A humble attempt to define choiceless awareness

What do we mean by the word ‘to be aware’ ? Is the mind aware, cognizant, knowing, conscious of what is going on within the sphere of the mind? Are you aware of your thoughts, of your feelings? Are you aware that you are fidgeting, scratching, yawning, pushing your hair back?

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Knowing, awaring, seeing through

Shwedagon Pagoda seen from Bojoke Park

Where to start? Six weeks on retreat, some insight to share perhaps. Hard to organize the thoughts around them. Experience is experience, wisdom is wisdom; but when it’s not actually happening, it becomes something else. A memory, knowledge informed by conditioning, assumptions…the momentum of our ordinary perception starts to creep back in if we aren’t vigilant with awareness. If we take the practice into our daily lives, however, then there is the opportunity for the momentum of awareness to continue to strengthen and for wisdom to grow incrementally.

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Solitude and the mirror of relationship

reflecting solitude

by Ebru Sidar

A commenter on a previous post asked “I wonder if you have read the story of the great Zen master Bankei?” And then proceeds to tell the story: “He was on retreat for 10 years and nothing changed in his life. One day he discovered his own Unborn Buddha mind at the age of 26. From that time on he taught only that. He told others all the retreat and practices are basically meaningless. They are all just ‘Zen devices’. Retreat or no retreat makes no difference. The only people qualified to teach the Dharma are those who have experienced it directly, and then they do not teach. Those who know, do….those who do not know, teach.”

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That buzz

Whether it’s the cosmic hum of the universe or the sound of our own eardrums’ vibrations or something else all together, what Ajahn Sumedho refers to as “the sound of silence” and Buddhists, Hindus and before them Brahmans call the anahata nada sound, is a real phenomenon. It’s not something I always notice, certainly, but more and more often, that drone or buzz is a predominant object in the overall soundscape of life.

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The dangers of expectation

From what I can tell, expectation is one of the more wily of mind states. Dangerously close to the Christian concept of the devil, in fact. What I mean by that is, expectation – and its cousins (it’s greed and aversion all wrapped up into one), are single-handedly the greatest single source of suffering I can point to in my experience. For much of my late twenties and early thirties, I would have said that expectation in terms of the love relationship was the number one, number two arrow and it was, but now I see it’s trickier than that.

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