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Thread: The Watcher

  1. #1

    The Watcher

    Someone brought up this watcher thing a while ago, and I'd like to straighten some stuff out about this "Watcher".

    Read these sentences very carefully (I know you've read them a thousand times. Read them again.)

    To study the way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self and be enlightened by myriad things.

    To be enlightened by myriad things means there is no "you". There is no "watcher". There is only "this". Activity presenting itself as this. The crickets make sounds. We don't say "That is a cricket making a sound and I hear it." No. The cricket just makes the sound and that's it. No watching going on. Just the sound. Then we get on with it.

    The touch of a hand on hand. We don't say "this is what my hand touching my other hand feels like". No. There is only the feeling or "sensory stuff". We don't focus on it making it a big deal. So this can be said like: "What presents itself, presents itself as itself without commentary or a need to justify that this is whatever it is." Just moment to moment. You are the sounds or touch.

    Myriad things present themselves (Not just one or two). There is so much stuff going on that if we try to notice (or focus) on everything, it would drive us bonkers. However, we can let the myriad things come forth. There is no separation.

    This is what's meant by: goalless sitting, not trying, or Zazen is action/activity.


    Gassho

    W

  2. #2

    Re: The Watcher

    Hi Will,

    Perhaps what you describe is also not-not the Watcher?

    (By the way, Master Dogen used to like to refer to such 'whatchamacallits' with question words ... like 'What' ... Please look from near the bottom on page 90 here ...

    http://books.google.com/books?id=pHFJpe ... t&resnum=1

  3. #3
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: The Watcher

    Thank you, Will. This is a very important point. Let's all watch out!

    gassho


    Taigu

  4. #4

    Re: The Watcher

    Hi.

    _/_

    "Do not separate between hot and cold"

    I wonder who wrote that?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  5. #5

    Re: The Watcher

    I take it The Watcher is the same as Witness Consciousness? I have just read
    "Witness consciousness usually arises when there is familiarity with more subtle levels of relative
    consciousness through the practice of zazen. Witness consciousness can refine and become more frequent,
    but Present Awareness is fully present through all changing states and is the true Impersonal Self that
    One already is. That which can be gained can also be lost, but that which never changes is the real
    Self."

    Jenny

  6. #6

    Re: The Watcher

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny
    I take it The Watcher is the same as Witness Consciousness? I have just read
    "Witness consciousness usually arises when there is familiarity with more subtle levels of relative
    consciousness through the practice of zazen. Witness consciousness can refine and become more frequent,
    but Present Awareness is fully present through all changing states and is the true Impersonal Self that
    One already is. That which can be gained can also be lost, but that which never changes is the real
    Self."

    Jenny
    Hi Jen,

    Might you provide a source for the quote, the teacher. Is it Mr. Tolle's Power of Now?

    I am generally very cautious about such teachings. My nutshell reason is this:

    The focus of practice can quickly become merging and being "one with" some "Cosmic Spirit" ... versus living, merging, being at one with this very "just right here" life. I am not saying whether there is or is not (or is/not/is not/whatever 8) ) a "Cosmic Spirit" or "Great Consciousness" or the like ... just that our practice of Zen is somewhat unconcerned with that (though some teachers might be pulled in that direction ... not too many of which I am aware).

    As I often say ...

    If there is a Cosmic Spirit/The Watcher/Witness Consciousness ... chop wood and fetch water.

    And is there is no Cosmic Spirit/The Watcher/Witness Consciousness ... chop wood and fetch water.


    I wrote more about this whole topic here.

    viewtopic.php?p=9740#p9740

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7

    Re: The Watcher

    All things just as they are - nothing added or taken away
    but on the other hand
    Seeing the joy/sadness/boredom/excitement etc in all things

    Juts nooddling

    Jools

  8. #8

    Re: The Watcher

    All things just as they are - nothing added or taken away
    but on the other hand
    Seeing the joy/sadness/boredom/excitement etc in all things
    Looking deep.
    Letting go.
    Opening up.

    But I can't say it. Sitting sits.


    _/_

  9. #9

    Re: The Watcher

    Jundo you were almost right in your guess - the quote wasn't from Tolle but from someone I was
    corresponding with who would be in the Non-Duality/Advaita bracket. Although is Zen not also Non-Duality
    teaching?
    Jenny

  10. #10

    Re: The Watcher

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny
    Although is Zen not also Non-Duality teaching?
    Yes and no.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  11. #11

    Re: The Watcher

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny
    Although is Zen not also Non-Duality teaching?
    Yes and no.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Well, that's half right, Bansho. I would say no and yes.

  12. #12

    Re: The Watcher

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny
    Although is Zen not also Non-Duality teaching?
    Yes and no.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Well, that's half right, Bansho. I would say no and yes.
    :lol:

  13. #13

    Re: The Watcher

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Someone brought up this watcher thing a while ago, and I'd like to straighten some stuff out about this "Watcher".
    OK . . . (confusion and delusion are part of enlightenment too. Things usually straighten themselves out. Maybe not on our time-table, but on their own . . . no problem).

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    To be enlightened by myriad things means there is no "you". There is no "watcher". There is only "this". Activity presenting itself as this. The crickets make sounds. We don't say "That is a cricket making a sound and I hear it." No. The cricket just makes the sound and that's it. No watching going on. Just the sound. Then we get on with it.

    The touch of a hand on hand. We don't say "this is what my hand touching my other hand feels like". No. There is only the feeling or "sensory stuff". We don't focus on it making it a big deal. So this can be said like: "What presents itself, presents itself as itself without commentary or a need to justify that this is whatever it is." Just moment to moment. You are the sounds or touch.

    Myriad things present themselves (Not just one or two). There is so much stuff going on that if we try to notice (or focus) on everything, it would drive us bonkers. However, we can let the myriad things come forth. There is no separation.

    This is what's meant by: goalless sitting, not trying, or Zazen is action/activity.
    Very nicely said.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  14. #14
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Watcher

    Romper Room version:
    DO BE the sitter.
    DON'T BE the watcher.
    :P

  15. #15

    Re: The Watcher

    Yes, Jundo, I see what you mean. What is my actual daily experience without all the "head-stuff"? It is chopping wood and carrying water. Sometimes I realise I resent the chopping and carrying, wishing it could
    be different or that I could be elsewhere. Other times it is o.k. and just the next thing to be done. My
    sitting practice helps me to notice both. To quote Susuki Roshi "Reality can said to be the bed that is
    deep and soft enough to accept everything as it is".

    I re-read your original post on the subject. Thank you for reminding me. I see poor old Eckhart has been
    resurrected again from our old post of April 08!

    Jenny

  16. #16

    Re: The Watcher

    (confusion and delusion are part of enlightenment too. Things usually straighten themselves out.
    Yeah. Just thought I'd bust some n*ts. As usual :roll:



    Gassho _/_

  17. #17

    Re: The Watcher

    Actually, this post popped up out of an insight that I had. Nothing really to do with the previous poster. Just something on ego manifestation and taking a different turn than that of Soto Zen.

    W

  18. #18

    Re: The Watcher

    Hello All,
    Thought this an interesting article .... might be helpful to some in understanding the actual dynamics of 'no self'
    Free Will: The Last Gasp of the Unenlightend Mind by Jay Michaelson to be found at
    http://www.realitysandwich.com/free_will
    (.. don't know how to make this into a direct link)

    Greetings and gassho
    Nadi (who does not post often here but is very much with you all and grateful for your teachings)

  19. #19

    Re: The Watcher

    Quote Originally Posted by Bids
    Hello All,
    Thought this an interesting article .... might be helpful to some in understanding the actual dynamics of 'no self'
    Free Will: The Last Gasp of the Unenlightend Mind by Jay Michaelson to be found at
    http://www.realitysandwich.com/free_will
    (.. don't know how to make this into a direct link)

    Greetings and gassho
    Nadi (who does not post often here but is very much with you all and grateful for your teachings)
    Hi Bids,

    We had a thread on "free will" awhile back. To cut to the chase, Buddhism allows for "free will" as well as "determinism" (in other words, it depends on how ya look at it). Certainly, we are bound by cause and effect head to foot ... yet we have volition.

    Here is the thread ...

    viewtopic.php?p=22867#p22867

    I am not saying that the debate is any more settled in the Buddhist philosophical world than in Western philosophy, but in general, Buddhism walks the razors edge on the issue.

    Likewise, in Buddhism, the "self" is a fiction, a dream ... yet as real as real can be (who am I writing to if not you?). The "self" is a conventional truth, and a falsehood ... but true nonetheless.

    Gassho, Jundo

  20. #20

    Re: The Watcher

    Dear Jundo,
    Thank you for your reply. Hope my reference was not too much off topic for this thread .
    I found the article personally helpful in seeing how the 'enlightenment by myriad of things' (mentiond in Will's earlier mail), and how the 'dream' that dreams the 'self'' actually evolves (- or at least one take on how it evolves). Of course words on paper or the ideas they stimulate are no substitute for 'full reality contact' however I do sometimes find they help in pointing the way.

    Thank you for the link.

    Gassho
    Nadi

  21. #21

    Re: The Watcher

    Thanks Nadi. It is good for folks to use any means to realize the "self as fiction, dream" part of the equation ... because most of us have no problem with the "self feels real" part.

    In the end, so long as we are alive, it is good and necessary to see "both views at once, not two" (Dogen called this a "dream within a dream" ... not real and as real as real can be ... a fiction, and a jewel ... it may be a dream, but it is our dream, life). . But to get to that point, one must realize the dream as a dream.

    Gassho, Jundo (a fiction, but just Jundo)

  22. #22

    Re: The Watcher

    Sorry to "rebirth" this old thread but I've been trying to catch up on all the interesting dialogs that go on around here and I stumbled onto this conversation late in the game.

    A lot of people have trouble getting their brains over the "mental speed bump" of being the subject and the object at the same time.
    How the heck is this possible, right?

    So this reminded me of the ONE thing I got out of reading that massive, impenetrable tome "Zen and the Brain" by James Austin.
    (I swear to God that book is chloroform in print...)

    There's one little section when Dr. Austin suggests an experiment you can play with at home.
    (But not too much or you'll go blind.)

    Ready? Close your eyes.
    Take your right forefinger and rub it along the length of your left forefinger. Imagine in your mind the shape of what you are feeling.
    It's a finger shaped object! (DUH!)
    You can detect the bumps and wrinkles of your knuckles, hairs, etc.
    Now, reverse the experiment; take your left forefinger and trace the length of your right forefinger.

    So what just happened here?
    At some point your right forefinger stopped being the "feeler" (aka subject) and started being the "felt object".
    Your left forefinger also reversed its role.
    It did so seamlessly. Do it again and try to notice the exact moment that your finger changes roles.
    Ooooo. Creepy!
    I know it's a lame party trick but it's a nifty way to illustrate a point.

    So what you're feeling is a subtle shift in perspective.
    Even though your left and right hands are connected to the same body/mind you still fabricate the illusion in your head that there is a subject and an object.
    (Don't forget: you're feeling yourself! No subject, no object, just YOU.)

    The only reason your brain can't accommodate being the subject and the object at the same time is because of a learned habit.
    Food for thought anyway...

    Gassho,
    -K2

  23. #23
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: The Watcher

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny
    Jundo you were almost right in your guess - the quote wasn't from Tolle but from someone I was
    corresponding with who would be in the Non-Duality/Advaita bracket. Although is Zen not also Non-Duality
    teaching?
    Jenny
    Sounds a lot like Adyashanti, actually.

    Chet

  24. #24
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Watcher

    On second thought, I think it is better to be the watcher than the person so lost in delusion they aren't aware enough to even see they are so lost in delusion. So maybe a continuum: lost....... watcher....... sitter.

    To use the old our mind-thoughts are like sediment in a glass analogy: To be lost is to have the glass being shaken so much all the dirt is floating all over; to be watching is to notice the glass is shaking and then letting it stop; to be the just sitter is to let the sediment of our minds begin to settle to the bottom.

    To just sit is still the non-goal, but I need to just watch before I can let it go enough to just sit. So maybe watching is a developmental way-station along the way to just sitting. There might not be anything wrong with watching, but we gotta let it go, too.

  25. #25

    Re: The Watcher

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    To use the old our mind-thoughts are like sediment in a glass analogy: To be lost is to have the glass being shaken so much all the dirt is floating all over; to be watching is to notice the glass is shaking and then letting it stop; to be the just sitter is to let the sediment of our minds begin to settle to the bottom.

    To just sit is still the non-goal, but I need to just watch before I can let it go enough to just sit. So maybe watching is a developmental way-station along the way to just sitting. There might not be anything wrong with watching, but we gotta let it go, too.
    Some quotes come to mind ...

    "The lotus shrine has never been tainted by the mud in the water" (Eihei Koroku 5-404)

    "Practicing Buddhas are free from obstruction as they penetrate the vital path of being splattered by mud and soaked in water" (Shobogenzo Gyobutsu Igi)

  26. #26

    Re: The Watcher

    Posted before seeing Jundo's post _/_:
    Alan
    To just sit is still the non-goal, but I need to just watch before I can let it go enough to just sit. So maybe watching is a developmental way-station along the way to just sitting. There might not be anything wrong with watching, but we gotta let it go, too.
    If asked "What is a bird?", we point and say "that's a bird". If asked "What is that sound?", we say "that's traffic". Skim through Shunryu Suzuki's writings. Also there is a video on youtube of Shunryu talking. Maybe listen to that.

    Edit: Also, The part of the quote to Study the self is relevant. Where can we start but right here, on the cushion, with our habits, thinking, reactions and so on.

    Shobogenzo: Zanmai-O-Zanmai

    We should investigate: at the very moment we are sitting, are all realms vertical? Are they horizontal? At the very moment we are sitting, what about that sitting? Is it a flip? Is it “brisk and lively”? Is it thinking? Is it not thinking? Is it making? Is it without making? Are we sitting within sitting? Are we sitting within body and mind? Are we sitting having sloughed off “within sitting,” “within body and mind,” and so on? We should investigate one thousand points, ten thousand points, such as these.
    Gassho

  27. #27
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Watcher

    I don't disagree at all. I'm just saying sometimes (I may have left that important word out) you need to watch before you can not watch. A developmental approach can be helpful to people, steps on the path, that sort of thing. I have seen watching the thoughts given as a beginner step in meditation, and then once you can watch you can learn to drop watching.

    Also, if I just stop shaking the water in that glass, I don't need to watch the dirt in it settle; the dirt will just settle on its own.

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