Cinematic Reality

Hi There,

I believe vinnana is said to be like a magician (SN22.95) because it makes us believe that we live in a cinematic-like world. Like our world is a story. And I am the protagonist in that story. This seems to be the trick of vinnana as magician.

I believe the stream of vinnana’s is really very similar to the stream of pictures that create a movie on a screen. Similar to how we can get lost in a movie, and experience it as reality, even with extreme emotions, likewise we can lost in the stream of mental vinnana’s. Lost in our heads.

Then reality becomes cinematic and we become the protagonist in that cinematic-like world, that story. While the mind projects all this, it is felt, seen, experienced as this is my life, this is me, this is who i am, this is real. This is reality.

(I think this becomes more and more extreme in this word. A sense that this is not really reality gets lost. The world wants to sell us stories. It wants us to get lost in this cinematic reality).

I see this all as the conventional truth or reality. From this perspective there is a Me that attains this and that. There is a Me who becomes a sotapanna, arahant etc. It is part of the story telling. A Buddha, i believe, knows it is not ultimately real, but it does not really matter. Story telling can still be useful and meritorious and one will arrive at a point that one understands it was all just story telling and there was never a protaganist in the first place.

The function of sati and panna is, i believe, to notice that the mind has constructed, and is lost in, a cinematic world. Sati and panna are to wake us up from dreaming while awake.

The wonder of human existence seems to be that we can realise that we live, as it were, in two worlds. In a cinematic world, a story telling like world, and in a world that is not a story. Sakkaya ditthi’s are those views on who or what we are part of the story telling. Asmi mana is more subtle, and, i think, more like a deep impression caused by all that story telling.
Living in two worlds, cinematic and non-cinematic makes human existence also complex, confusing.

To cut through story telling is what a Buddha, i believe, has done to the end.

wish you all well

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Namo Buddhaya!

Consider this

Corporations have rights but we never see a corporation chilling at the beach. Yet we live in a world where they do have rights and their rights might even infringe on our rights.

If you ask people whether communism is a threat to humanity. They might say that it is or isn’t depending on their political stances.

Some might say that it is a very real & oppressing threat, as if communism is a dark hairy monster about to oppress us all.

It then hardly matters that communism isn’t really a dark hairy monster because people act as if it is a real thing.

For example the person concerned with communism threatening humanity might be really losing sleep and taking measures to mitigate the perceived danger and it might even come to blows or worse.

All because of story he tells himself where he is the hero fighting the monster threatening humanity.

So people live in a world of these abstract ideas and to them these things are essentially real, these abstracts are shaping human behavior.

Words like corporation, communism, democracy, liberty, freedom of speech, due process, whilst hardly anyone agrees on what these things are, are dictating much of human behavior.

It gets worse however when we examine words like ‘human’ or the word ‘self’, these words are even more so asserted to be real than words like ‘communism’ because supposedly we can point at a human.

However if we examine the proposition it would be hard to pin down a human as a truth & reality because the skin is not the human, the ear is not the human, and etc.

Nevermind words like ‘thinking”, ‘consciousness’, mind, or perception. Having asserted that there is such thing as self they assert that self is percipient.

Then having perceived things apart from what is self referable they assert that these external things are apart from perception even tho these are things perceived. And so they start living in this external world of their making.

They see themselves as a hero in this story that they tell themselves.

Almost everybody alive now behaves as if they live in a world made up of these more or less abstract words and they behave accordingly.

Humans are essentially victimized by their not understanding of nameable things. Name has conquered everything, beings believe that they live in this world of names.

They go along with the mantra ‘I am’ and having attained a pleasant feeling they think ‘I am good because of this’, they raise the flag, waving their banner, proudly enjoying the narrative, cheering for the hero.

This is a narrative for you. I actually think the meaning of papanca in the suttas might be close to “narrative”.

The confusion is essentially in that people assert that the thing thought about is what they think about it but the thing one thinks about is whatever it is except from what one thinks about it.

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It’s like if one was to draw some thing that one sees, that seen thing is whatever it is except from what one is drawing.

Yes, i totally agree with this

I also live still in this world of names. I am not free of what you describe but i understand what you say.

I had a time i enjoyed determinating plants. But i became quickly fed up with it because i felt that i lost my open view on nature. When i walked i only ‘saw’ names. In fact i lost the ability to see, hear, feel etc. in an open way. I noticed that and stopped with this desire to know the names of every plants, birds, trees etc.

For example: i walk in nature and i see a certain bird. In my head i think: ‘aha a woodpecker’ and i also think…‘aha i know this bird, i have seen this bird before’'…which is, ofcourse, madness. This is a very different woodpecker then before. But this is what really happens when i get lost in name-giving. One becomes dull and deluded and also looses interest because one thinks one has seen this bird allready.

The thinker thinks it has seen, heard, felt etc all before. A real fiction.

Say you would get the choice:

-You will be assured of everlasting happiness, no suffering at all, but the price is that you live in a deluded way?

-You will live truthfully but that means you will suffer. Sometimes even hard to tolerate.

What do you choose?

It’s impossible that delusion would beget happiness and it’s impossible that true knowledge would beget suffering.

This is like asking if one would rather be a terrible chess player but always win or be the best player but always lose

Understanding begets winning, not losing, when the goal is highest happiness possible then the foremost right moves are those that lead to highest happiness and that is how one wins.

The more one understands thus more one sees the goal and the path leading to the goal.

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If you see it in all honesty… all our socalled breaktroughs, insights, spiritual experiences, knowledge, wisdom, only feeds the demon. It never leads to letting go, detachment, reliquishment, real dispassion, less conceit. All this becomes food for more defilements, especially that of ego.

It is like there is no escape from ego and ego always finds food.
All this only serves our human longing to have a special status, to be seen as wise, as loving, as deep. It only serves our need for attention. It only serves the defilements.

But what really opens the mind, what really makes an end to pretention, ego, what really gives room to wisdom, love, compassion is…not knowing. Just be open-minded.

Suppose, you meet me as a knower. So you see me as a not-knower. How can we even have contact?
How can there be love? At best you feel pity for me, because i do not know what you know.

What the real problem is, pretention.

This is just a blatant contradiction to what the Buddha taught

skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, freedom from remorse as their reward. Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward. Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward. Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward. Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward. Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward. Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward. Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward. Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward. Dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward.

In general a disdain for logic, knowledge, insight and meditative attainments is a form of lunacy and a person who is not developed in these things is as incapable of letting go, detachment, reliquishment, real dispassion, and elimination of conceit

Maybe, but does it contradict what happens to us?

It is not a disdain…i am very convinced that our ego desires are very strong and they seldomly become weaker due to knowledge, insight, breaktroughs. Maybe this is some kind of taboe, like i feel honesty is often a taboe. But what we especially want is status, respect, attention, being honoured, praised, being seen as a wise person. I see this in myself. Its just human nature. I feel when our heart is corrupted also Dhamma practice becomes corrupted. I feel it is very difficult to avoid.

I think it is possible the two of you are talking past each other and with clear communication likely be agreeing?! Consider… Did the Buddha really teach that @Green’s so-called breakthroughs did not feed @Green’s ego demon? The context is @Green’s so-called breakthroughs which might be “so-called” because they do not correspond to the Buddha’s spiritual experiences, knowledge, wisdom etc.

You’re likely giving true testament to your own experience of so-called knowledge, insight, breakthroughs, but a couple questions:

  • Is it possible to have so-called “knowledge” that does not overcome ignorance at all, but is mislabeled “knowledge” when in actuality it is ignorance itself?
  • Is it possible to have tainted knowledge overcoming ignorance that nevertheless is more aligned with non-virtue than with virtue?
  • Is it possible to have tainted knowledge overcoming ignorance that nevertheless is more aligned with virtue than non-virtue?
  • Is it possible to have untainted knowledge completely overcoming ignorance that is completely aligned with virtue?

The insight you seem to be expressing right now of past so-called “knowledge” etc that only led to more ego-building… is that insight only “so-called” or does it correspond to one of the above?

Is there any “faking it till we make it” involved in spiritual practices or is it a binary thing where it either completely accomplishes our goals aligned with virtue or it is utterly worthless and only leads to more ego building?

I do not think i only give true statements for my own experience. Do you really think that?

I think it is quit common that conceit, defilements, grow upon special experiences, breaktroughs, insights etc. I believe is just a honest, sincere, truthful description what most of the time happens.
Like wordly people collect houses, cars, money for status and ego-building, spiritual people can collect insights, breaktroughs, special experiences as a kind of ego-builing. Giving status. I believe it is humane. But i think it is still defiled.

No fake it till you make it, i feel is never oke. There is no way that real love, real compassion, real friendliness can be faked till it is made. It arises when one stops faking.
The biggest problem is: we always think we lack something. But we do not lack something, we just bring to much bagage into situations and world. A huge load is intentions. We always have plans, strategies, intentions. We almost never are open.

i believe, the only real realisation of the Buddha is his loss of all bagage and the rest is only means.
He became empty, original, open-minded. He was not the possessor of love, wisdom and compassion. He emptied his mind, became open, and that is the condition for wisdom, love, compassion to arise.

His pupils do not tend to understand this. They feel the Buddha possesses wisdom, and they desire to have that wisdom too, while he does not possess anything and THAT is his love and wisdom.
His emptiness is his wisdom and compassion. And our fulness is our lack of wisdom and compassion.

But the direction is never to become more full but to become empty. Look at reality and look, is it not very difficult to really go in this direction? Why is this so difficult?

Hmm.

  • You seem to be answering that spiritual insight/attainment, etc is a binary thing?
  • You think the Buddha was wrong when he described the eight-fold path?
  • You don’t think there is any real path? You either know or you don’t?
  • Why did the Buddha layout the eight-fold path?
  • Why did he often praise his disciples for spiritual insights even when the insight was less than full enlightenment such as becoming a stream-enterer?
  • Your own insight that you’re trying to convey right now is that too defiled?
  • Is it qualitatively different than the “so-called” insights that prompted this current conversation?
  • If it is not qualitatively different, then why do you propound it?
  • Didn’t the Buddha describe his realization as difficult to understand?
  • Didn’t the Buddha actually teach his disciples and lead them to a gradual understanding?
  • The Buddha did teach letting go of non-virtues but didn’t he also teach the accumulation of virtue such as the four immeasurables?
  • Are the four immeasurables to be cultivated as one waters and grows a seed or did the Buddha teach that they are just instantly acquired in perfect attainment?

There is no need to go on feelings in regards to these thing because we have the teachings of the Buddha explaining it all

A faith-follower has faith in the general instruction.
A dhamma-follower has moderate understanding of the general instruction
A stream enterer is consummate in virtue and is moderately accomplished in wisdom & samadhi, he knows & sees that the general instruction is correct.
A non-returner is accomlished in virtue & samadhi and still just moderately accomplished in wisdom.
An arahant is a perfected, wholly accomplished in virtue, wisdom and samadhi.

If there was no need to study and develop wisdom then Buddhas wouldn’t teach it

  • Aṅguttara Nikāya
  • The Book of the Eights

8.2. Wisdom

“Bhikkhus, there are these eight causes and conditions that lead to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life when it has not been obtained and to its increase, maturation, and fulfillment by development after it has been obtained. What eight?

(1) “Here, a bhikkhu lives in dependence on the Teacher or on a certain fellow monk in the position of a teacher, toward whom he has set up a keen sense of moral shame and moral dread, affection and reverence. This is the first cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life when it has not been obtained and to its increase, maturation, and fulfillment by development after it has been obtained.

(2) “As he is living in dependence on the Teacher or on a certain fellow monk in the position of a teacher, toward whom he has set up a keen sense of moral shame and moral dread, affection and reverence, he approaches them from time to time and inquires: ‘How is this, Bhante? What is the meaning of this?’ Those venerable ones then disclose to him what has not been disclosed, clear up what is obscure, and dispel his perplexity about numerous perplexing points. This is the second cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life….

(3) “Having heard that Dhamma, he resorts to two kinds of withdrawal: withdrawal in body and withdrawal in mind. This is the third cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life….

(4) “He is virtuous; he dwells restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken the training rules, he trains in them. This is the fourth cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life….

(5) “He has learned much, remembers what he has learned, and accumulates what he has learned. Those teachings that are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing, which proclaim the perfectly complete and pure spiritual life—such teachings as these he has learned much of, retained in mind, recited verbally, mentally investigated, and penetrated well by view. This is the fifth cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life….

(6) “He has aroused energy for abandoning unwholesome qualities and acquiring wholesome qualities; he is strong, firm in exertion, not casting off the duty of cultivating wholesome qualities. This is the sixth cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life….

(7) “In the midst of the Saṅgha, he does not engage in rambling and pointless talk. Either he himself speaks on the Dhamma, or he requests someone else to do so, or he adopts noble silence. This is the seventh cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life….

(8) “He dwells contemplating arising and vanishing in the five aggregates subject to clinging: ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling … such is perception … such are volitional activities … such is consciousness, such its origin, such its passing away.’ This is the eighth cause and condition that leads to obtaining the wisdom fundamental to the spiritual life when it has not been obtained and to its increase, maturation, and fulfillment by development after it has been obtained.

Buddha teaches 1, the supra mundane Noble path based upon purity, beyond merit and demerit. And he teaches the mundane noble path as a means to arrive there. (MN117 and many others). The last is to find or enter that supramundaneNoble Path.
Only the supramundane Path connected to purity, always present, leads to the end of suffering.

What i describe relates to the supra mundane Noble Path. This Noble Path is universal, non-buddhist, beyond any culture, not a view, doctrine. It is nothing else then purity itself, emptiness. It is for free, for everybody. It is never earned or some result of effort.

Stream enterer is not at all a special insight. It is the first level of emptying ones heart of bagage.
It is a fruit. One has weakend greed, hate and moha. One has lost sakkaya ditthi, doubts about what is pure and not, and understand that rules and rituals do not lead to enlightment.

Now one has an understanding of the difference between supramundane Path which is never connected to plans, intentions, strategies, and the mundane noble path which is.
Both are like two wings of a bird and using both one can fly.

Numbered Discourses 4.24124. DeedsAscetics

“‘Only here is there a first ascetic, here a second ascetic, here a third ascetic, and here a fourth ascetic. Other sects are empty of ascetics.’ This, mendicants, is how you should rightly roar your lion’s roar.

And who is the first ascetic? It’s a mendicant who—with the ending of three fetters—is a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening. This is the first ascetic.

And who is the second ascetic? It’s a mendicant who—with the ending of three fetters, and the weakening of greed, hate, and delusion—is a once-returner. They come back to this world once only, then make an end of suffering. This is the second ascetic.

And who is the third ascetic? It’s a mendicant who—with the ending of the five lower fetters—is reborn spontaneously. They’re extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. This is the third ascetic.

And who is the fourth ascetic? It’s a mendicant who realizes the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements. This is the fourth ascetic.

‘Only here is there a first ascetic, here a second ascetic, here a third ascetic, and here a fourth ascetic. Other sects are empty of ascetics.’ This, mendicants, is how you should rightly roar your lion’s roar.”

  • Why do you call this supramundane a path when what you describe is a destination?
  • You seem to be saying you’ve experienced (are experiencing?) nibbana?
  • Hmm, ‘connected to purity’ but you said above it was beyond purity - how can it be both connected and beyond?
  • Again, you said it was beyond purity, but now say it is purity itself?
  • This is useful then isn’t it? It is also gradual and not the binary thing you ascribed to above?
  • I’m guessing that you don’t think this stream entry feeds the demon then?
  • Also not feeding the demon then?

So I’m guessing neither of these two wings feeds the demon then? It is still a mystery what these “socalled breaktroughs, insights, spiritual experiences, knowledge, wisdom” that you were warning against as feeding the demon?

What i said is that to really progress in a direction of emptying ones heart, leave all bagage behind, and really become without possessions, mentally, is very difficult.

Now i stop with participating the forum because i feel i only meet resistance. They never want to learn from me. I must always learn from them. They never trust what i say.

I stop now. Thanks and wish you all well.

  • Depending on trying to teach, disappointment arises when others don’t listen or are incapable of understanding?
  • Maybe this is why the Buddha at first was reluctant to teach and was going to keep the dhamma to himself until others asked him to teach?
  • Maybe he only acquiesced to the beseeching of others out of compassion?