Results 1 to 29 of 29

Thread: Science Catches Up to Buddhism: The Lying Self

  1. #1

    Science Catches Up to Buddhism: The Lying Self

    Hey Guys,

    It is good when science sometimes catches up with Buddhism.

    A very good interview with a neuroscientist on the illusion of "self" and other aspects ... many negative, but many positive and necessary to human life ... of our internal "self-deceptions".

    Julian Paul Keenan researches the neural correlates of the self and deception, with a natural interest in how the brain generates self-deception. He is a Professor of Biology and Molecular Biology, and a Professor of Psychology at Montclair State University. He is the founder of the journal Social Neuroscience.
    You & Your Brain - Julian Keenan
    http://www.ttbook.org/book/you-your-brain-julian-keenan

    My one real objection is a comment he makes toward the end, when he states that research has shown that people suffering depression may actually have a more "realistic" view of the world. I believe he is referring to this research:

    Depressive realism is the hypothesis developed by Lauren Alloy and Lyn Yvonne Abramson[1] that depressed individuals make more realistic inferences than do non-depressed individuals. Although depressed individuals are thought to have a negative cognitive bias that results in recurrent, negative automatic thoughts, maladaptive behaviors, and dysfunctional world beliefs,[2][3][4] depressive realism argues not only that this negativity may reflect a more accurate appraisal of the world but also that non-depressed individuals' appraisals are positively biased.[5] This theory remains very controversial, as it brings into question the mechanism of change that cognitive behavioral therapy for depression purports to target.[6] While some of the evidence currently supports the plausibility of depressive realism, its effect may be restricted to a select few situations.[7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depress...idence_against

    Probing the puzzling workings of 'depressive realism'
    New studies hint depressed people may not factor context into judgments as much as the nondepressed--putting a new twist on the 'real' part of depressive realism. ... By introducing new conditions into the experimental paradigm commonly used to study depressive realism, the researchers found that apparent depressive realism may actually come from depressed people not using all the available evidence to judge the facts, relative to nondepressed people.
    "This is a very well-conducted piece of research that undermines the evidence that the depressed may in some cases make sounder judgments than the nondepressed," says Brewin. But he notes that the data, while promising, will need further investigation and elaboration as psychologists revise their understanding of depression.

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr05/realism.aspx
    It seems that, not only is the evidence for this very mixed, but that the definition of "more realistic" may have a very narrow meaning. This is "more realistic" in a very narrow sense.

    Buddhism might say that "depression" is not "realistic" because it is just an emotional interpretation imposed upon "what is", as well as one that tends to focus upon the negative aspects and "worst case scenarios" excessively. Same for "postive" viewpoints, except that we rather uncover thru this Practice as certain "Big P" Positive that sweeps in all small human value judgments. We have discussed this is other recent threads ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post153279

    Also, Dr. Keenan, at the end of the interview, seems to say that Buddhism is about "losing our sense of self", which shows that he needs to learn a bit more about Buddhism in all its aspects. I would describe Zen Practice, for example, as balancing and fully transcending our "small self", and seeing thru many of our "self deceptions", even as we continue to live with our sense of self (illusory or not) and many of those very necessary-for-life "deceptions" (dropping away many of the harmful or counterproductive deceptions too), all as one finds one's True Self!

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-03-2015 at 01:55 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Hello,

    Thank you for the link.


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  3. #3
    Hi,

    -"Depressive realism is the hypothesis developed by Lauren Alloy and Lyn Yvonne Abramson[1] that depressed individuals make more realistic inferences than do non-depressed individuals. Although depressed individuals are thought to have a negative cognitive bias that results in recurrent, negative automatic thoughts, maladaptive behaviors, and dysfunctional world beliefs,[2][3][4] depressive realism argues not only that this negativity may reflect a more accurate appraisal of the world but also that non-depressed individuals' appraisals are positively biased.[5] This theory remains very controversial, as it brings into question the mechanism of change that cognitive behavioral therapy for depression purports to target.[6] While some of the evidence currently supports the plausibility of depressive realism, its effect may be restricted to a select few situations."

    This is a flawed hypothesis. The opposite can be argued with no additional information or scientific studies whatsoever.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo ... will have a listen. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #justsat
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo.

    It's a great audio for all interested in evolutionary psychology. I need to read that book!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  6. #6
    Neuroscience and Buddhism find themselves overlapping more and more lately, especially in regards to the illusion of the self. Our brains are programmed to play a lot of tricks on us to enable this false perception.

    Other books about this:
    'The Self Illusion' by Bruce Hood
    'Who's in Charge?' by Michael Gazzaniga

    Sat today

  7. #7
    Thank you, Jundo--Interesting! Glad to hear someone in the scientific mainstream talking about the illusory nature of the self! I really question some of Keenan's conclusions though, for example, that we might as well go along with the illusion. Really? This reminds me of the classic therapeutic question, 'Would you rather be happy or would you rather be right?' In any case, haven't we learned that illusion can only lead to suffering? Keenan warns (I think) that we might get depressed if we have a clearer view of reality.

    This leads to the question of whether depressed people perhaps do have a clearer view--the idea of 'depressive realism' that you mention. There's a famous study--I would like to link to it but can't seem to find it online. Perhaps someone else has more information. A group of people identified as 'depressed' and a group identified as 'non-depressed' were asked to deliver speeches to another group of people. The audience was asked to rate each speaker's speech, and each speaker was also asked to rate him/herself. The depressed speakers had much higher correlations between their self-ratings and the audience's rating of them. The non-depressed speakers' ratings had much lower correlations, with the non-depressed speakers tending to have higher opinions of their speeches than the audience did. The differences were statistically significant.

    Having a history of depression, this is interesting to me. I have always mistrusted cognitive therapy, where, for example, roughly speaking, you try to 'change' your thoughts from negative to positive ones. I tend to want to know what's 'real', not what might make me feel better. And then there are antidepressant meds. When they work, could it be because they're blocking out some kinds of information that are not based on illusion?

    The Wikipedia article on depressive realism says, "This theory remains very controversial, as it brings into question the mechanism of change that cognitive behavioral therapy for depression purports to target." There's a pretty big industry based on cognitive behavioral therapy that might push back hard against the theory.

    Buddhism is appealing because it seems to be about how things 'really' are and seems to make one feel better as well! What could go wrong?

    Of course, this leaves out all the Zen questions--Is anything real? Is anything 'right'? Is anything true? Is there any I to feel better? But we seem to be on this plane for now.


    _/\_

    Luciana

    st

  8. #8
    Ooh, this is interesting!. Thank you, Jundo.

    Perceiving reality as it is with our game playing, interprative minds seems rather like holding a handful of water. Grab tight and you can't hold it (small self/attachment). Cup lightly and some may still trickle away but some remains. And this my brain made up because it can't yet understand reality as it is. I may be mistaken.

    gassho
    sat today with the darkening skies

  9. #9
    Hi Luciana,

    Quote Originally Posted by Luciana View Post
    Thank you, Jundo--Interesting! Glad to hear someone in the scientific mainstream talking about the illusory nature of the self! I really question some of Keenan's conclusions though, for example, that we might as well go along with the illusion. Really?
    I believe that most Zen Teachers, now and in the past, would express something like, "Well, yes, life is something of a dream from one perspective, with many illusory aspects. However, it is YOUR dream, so dream it well!". It may all be a dream, but live gently, with balance, take care of what needs to be done ... fetch water and chop wood. The water and wood may be dreams, but we are thirsty and have a dream house to heat!

    'Ol Dogen said that we live in a dream within a dream ... a dream so dreamy, one might thus say it is as real as real can be ... a Buddha dreaming a Buddhadream.

    I must agree with the researchers that many "dreams" and "self-deceptions" of life are good and necessary: My feelings for my kid may a dream, but I love him and need to get him fed. Building a rocket to go to the moon may serve no purpose, but is it not lovely that we "self-deceived" ourselves sufficiently as to the worth in order to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luciana View Post
    This reminds me of the classic therapeutic question, 'Would you rather be happy or would you rather be right?' In any case, haven't we learned that illusion can only lead to suffering? Keenan warns (I think) that we might get depressed if we have a clearer view of reality.

    ...

    Having a history of depression, this is interesting to me. I have always mistrusted cognitive therapy, where, for example, roughly speaking, you try to 'change' your thoughts from negative to positive ones. I tend to want to know what's 'real', not what might make me feel better.

    ...

    Buddhism is appealing because it seems to be about how things 'really' are and seems to make one feel better as well! What could go wrong?

    Of course, this leaves out all the Zen questions--Is anything real? Is anything 'right'? Is anything true? Is there any I to feel better? But we seem to be on this plane for now.
    I rather disagree with this in a few of ways. I do not believe the depressed folks or the positive folks are being more "right" about life. They are both imposing interpretations and value judgments. If you would like a baseline for what is not an imposed value judgment, I would suggest asking a stone, a mountain, a tree or star about whether something in life is good or bad or "successful". I bet that they would answer with silence. Anything beyond that is a human viewpoint.

    And if you are going to assert that depressed folks are better analyzers of facts and predictors of the future, I would say that generally they will win some lose some. Yes, a positive person may be "overly optimistic", seeing with rose colored glasses, overlooking the situation on the ground. All the "positive thoughts" and "crossed fingers" won't get a tower to stand up if the architecture is wrong. On the other hand (and I have been there myself in the past when depressed), all the "sky is falling" thinking, the "giving up cause we are bound to fail" emotions, the "two scared and sad to get out of bed", the "seeing the glass as half empty" predictions may not truly reflect the situation either. The tower will stand, despite our hopelessness, if the architecture is right.

    A Zen fellow might say that the glass is neither half full nor half empty. It is simply the glass, the water as it is. Further, let's keep working carrying water, and the whole is both Full and Empty from the start. I am reminded of this other wet Koan too ...

    Szan asked Elder Toku, “'The true Dharma-body of Buddha is like the
    empty sky. It manifests its form corresponding to things – just like the moon on
    the water.' How do you explain the principle of this corresponding?” Toku said,
    “It is like a donkey looking into a well.” Szan said, “You put it in a nice way, but
    you were able to say only eighty percent.” Toku said, “How about you, Master?”
    Szan said, “It is like a well looking at a donkey.”


    A nice discussion of this Koan in the chapter from page 161 here ...
    https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=...key%22&f=false

    Some describe "Zenmind" as being like a mirror which reflects whatever comes in front of it without putting on filters. The moon of enlightenment fills each puddle and dew drop and vast ocean of this world. This means that enlightenment shines right at the heart of every thing of the world, each person, every event of life for those who can see.

    I am no expert, but we had a recent discussion of "cognitive therapy" and some related therapies, and their connection or roots in Buddhism. It was very interesting. I would say that there is tremendous value in changing our thoughts, especially the excessive, self-destructive and other damaging kinds.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-Dark-Thoughts

    In other words, even assuming life is a dream ... there are positive dreams and nightmares. I would advise dreaming dreams which emphasize peace over violence, satisfaction and moderation over greed and excess, wholeness and cooperation over conflict and tension, love over hate, etc. Find the light that shines through and as this world. One does not need to be a "cockeyed optimist" or a "wallowing, woo is me depressive" ... and one can keep one's eyes open and look honestly at the world, both the beautiful and ugly aspects. However, I would advice to do so with a content, loving and peaceful heart.

    So, there is actually something unavoidably positive in Buddhist imagery. There is a light that shines right through you, and you through it.

    Gassho, J

    Sat well today like a donkey.

    Last edited by Jundo; 06-04-2015 at 11:18 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Thanks, Jundo.

    Will have to think about all of this, and will check out the Dark Thoughts on the forum.

    Hee-haw, and gassho,

    L.

    st

  11. #11
    Hi !

    Yup, it's interesting. But why don't these guys have philosophical training in their career ? All this stuff about free will etc. is hundreds of years old !

    It's always funny when scientist talk about "illusion". Illusion compared to what ? It's as if there would be a "real" world that they could somehow access below the "illusion". But all the science we develop and the "truths" we establish still are contained in our perceptions and subjectivity. The concept of "illusion", if you think about it, is quite empty... There is no "realer" world out there ! You get what you get : perceptions, sense of self, thoughts etc. Saying it's an illusion only works if you believe there is another, stable, real world, which is impossible ; and it is only deceptive if you thought, in the first place, that you knew the absolute truth about this "real world". Which is quite arrogant.

    I like the interview, i just find it disappointing that they systematically interpret our experience as a deceptive lie (oh the drama), when it's not more of a lie than anything else really.

    Anyway, thanks for posting it !

    Gassho

    Ugrok,

    Sat Today

  12. #12
    I found the interview very interesting, but personally I'm very suspicious when neuroscientists make claims about big questions. That's just an opinion, of course


    In the interview, Keenan says:
    One of the things the self may be doing is leading you to believe you have free will when you have no free will... series of elegant experiments from the 80's by Libet

    I apologise for writing like a simpleton, but this is the briefest way I can express this.

    Four questions and three answers:

    Q1. What does Keenan say we're deluded about?
    A1. He says we think we have free will but we don't. Interestingly, this is not a conclusion Libet drew from his own experiments.

    Q2. What does Buddhism say we're deluded about?
    A1. Our whole view of our selves and reality.

    Q3. What does Buddhism say about free will?
    A3. My answer is that free-will emerges from an understanding of the theory of karma. If you understand karma, then you can act so that positive karmic seeds are planted, leading to positive karmic fruits. Karma is intention and intention implies free will. (Personally I'm not a fan of 'karma' as a theory of cause and effect, but I am a fan of free will. That's just an opinion, of course ).

    Q4. Who's right, Keenan or Buddhism?

    The reason I'm suspicious when neuroscientists say they've got answers to big questions is that I think they're looking in totally the wrong place.

    Gassho,
    Jeremy
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Jeremy; 06-07-2015 at 03:54 AM.

  13. #13
    Hi Jeremy, and everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy
    Who's right, Keenan or Buddhism?
    This article: http://www.iflscience.com/physics/me...antum-universe talks about that reality, from a scientific point of view, actually only starts to exist once it is observed.
    On a flat piece of paper I would still vote for Buddhism being right to start with, since indeed the glass is neither half full nor half empty until one calls it so. It seems even tiny particles/waves feel the same way about that.

    Gassho,


    Ongen / Vincent
    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ongen View Post
    Hi Jeremy, and everyone
    This article: http://www.iflscience.com/physics/me...antum-universe talks about that reality, from a scientific point of view, actually only starts to exist once it is observed.
    On a flat piece of paper I would still vote for Buddhism being right to start with, since indeed the glass is neither half full nor half empty until one calls it so. It seems even tiny particles/waves feel the same way about that.
    Hi Vincent,
    Yes, I too like what Buddhism says about free will and about our deluded little selves. For what it's worth, I think viewing these as socially constructed is very illuminating. Just another opinion.
    Gassho,
    Jeremy
    SatToday
    Last edited by Jeremy; 06-08-2015 at 09:05 PM.

  15. #15
    Hi guys,

    I have sat with this for a few days since it's a topic I am very interested in, and I think Mr. Keenan is right on the spot on how our personality and ego are illusions created by us to make us understand and relate to our living experience.

    Think about this: put in your mind the last time you were hungry. You felt it in your stomach, in your head or maybe you felt a little dizzy. That was your body, your biology, sending a clear message that you needed nourishment. That's reality. Something that can't be changed regardless of what our opinions or faith are.

    Maybe half a second or a full second later you put in your mind a picture of your favorite food. It could've been pizza, sushi or tacos. It was food and no matter what your inclinations are, food is food and we need it to keep on living.

    When hungry we feel the urge for nourishment and it's a little later when personality kicks in with a preference.

    This also happens when we feel lonely, when we feel humiliated or angry. The primate part of us sends us messages and then we create a monologue about it that goes along with the personality we have been building.

    Now of course this doesn't mean it's bad or anything. I just find it fascinating.

    Understanding this might be great help when dealing with emotions like anger or sadness. Both emotions tell us there's something we need to take care of, but we could be able to see where reality becomes delusion. Seeing this could make it easier to let things go while sitting zazen.

    Or I could be totally wrong, of course

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  16. #16
    Kyonin, I think that you're right.

    _/\_

    L.

    st

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    I have sat with this for a few days since it's a topic I am very interested in, and I think Mr. Keenan is right on the spot on how our personality and ego are illusions created by us to make us understand and relate to our living experience...
    Thanks Kyonin - I think you've put into words what seems right about Julian Keenan's message. I'm going slightly off at a tangent, but I think it's worth bringing up "Mindfulness" here...

    Your descriptions of patterns of thoughts, emotions and impulses accords very much with what is taught on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) courses in the UK, as described in the book "Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world"
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mindfulness-...+frantic+world
    http://franticworld.com/

    MBCT deliberately stays on the surface, so it doesn't look for causes, and doesn't go so far as to say that an illusory ego is the underlying cause of our mental and emotional patterns, but it does provide a theoretical framework (fairly lightweight) around the patterns of impulses/thoughts/feelings which you describe. For example, when we experience anger, it would say that there are bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings and impulses which can all feed off each other with feedback loops, so that what might start off as a small problem becomes a big problem, with our head spinning and spinning, dragging our mood down, and often this becomes a pattern in the way we respond to events. Mindfulness uses a range of meditations to provide practical ways of getting ourselves out of negative patterns of emotion/thought and getting into positive patterns. For example, as a way to better deal with anger, it suggests focusing in on the bodily sensations, recognising that our thoughts are not 'the truth' (Charlotte Joko Beck talks about much the same thing in "Everyday Zen"). The 'Befriending Meditation' at http://franticworld.com/free-meditat...m-mindfulness/ is a Metta meditation which will sound very familiar to people here. Overall, MBCT is very pragmatic and I like it a lot. The 'Frantic World' book and MBCT course are (in my opinion ) very, very good.

    As to underlying causes, even if we agree that the illusory ego (sometimes called "deluded self", or "fictional ego") is behind our lived experience, there are lots of ways of looking at how the illusory ego is created. Keenan looks to neuropsychology; Buddhism says (amongst other things) that ignorance is the root; social psychologists would look at how social processes shape our sense of self/ego and I'm sure there are many other approaches. The way I look at it, it's not so much that one view is right and the others are wrong. It's that some ways of looking at the causes are more illuminating and revealing than others. Also, and perhaps more importantly, some ways of looking at it show us practical routes to break down and release us from our negative patterns, a way out of our suffering.

    Gassho,
    Jeremy
    Will sit later
    Last edited by Jeremy; 06-09-2015 at 03:03 PM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    The way I look at it, it's not so much that one view is right and the others are wrong. It's that some ways of looking at the causes are more illuminating and revealing than others. Also, and perhaps more importantly, some ways of looking at it show us practical routes to break down and release us from our negative patterns, a way out of our suffering.
    Hi Jeremy!

    Yes, I think several schools of thought have it right about the self. Even some ancient Greek wise men had it right when they understood that the self is just an illusion. I have find it liberating because I know when a thought is starting to take control and it's something I created in my mind.

    This very morning I had an experience of the like. I was sitting zazen and angst came to visit because of work related stuff. I felt it pressing my chest. I understood where it came from and why it was here. I tried to look at it as a thought created by me, but angst is not me by any means. I welcomed the feeling and let it drift away.

    Not sure if that made sense. The thing is that when knowing we create thoughts rather than saying that we are thoughts, it's easier to let them go.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    This very morning I had an experience of the like. I was sitting zazen and angst came to visit because of work related stuff. I felt it pressing my chest. I understood where it came from and why it was here. I tried to look at it as a thought created by me, but angst is not me by any means. I welcomed the feeling and let it drift away.

    Not sure if that made sense...
    Yes. Made perfect sense. The MBCT course has a specific meditation which teaches exactly this, called "Exploring Difficulty". (One reason I'm bringing up mindfulness is that I know there's some scepticism about it in some Buddhist circles).

    Gassho,
    Jeremy
    Will sit later

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    Yes. Made perfect sense. The MBCT course has a specific meditation which teaches exactly this, called "Exploring Difficulty". (One reason I'm bringing up mindfulness is that I know there's some scepticism about it in some Buddhist circles).

    Gassho,
    Jeremy
    Will sit later
    Hi Jeremy,

    I believe Mindfulness is very effective as far as it goes, but it is half a horse. It leaves out many of the most powerful and challenging Teachings of Buddhism, watering things down to something more palatable and less ultimately Liberating.

    So, for example, the point you raised of a MBCT Teaching on just letting the self "be" in the moment. That's wonderful, very helpful and pleasant in its way.

    But if one tries to go further, and point out that the "small self" is something of an illusion as well, that there is Emptiness which is a Fullness which sweeps in and sweeps out "being and not being" and all other dichotomies ... well, people start looking perplexed, and wondering why they need that. The problem with MBCT and similar "Mindfulness" programs is really all the good stuff they leave out!

    We were discussing this a bit on these other threads. Yes, these ways of knocking down the barriers of the mind are challenging, so folks just scratch their heads. It is a bit like folks like to go to "Yoga" classes to day a stretch a bit, forgetting all the tensions from their latest shopping spree at the Mall. They are really not too interested in the more radical Teachings of Indian Yoga.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post155177

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post155321

    Gassho, J

    PS - I don't mean to imply that everything in Traditional Buddhism is great! One finds a lot of superstition, Old Wives Tales, quackery and silliness too that can be done without. However, some of that stuff is definitely worth the price of admission!
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-10-2015 at 06:06 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Yes, mindfulness is therapy which borrows heavily from Buddhist meditation.
    Zen is Zen.
    Something like that

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    Will sit later
    Last edited by Jeremy; 06-10-2015 at 06:48 AM.

  22. #22
    The problem in those mindfulness approaches, and in viewing the "ego" or the "self" as delusional or a "lie", is that it creates more separations, as if there were on one side your "body" and on the other side your "logical thoughts", or your "small false self" and your "big real self", etc. etc. When you describe those meditation techniques, it seems as if there is someone observing something. It can be very interesting and useful (and comfortable) to be able to do this, but it does not solve anything until the "someone", the "something", and the "observing" are dropped.

    It's the same with this idea of "lie" or "delusion". It really seems negative : "oh, i suffer because my ego is lying to me, bad, bad ego !" (by the way, who is that "i" that can "have" a separated "ego" ?). But the idea, i think, is more that there is nothing ultimately true. It's not the same as saying that our thoughts, lives, perceptions are lies. As Deshimaru said, "satori is delusion and delusion is satori", there is no separation, there is no lie. You just get what you get and then you work with it. There is no point saying "this is a lie" or "this is delusion".

    I think the stuff we say to ourselves in the examples above, like "i know this anger is not me but just bodily sensations turning into thoughts which fuel bodily sensations" are just more unneeded thoughts. It can certainly help to be conscious of this, but it does not solve anything and can even be counterproductive, increasing the separation we feel about ourselves. Maybe we should just drop the whole stuff. Anger is anger and angry Ugrok is angry Ugrok, i guess. Our body and minds are not separated, and when we say "this is body, this is mind, this is thought, this is feeling", we just keep on discriminating and separating stuff that just happens as a whole.

    Gassho,

    Ugrok

    Sat Today

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    Yes, mindfulness is therapy which borrows heavily from Buddhist meditation.
    Zen is Zen.
    Something like that

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    Will sit later
    Let me be clear that I was more generally speaking about the limitations of the "Mindfulness Meditation" movement in general for omitting some important aspects of Practice.

    I am actually quite a fan (although as a layman who is not a professional psychologist) of what I understand to be the methods of therapy for suffering people which are Dr. Beck's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy " and so-called "Mindfulness" Therapy, as described here.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-Dark-Thoughts

    I see great benefits in any therapy that teaches us to let harmful thoughts go, and replace them with positive thoughts or silence. But I am a fan because it may bring some relief to depressed, neurotic and otherwise psychologically troubled people in crisis. The real fruits of Buddhism go much beyond that. (I see therapy as somewhat like giving insulin injections to an overweight diabetic to get them over an immediate crisis, but real "Buddhist Practice" as the diet, exercise and healthy living that they truly need beyond that).

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Hi Ugrok,

    I get your point, but maybe it's a question of 'skilful means'. I can only speak for myself, but I have the feeling that dissolving one's conception of one's self (and reality!) would be best tackled with a bunch of techniques. (I'm not particularly trying to do that, by the way).

    For my part, I did a Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy course and found it very illuminating. I've also found studying Tibetan Buddhism on deluded egos, karma, emptiness and all that stuff very challenging and revealing. Reading Zen books is also good for the soul (which doesn't exist). Treeleaf can also play a strong part. Add in a lot of Shikantaza, and maybe the self will dissolve (even though that's not the aim and there is no aim, of course). We each have to find out what works for ourselves.

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    -------------------------------------------

    Hi Jundo

    It surprised me how good MBCT is (I only know about how it's taught in the UK). It's not Buddhism, but it wouldn't be adopted by the National Health Service over here if it was. Judged on its own terms, it's very good


    Gassho
    Jeremy
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Jeremy; 06-10-2015 at 07:05 PM.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post

    For my part, I did a Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy course and found it very illuminating. I've also found studying Tibetan Buddhism on deluded egos, karma, emptiness and all that stuff very challenging and revealing. Reading Zen books is also good for the soul (which doesn't exist). Treeleaf can also play a strong part. Add in a lot of Shikantaza, and maybe the self will dissolve (even though that's not the aim and there is no aim, of course). We each have to find out what works for ourselves.
    Hi Jeremy,

    Let me say that pursuing a variety of Practices is fine ... IF ... one's perspectives and motivations are clear. If not, it may not be good. Let me explain.

    People chase after things ... new car, new clothes, new spiritual practice, next "self-help" book ... in order to find some happiness, contentment and peace. They do not know how to rest, find wholeness in one thing in this moment, drop the need and feelings of lack. Thus, if someone chases after spiritual practices out of a sense of lack and need, we call this "spiritual materialism".

    To combat this, we sit Shikantaza as "the only practice, all that is needed" (but it is important that the nuance be understood). When practicing Shikantaza, SHIKANTAZA MUST BE SHIKANTAZA'D WITH A CERTAIN UNDERSTANDING, to wit:

    Seated Zazen is our ONE AND ONLY practice, for by the very nature of Shikantaza ... when sitting Zazen, there is nothing more to do, nothing more that need be done, no addition needed nor anything to take away. Zazen is complete and whole. No other place to be in all the world, no other place we must (or can) run to. Nothing lacks, all is sacred, and Zazen is the One Liturgy. It is vital to be sat by Zazen with such attitude. Thus, Zazen is sat each day as the One and Whole Practice. If one sits any other way, if one sits with any sensation of "'I' need to fill some hole that is not Whole" ... one kills Zazen, gets nowhere. If one sits Zazen, one need do no other practice!
    Such is the case when sitting Zazen ... and one thus masters how to rest, find wholeness in one thing in this moment, drop the need and feelings of lack.

    However, rising from the cushion, one gets on with life which is all "Zazen" in wider meaning. Then, people can do or not do many things, and it is all "Zazen". One can watch a baseball game or not watch a baseball game, eat a sandwich or eat spaghetti, stand up or sit down, study MBCT or try some Tibetan Practice or not ... doesn't matter. All good.

    All that matters is that you learn to experience the "rest, wholeness, dropping of need and lack" right in and amid this world of motion, need and frequent lack, that they are "not two". Eating a sandwich to fill the need and hunger in one's stomach ... good, whole and complete. Not eating a sandwich and experiencing lack and hunger ... also good, whole and complete. Either way ... good, whole and complete!

    We might even say that folks will not even be able to find the real treasure and fruits in so many of those spiritual practices until they come to realize that none of that was truly necessary, for nothing is lacking right from the start! They won't find until they learn how to radically not chase, and how to be still!

    Understand?

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-11-2015 at 02:56 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    In my adolescent psychology class we touched upon this subject briefly in order to explain behavioral traits in teen and comparisons. I found it interesting then but to break it down like this has really caught my attention. Thanks for sharing this and the articles attached

    Gassho
    James
    Sattoday (just before this Infact)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Let me say that pursuing a variety of Practices is fine ... IF ... one's perspectives and motivations are clear. If not, it may not be good.
    Right, if one were to try a bit of Mindfulness, then some Tibetan Buddhist style meditation, with deeply concentrated thinking about emptiness, visualisations and all that, then move on to a bit of Vipassana, then a bit of Shikantaza and so on, that's just continuing our normal patterns of looking for satisfaction in the external world. That's not what I was saying...

    ...What I was saying is in relation to the illusory self, not about practice. I did a psychology degree 30 or so years ago which was very theoretical, so it's interesting now to come across some very practical approaches to dealing with the 'self' in Buddhism. For example, Tibetans can be very forthright in telling us that we're deluded and hallucinating the whole time, and when I first encountered this idea it came as quite an affront, especially coming from people who appeared to believe in hungry ghosts and various types of hell-beings . They are right though, about the deluded part, not the hallucinations! They have some very practical advice, too. For example, in "Make Your Mind an Ocean" by Lama Yeshe (https://www.lamayeshe.com/?sect=article&id=115), they suggest:

    When you check your mind, do not rationalize or push. Relax. Do not be upset when problems arise. Just be aware of them and where they come from; know their root. Introduce the problem to yourself: "Here is this kind of problem. How has it become a problem? What kind of mind has made it a problem? What kind of mind feels that it’s a problem?"
    All good stuff, and quite like Charlotte Joko Beck's approach, but more direct.

    Likewise, Mindfulness (at least in the form devised by Mark Williams in the UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/books/dp/074...4827408&sr=8-1 ) has some very practical things to say about the way our minds work and ways to deal with disfunctional mental habits, such as monkey-mind. Like the Lama Yeshe book, "Mindfulness, Finding Peace in a Frantic World" is a good read.

    A last thought about words - I learnt a new word finding out about all this stuff: 'equivocation'. It's where an argument hinges on the misleading use of an ambiguous term. Some of the Buddhist related texts on 'self' use the terms self/ego/identity/soul as if they're interchangeable, which they're not.

    For me, all of this is good stuff - food for the brain. Shikantaza is a complete act in itself.

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Jeremy; 06-20-2015 at 07:50 PM.

  28. #28
    I think it's reasonable to recognize things that cause harm in the world and work to resolve them for the sake of our extended self. Pointless to fret though, changeable or unchangeable, rejecting 'what's up' is counterproductive and just makes hells for oneself...Or delighting in it too much too, things change.

    SatToday

    Metta,
    Greg



    Sent from my ALCATEL ONETOUCH P310A using Tapatalk
    A fine line separates the weary recluse from the fearful hermit. Finer still is the line between hermit and bitter misanthrope. - Dean Koontz

  29. #29
    What a great thread! Some of the first research around depressive realism involved people's assessments of how much control they thought they had over random blinking lights. Happy people were more likely to come up with complicated theories about being in control (I pressed the button three times quickly, paused, and then two slow clicks . . . ). Depressed people were more likely to report that they did not have control. Although they were right in this instance, it doesn't mean the depressed people were more realistic. Depressed people are more likely to report that they don't have control, even when they do.

    There are some instances where depressed people do better. But there is a growing body of research that shows that most of the time, in most circumstances, positive mental states lead to enhanced awareness, more creativity, a better memory, increased verbal fluency, etc. etc.

    gassho

    Sean

    SatToday

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •