any real way for me to determine the truth value of the statament "plants have spirits. When we ingest these plants, the spirits communicate with us", Friday, March 8 2019, 10:41 PM
Message by You: I don't think that can be determined as true or false outside of the context of the reality of any being, since reality is always indistinguishable from a dream state... however, perhaps it is more worthwhile to try to use that statement for what it is trying to convey that may be useful. In other words, each plant seems to have a particular spirit that is unique to itself. If you want to talk to Mother Ayahuasca, don't eat San Pedro. Understand?, Friday, March 8 2019, 10:43 PM
Message by You: Another way of looking at it is, You Are What You Eat. That is literally true. Your mind is made up of your brain functioning from what science says, and that brain is made up of atoms which are mostly from the food you eat, and the psychedelic plants as well. When you ingest a psychedelic plant, your experience changes as you merge with the "spirit" (configuration of atoms perhaps you might say) of that plant., Friday, March 8 2019, 10:45 PM
Message by You: If the configuration of atoms in your brain can be called 'You" or "your spirit," then we may as well call the configuration of atoms in a psychedelic plant as the spirit of that plant., Friday, March 8 2019, 10:47 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: I understand your point about the broader question of what constitutes reality in the first place, and that arguably reality only exists because we have the perceptual apparatus to conceive it. But I am questioning the reality of the plant spirits from within the contextual reality that we already exist in. When we take these plants, are we communing with a world that already exists but that we are now able to tap into like an antenna, or is it merely something that the mind is producing based on its nuerochemistry?, Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:32 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: This is a little confusing me to. Suppose you write a 100 digit number on your wall right now. I don't know what this number is and I have no way of knowing. Then i take ayahuasca, and ask it's 'spirit' what that number is and write it down. Then when the experience is over, I tell you what that number is, and you verify it to be the same number that I told you. And we repeat this experiment a hundred times, and I always get the numbers right. What would this mean?, Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:36 PM
Message by You: It would indicate that ayahuasca is helping you to see further than normal, perhaps., Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:37 PM
Message by You: You are still talking about your mind as if it is separate from the rest of the universe. There are things in your mind but those are not as real as the conventional reality. That is how you see things. In the ultimate reality this is not true, your mind is not something apart from the universe nor is it all one thing. Interdependent processes automatically perfect without identity. ... now imagine if the alien you talk to on ayahuasca came down to your house and met your family. Would it then be only in your head? How do you know? Maybe you are still hallucinating all that? Or maybe it's a mass-hypnosis thing., Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:39 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: Would it mean that ayahuasca is a unique and conscious entity, like I am, and so its spirit is 'real'?, Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:40 PM
Message by You: no, how would it mean that?, Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:40 PM
Message by You: look for the simplest answer first, don't complicate stuff, Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:40 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: Also sorry if I'm not making any sense, Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:41 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: Ok let me think about what you just said, Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:41 PM
Message by You: It's impossible to truly know anything because it is all based on your perception of things. We can just say things like well, based on this and this assumption, I'm certain of this answer., Saturday, March 9 2019, 4:43 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: Ok when you speak about what is real, do you make the distinction between the objective and the subjective?, Saturday, March 9 2019, 6:33 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: Also can't we say that certain events happen regardless of our perceptual apparatus? If a bulb exploded in my room, is it not objectively true that this event happened, regardless of whether or not someone was there to perceive It?, Saturday, March 9 2019, 6:37 PM
Message by Usman Asad In Canada: Would numbers not be real if nobody had discovered them?, Saturday, March 9 2019, 6:38 PM
Message by You: Objective reality cannot be described accurately, which is why when it is known, it is known as "suchness"... you are not grasping the difference between reality (sounds, sights, thoughts) vs concepts of reality. "Light bulb" is a concept about an aspect of reality. Numbers are a way of conceptualizing reality also. Nothing actually exists objectively as any specific thing., Monday, March 11 2019, 9:44 AM