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658067 Posts in 9262 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 50 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
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Author Topic: Yoga, meditation, and related philosophical and spiritual study  (Read 5057 times)
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elpollodiablo
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Posts: 32624


« Reply #100 on: Feb 21, 2012, 09:27:38 PM »

Nothing in my experience is pre-linguistic
Well, THAT'S just crazy.

Word, CF. If nothing's pre-linguistic, I wouldn't be able to communicate with Petra, who knows about 4 words. But we do communicate: she conveys desires & emotions through gestures & facial expressions. Language is just a more precise & developed means of communicating for industrious upright monkeys. "Grooming does for baboons most of what words do for us." (A.R. Ammons)

Poets articulate desires & emotions which "oft were thought but ne'er so well expressed" (Alexander Pope) and which are repeated by other industrious upright monkeys, eventually entering and shaping the language. "I speak what you're thinking, that's just how it is" (Lil B). That's transcendence, for me - the transcendence of a personality, or voice, that tells me what I've always known, but never put into words.

CF, still haven't listened to your talk. Will do that on the drive down to Santa Cruz tonight for a Fat Tuesday party. Carnival -> carne val -> farewell to the flesh!

(moms spaghetti)

(common sense)
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shai faithe
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Posts: 1109


« Reply #101 on: Feb 21, 2012, 09:50:38 PM »

i just wanted to jump in, i saw this on the first page of the board and said "huh? cool." (i usually link right to the hip hop thread through a bookmark, no joke, i never read anything else on the board ever  Confused)
so glad to have people not in my immediate proximity to talk with about practice and shoot the dharma.
i've been maintaining a sitting practice for a couple of years, and give meditation instruction through the vajrayana shambhala buddhist lineage (probably have heard of us, those of you that have been around the scene).
from reading the first post, it looks like a couple of you are in new york? we have a center down on 23rd in chelsea that has a couple of great teachers doing regular courses, including ones that you might be interested in CF on some deeper scholarly buddhist study. there are also a ton of open night meditations and i believe yoga. lots of other mindfulness-based non-buddhist things as well.
and i don't know if pollo is still checking in our not, but the sort of dukkha that CF is talking about, is the sort of suffering that some buddhists call "all pervasive." i usually communicate it as existential anxiety, but dis-ease is pretty perfectly succinct. i can't remember if that miscommunication was taken care of.
the bit a page or two ago about letting a pursuit become unskilled and thereby an obstacle to a practice was a funny one to me. hip hop is sort of like that for me. a lot of violent, noisy stuff that i love love love. i once had a friend ask me if that ever got in the way. i just had to smile and say yes absolutely constantly. but there's (maybe?) a slight difference in the way i deal with unskillful behavior as a student of vajrayana than you do CF as a theravadin. i can't do this all the time for a lot of reasons, mainly because i haven't achieved the stillness of mind available to practice within the vajrayana proper, but on some occasions i'm able to find the awakened qualities of whatever that behavior is---without changing the behavior---and turn myself onto it; to shift my own perspective wisely. this is a huge challenge and available to heaps of abuse and self-deceit, but i do know that it's possible to use it very deftly.
anyway, glad to be here.
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jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #102 on: Feb 21, 2012, 11:11:05 PM »

Just butting in quick to say how much I appreciate this conversation taking place, and I look forward to its continuing (though I get the impression that the conversation that may jump off from Shai's post will only be interesting to like, three of us maybe). I might join in at some point too. I like and agree with a lot of what Zach is saying, but I'm still trying to figure a lot of this out, as well. I would agree with him (and this is something that I've sort of grappled with some, more on that later maybe) that I am not approaching this from a secular or non-religious perspective, even if I don't believe in God or anything in particular beyond the material world (though I guess I can't say I'm a strict "this is all there is" kind of guy either, just that whether there is something else bigger than us is kind of beside the point, and if I do have a yearning for that, that is something that relates to my practice, etc.)

Really tired now though. Going to go to bed soon.
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Em
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Posts: 1007


« Reply #103 on: Feb 21, 2012, 11:39:03 PM »

The conversation that may jump off from Shai's post will be interesting to me, I hope! I'm reading along and thinking about what's being said, I just don't have a ton to contribute right now because I still have a lot of questions where I'm at.

I am in a confusing place right now because I have been listening to dharma talks and studying texts associated with Theravada Buddhism for some time, and they really resonate with me. But all the Buddhists I know are hippie yogi Buddhists (sorry but they are, god love 'em), who are deep into the Tibetan schools and are quite occupied with guru devotion and mantra accumulations and other things that I don't quite understand the purpose of. I mean, I know what the purpose is supposed to be, I just don't know what the purpose would be for me. Which in a way doesn't quite make sense, because my yoga practice is very devotional and oriented toward some form of god and the divine. Doesn't change the fact that when it comes to religion I feel like the extra "stuff" I've experienced at some of the talks and such I've been to gets in the way more than it helps, for me anyway. I dunno, like I said, I'm confused.
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coldforge
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« Reply #104 on: Feb 22, 2012, 12:23:33 AM »

Had no idea you were such a dharma dude, shai. Stick around here.
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l'era del terzo mondo.
shai faithe
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Posts: 1109


« Reply #105 on: Feb 22, 2012, 10:43:59 PM »

But all the Buddhists I know are hippie yogi Buddhists (sorry but they are, god love 'em), who are deep into the Tibetan schools and are quite occupied with guru devotion and mantra accumulations and other things that I don't quite understand the purpose of. I mean, I know what the purpose is supposed to be, I just don't know what the purpose would be for me. Which in a way doesn't quite make sense, because my yoga practice is very devotional and oriented toward some form of god and the divine. Doesn't change the fact that when it comes to religion I feel like the extra "stuff" I've experienced at some of the talks and such I've been to gets in the way more than it helps, for me anyway. I dunno, like I said, I'm confused.

this is very relevant for my own path. coming out of college, i knew that i wanted a meditation practice and i wanted it to fit squarely within buddhism, i was not interested in secular mindfulness or a hodgepodge of whatever i thought was nice. my obstacle in buddhism was that i was educated in religious studies and so had a pretty firm grasp of the underlying philosophies and problems in many of the schools. i was drawn aesthetically and ideologically to both theravada and zen. they were exceedingly simple, highly scholarly, and only religious if i pursued them as such. my type of buddhism! i was not not not not interested in tibetan buddhism. as you say em, too much "extra" stuff, plus, and more importantly (and somewhat persistent to this day) i saw the organizational forms and tantric rites as a sort of obscurantism. when i began practicing, i never would have believed when that i would become a vajrayana practitioner. there are many non-tantric aspects to the shambhala lineage that drew me in--my teacher (my kalyanamitra, as CF put it), teachings on social engagement and householding as an ultimate practice, etc. i also see the tantric practices in a totally different light, one in which they are not primarily empowerments or attainments, but merely skillful means to the experience of awakened mind. this change in attitude came out of working with some of the practices that confused me: i did some work with the four dignities of tibetan buddhism (the tiger, snow lion, garuda, and dragon) that represent qualities of behavior developed through meditation practice. it's often the case that my meditation is pretty self-serious. sometimes it's fairly judgmental as well, and it used to be case that anytime i found myself speaking to myself harshly for losing the object of mindfulness, i would employ the dragon as a sort of mascot for my own sense of humor about meditation. it produced a sense of levity and ease, a certain effortlessness. i realized thereafter that many many many of these more mystical teachings are not, as they are in the west to be taken as real per se, but as representative of means and skills that one might use to realize our already awakened mind.
if these practices don't communicate to you, there are probably one of two of things going on: they lack context, and are thereby bereft of a highly specific matrix of meaning they often require to do what they do; or...it's just not your gig. this is the meaning of the vehicle metaphor--small (hina), great (maha), and indestructible or diamond (vajra)--and why in the vajra path, we know that an indestructible practice must incorporate everything: the narrow path is tailored well for a few; the wider path can help many more; the diamond path can accommodate everyone, from those who engage with a simple, mindfulness awareness practice to those who need a highly ritualized set of mantras. some of us don't need a diamond vehicle--you may not. your friends on the other hand might find mantra very useful. they could be fooling themselves (spiritual materialism is constant obstacle in tantra), but they're the only ones who can be certain of their own sincerity in practice.
sorry for the long-windedness, i hope that at least some of it clears confusion. feel free to pm me with other questions, though remember i'm no expert ha ha.
« Last Edit: Feb 22, 2012, 10:46:20 PM by shai faithe » Logged

Em
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Posts: 1007


« Reply #106 on: Feb 22, 2012, 11:51:12 PM »

thank you! that was very clear and interesting. (i found your remark about using the mascot of the dragon to bring levity into your meditation practice particularly relevant as i was just having a conversation with someone in one of my meditation groups about my tendency to be too harsh in yanking myself back to the object of my attention when my focus strays.)

i guess i am in somewhat of the same position you were in some time ago in re: knowing enough to see the problems in various schools while still holding to the most basic underlying principles. i have much respect for those who engage in a more ritualized practice. and i suppose, even, that when i set an intention or devotion for my asana practice, or attend a kirtan, i'm engaging in a pretty ritualized bhakti practice myself so ... i'm not sure what that means.

i guess i'll just have to see where what i'm doing--which has included going to some vajrayana teachings and of course hanging out with those practitioners that i know, as well as focusing on theravada--takes me. i have like a million questions that might be stupid questions so maybe i will pm you sometime.
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clare
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Posts: 5192


« Reply #107 on: Feb 23, 2012, 05:07:24 AM »

'pollo, you might (or might not) like to know about Alain de Botton's latest book , which is called 'Religion for Atheists'... I haven't managed to listen to cf's talk yet, or read shai's posts...
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cold before sunrise
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Posts: 2500


« Reply #108 on: Feb 23, 2012, 05:46:32 AM »

shai faithe: it's funny that you'd mention how hip hop relates to meditative practice because the first thing i thought when i heard your stuff is how it's something i could listen to on a rainy sunday while drawing, reading, painting or connecting with the cord that runs through it all. i could use more tuning into a place of inner peace, don't know why i don't make the time for meditation more often.
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fishjim
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Posts: 1982


« Reply #109 on: Feb 27, 2012, 08:35:58 PM »

Was sorting through old poems today and found one I'll leave here.

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davy
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« Reply #110 on: Feb 28, 2012, 03:28:38 PM »

I like that.
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fishjim
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Posts: 1982


« Reply #111 on: Feb 28, 2012, 05:42:31 PM »

Thanks! I don't expect it to persuade anyone, really - it's more me talking to myself.
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mountmccabe
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Posts: 2844


« Reply #112 on: Feb 28, 2012, 05:43:07 PM »

'pollo, you might (or might not) like to know about Alain de Botton's latest book , which is called 'Religion for Atheists'... I haven't managed to listen to cf's talk yet, or read shai's posts...

A chapter (or so) excerpt was published in the WSJ the other day as "Religion for Everyone" with the sub-headline/description "The decline of religion in the West has brought a decline in community spirit. Could the secular world draw useful lessons from religious life?" and I read it hopefully but couldn't get past the first few paragraphs on my initial attempt.

He used the example of how Catholics have done it so well, with their opulent, inviting cathedrals and how safe it is to approach strangers and that nobody judges strangers. And contrasted that with how, in the secular world "the first question we are asked at a party is 'What do you do?,' our answer to which will determine whether we are warmly welcomed or conclusively abandoned.'"

So I would recommend against it, actually.

I would link to the article but I read it on actual physical newsprint and can't find a non-paywall version online.
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Good Intentions
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« Reply #113 on: Feb 28, 2012, 06:07:57 PM »

Please don't read anything by Alain de Botton.
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peacocks
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« Reply #114 on: Feb 28, 2012, 06:09:37 PM »

waaat ya'll were all "read alain botton read alain botton" like 2 years ago.
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Good Intentions
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Posts: 13882


« Reply #115 on: Feb 28, 2012, 06:12:16 PM »

At that time I also said that you shouldn't read him. His work is shallow in the extreme, and he tries to act like difficult things are easy, dodging out of questions of substance.
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peacocks
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« Reply #116 on: Feb 28, 2012, 06:13:10 PM »

you're not wrong, but I nevertheless enjoyed on love.
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clare
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Posts: 5192


« Reply #117 on: Feb 28, 2012, 06:18:05 PM »

I think if he makes ordinary people think a bit more, it's not a bad thing. I can understand why you might get annoyed about him though Marinus.

I haven't read the book in question yet, just reviews and interviews, but I was hoping it might've offered a bit more than that :-(

Anyway, as you were.
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Good Intentions
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« Reply #118 on: Feb 28, 2012, 06:21:35 PM »

There's no point to thinking about things more if that happens by way of you being trained to be shallow and insensitive.
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cold before sunrise
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Posts: 2500


« Reply #119 on: Mar 01, 2012, 10:28:43 PM »


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elpollodiablo
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Posts: 32624


« Reply #120 on: Mar 01, 2012, 10:42:28 PM »

Pah. Yoga. That's just a racket for the Jews
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think 'on the road.'
fishjim
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Posts: 1982


« Reply #121 on: Mar 01, 2012, 10:57:08 PM »

Are you talking about that NYT story about John Friend, or whatever the name is of that yoga instructor who, surprise, was harassing and/or screwing his pupils? I don't know much about yoga, but the brief history of it in that article - I think they even said yoga started as a sex cult? - seemed pretty dang suspect.

EDIT: the story seemed suspect, not yoga
« Last Edit: Mar 02, 2012, 01:27:09 AM by fishjim » Logged

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Ignatius
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« Reply #122 on: Mar 01, 2012, 11:00:12 PM »

No, no one's talking about that. EPD's just funnin with the anti-semite.
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Greg Nog
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Posts: 21629


« Reply #123 on: Mar 02, 2012, 08:19:17 AM »

Are you talking about that NYT story about John Friend, or whatever the name is of that yoga instructor who, surprise, was harassing and/or screwing his pupils?

When I was in the locker room at the Y yesterday, I heard a couple of the dudes there talking about it -- two septuagenarian mostly-naked white-haired guys with heavy NYC accents:

"You read that article about the Yoga guy?"
"Yeah.  Yeah, I don't know."
"He knows a good thing when he sees one, sounds like!"
"Heh."
(pause)
"How bout that Jeremy Lin kid?"
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fishjim
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Posts: 1982


« Reply #124 on: Mar 02, 2012, 10:46:59 AM »

Ah, those wags!

Anyway, didn't Congress start out as a sex cult, too? And the Catholic church?
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Just wandering the countryside clearing caves.
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