On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 8:26 PM, David Harding <davidjharding@gmai...> wrote:
> Hi Dan,
>> To answer your question, yes, we can and do achieve freedom all the
>> time. You know that if you have ever lost yourself in an activity.
> That's right. But why do Westerners commonly make this mistake about the unwritten Dharma?
> The reason why Westerners, I think, mistake finding the 'unwritten dharma' as code for doing 'whatever you like' points to this difference between the way people from the East and people from the West view freedom.
If you ask them what the unwritten dharma is I think most Westerners
will look at you funny. But we all know what it means. Dharma is the
way of life. It may encompass how we treat others. It may lead us in
our behavior. Most people know we cannot simply do as we like. We
learn this as small children. At least we should. Those who fail to
learn are usually not part of society for long unless they become
CEO's, celebrities, or politicians.
>>> Yes we have free will as a result of freedom so I see them as very much the same thing. And both are a negation of static quality. My original point here before we got caught up on what makes a good politician or a good criminal or a good soldier was the rather banal comment that we both know what freedom in the West is. And that is the negation of static quality that results in our doing something else..
>> So free will is synonymous with freedom? I think we have to look at
>> the dictates of society and how it constrains our actions in very
>> specific and undeniable ways. As long as we seek out other social or
>> intellectual patterns to occupy our time we are never free. That's why
>> I pressed the issue with what makes a good soldier and a good
>> So what you are saying, that we achieve freedom in the West by doing
>> something else, is not freedom at all. It may seem like freedom but by
>> clinging to static patterns we are never free. We are simply
>> exchanging one pattern for another. So according to what you are
>> saying, we never achieve freedom. I disagree.
> Well in the West our freedom does actually free us from the suffering which a _particular_ pattern brings by being able to do something else. That is a freedom which traditionally is not encouraged as much in the East. We might not be truly free but are more free in some ways than Eastern cultures by following this type of freedom.
> But what you say about never being truly free in the West is ultimately right.
I didn't say that. You did. I said I disagree. As I explain later with
my baseball analogy, we do find freedom in the West.
> As Pirsig describes in the Lila quote I've been offering - this type of freedom is called 'Bad Karma chasing its tail'….
> "The explanation for this contradiction is the belief that you do not free yourself from static patterns by fighting them with other contrary static patterns. That is sometimes called 'bad karma chasing its tail.' "
> If we continually change patterns in this way it will result in chaos and not much else...
> Pirsig goes on to explain in the next sentence the other type of freedom (more commonly emphasised in the East)..
> " You free yourself from static patterns by putting them to sleep. That is, you master them with such proficiency that they become an unconscious part of your nature. You get so used to them you completely forget them and they are gone. There in the center of the most monotonous boredom of static ritualistic patterns the Dynamic freedom is found."
> He then sums up, as you point out, that there is also a danger in following this type of freedom blindly as well..
> "Phaedrus saw nothing wrong with this ritualistic religion as long as the rituals are seen as merely a static portrayal of Dynamic Quality, a sign-post which allows socially pattern-dominated people to see Dynamic Quality. The danger has always been that the rituals, the static patterns, are mistaken for what they merely represent and are allowed to destroy the Dynamic Quality they were originally intended to preserve."
> That is the pitfall of this type of freedom in that things can become too static and rigid. We can get so caught up on some such a static pattern and forget that it is merely a static portrayal of the undefined Dynamic Quality..
> That's why I think an acknowledgement of the pitfalls of both types of freedom is important and a balance between the two is what is valuable.
I still maintain there is freedom and there is constraint. There are
many paths to freedom but not different kinds of freedom. As I said
before, what RMP is talking about here is the ritualistic nature of
Buddhist monks. We may in some convoluted way overlay those patterns
on every day experience but I think for the most part they belong to a
specific culture. To fully understand those patterns one must of
course be part of that culture.
>>>> Actually I am speaking from the perspective of everyday affairs. I
>>>> have no way of knowing the perspective of the Buddha.
>>> But you do know the perspective of the Buddha Dan. Everyone does. As you say.. you just have to 'wake up'.
>> I should have said intellectual knowing to be precise. As soon as I
>> formulate these words I lose any Dynamic perspective. If I lived my
>> life from a Buddha's perspective I would not be here in this
>> discussion group. I wouldn't write a word.
> Yes, we have no way of intellectually knowing the perspective of the Buddha. I agree with that. But you do 'know' the perspective of the Buddha. And you do 'speak' from this perspective when you tell me to 'wake up'! If we were to intellectually analyse those words, we would miss what you are pointing at.. This is why I think that we can point at Dynamic Quality and speak from this perspective.
We can only say what Dynamic Quality is not. What is there to point to?
>> Yes, why speak at all. I think some people speak because they enjoy
>> hearing and reading their own words. It is a kind of ego climbing. You
>> see it when someone sends a post and moments later sends a correction.
>> You know they've read what they said and are horrified to find a
>> mistake, as if no one will realize it was a mistake.
>> At the same time though these words have a kind of pull to them, at
>> least for me. I spend all my time after midnight writing. I have a
>> dozen books all full of trash. I don't care though. I am not writing
>> to impress anyone including myself. I am just writing. As I go along,
>> I find I get better at it. It is the same way with Buddhist monks and
>> their silence. The more they practice, the better they get.
> I doubt Buddhist monks would agree with this sort of value judgement but I get your point..
Really! Of course I am no monk but I do know from experience the
longer I go not-speaking the less inclined I am to speak. It may seem
odd to most people to say we practice not-doing. But it is no
different than to practice doing.
I make this point to acquaintances who smoke cigarettes and drink too
much. I tell them not-smoking and not-drinking is a habit just like
smoking and drinking is a habit. They never listen. It is a shame but
all I can do is point the way.
>>> But then the answer to these questions is obvious. We can't help but define these things. Purity identified ceased to be` purity… Protests to noise are form of protest.
>> So why protest at all? Perhaps it would all be a thousand times better
>> if we just sat quietly while the world unfolded around us.
> That silence is a form of protest.. We have no choice. That's my point.
Silence is not a protest unless the silence is directed. Just sit
silently. Do nothing. Watch as the world unfolds. Choice? What choice?
>>> I disagree. We can and do speak from the world of the Buddha. I mean you're right in that all words, on reflection, are static quality. But what of words which point to Dynamic Quality? Do the words of the Buddha not point to Dynamic Quality? When the Buddha points to Dynamic Quality, he is not making intellectual distinctions. The words he is using could be broken part into static quality distinctions certainly - but that is not what he is pointing at. When you tell me to 'wake up', is that you making an intellectual distinction between actual wakefulness and sleep? The place we are speaking from or the values we are talking about or pointing to is important.. Especially if those values we are pointing at or talking about, are defined or not.
>> I don't believe the man known as the Buddha ever wrote anything down.
>> He must have known about writing; he was a prince born into wealth.
>> Most certainly he had the best teachers, the best his society had to
>> offer. I read how he lived some forty years after awakening under the
>> Bodhi tree. He walked around just talking to people. Later his
>> followers thought it of value to write down his words.
>> Why didn't he write anything down?
> I have read somewhere that there wasn't a written language during the early part of his time. However I think, as you imply, that he saw no need. The unwritten dharma is just that. But then, how do we even know about the Buddha or Buddhism? He still spoke, he still communicated what he experienced to others. He still spoke words which pointed at something unsaid.. We could look at his words and intellectually analyse them. But that would miss what he was pointing at.
I have read that though writing was known during his life the man
known as the Buddha being a prince always had attendants and so he
himself never learned to write. Whether it is so or not who can say.
That he did see a need to transmit his teachings is clear, though. The
story goes that when the Buddha asked an assembly of monks which one
of them would like to accompany him and be his personal attendant they
all eagerly volunteered. All except one, who walked away in silence.
Later when they asked him why he didn't volunteer his services he said
the Buddha knew which one to pick.
Now you are wondering: why is this important?
It speaks to knowing, not to believing. Every other monk believed they
were the right person to be the Buddha's attendant. One monk knew.
>> Perhaps. I write. When the words are really flowing I become lost in
>> the writing. Hours will pass. I don't feel hunger or thirst. I am not
>> aware of me at all. Yet I am not really aware of the writing either. I
>> can't take credit for it anymore than I can take credit for the sun
>> shining or a sudden rain shower that comes out of nowhere. These words
>> just appear on the screen. I sit down with nothing to say and in a
>> little while there are these words. Where did they come from? I don't
>> know enough to talk about this stuff. If I try and remember all the
>> rules of good writing I may as well quit writing. So in a way Marsha
>> is right. I just make it up as I go along. But it isn't really me
>> making it up. So in a very real way she is wrong.
>> I think many athletes also talk about losing themselves in their
>> sport. There is something called a 'runner's high' that many extreme
>> athletes speak of. Too, there is that moment when a baseball is hit
>> into the air and you actually begin running for the spot where it will
>> come down before it is even hit because you sense the body motion of
>> the hitter and you just know where the ball is going. Everything else
>> in the world fades away. It is just you and that ball coming together.
>> And the feeling of making that catch is what sets a person free.
>> Unless you have experienced it you will never know the feeling of just
>> letting go of everything and becoming the ball.
>> So I tend to disagree that we in the West only escape one static
>> pattern by focusing on another. We may not go about it in the same
>> manner as the East but writing and running and games like baseball are
>> very real forms of meditation. And it doesn't matter so much if one
>> masters those patterns or not. What matters is giving in to them...
>> becoming those patterns. That is what life is all about, in my
> I disagree with none of this. I would like to highlight however your point that we do not go about it in the same way as the East. This is my point. The difference between cultures is not that one type of freedom exists in one and not the other. It is that each culture emphasises one more than the other. We all experience the same value - we just emphasise some things more than others..
We are all human beings. Just because a person is born in Japan and
another is born in the US doesn't mean their respective cultures
emphasize one kind of freedom over another kind of freedom. There is
only freedom. Again, we may seek that freedom by walking different
cultural paths. That is my point, you see.
>>> I think those contributors are speaking to the undefined nature of quality. That Dynamic Quality is undefined is ultimately correct as I have said. However there is a whole other value which is neglected by their focus on Dynamic Quality. From this neglect chaos arises… Can you see the chaos?
>> They are being difficult. No one can speak from undefined reality.
>> There are no words.
> Yes words are not Dynamic Quality. But words can, and do point to Dynamic Quality. Because of this we can say we know (via experience) the perspective of the Buddha and that enlightenment and Dynamic Quality exists.
If one sees enlightenment as something that exists, then it exists.
Without being the man known as the Buddha I don't see how anyone else
can know that perspective, however. It is like saying flying in a
plane gives a person the perspective of a bird. No, it doesn't. One
would have to be a bird to have the perspective of a bird.
Now, if one wishes to argue we all have Buddha nature that is a very
different argument. Perhaps this is what you are saying?