I watched this video with extreme interest. The speaker was a very engaging person and it was easy to follow what she had to say.
We seemed to be on the right track when she begin talking about the “human condition” which to me translates into the Four Noble Truths. ie “What does it mean to be human?”
It was a bit disappointing that she did not go into Maslow’s next step on the pyramid, except in passing. I wondered why, the remainder of her presentation cleared up my “wondered why.”
It was also disappointing, in my view, that having three entries in the Guinness Book of Records is the only example she could come up for an active meditation practice. We seem to have a penchant for staying with the mundane even when we are presented with the supramundane. lol
She did repeat, a number of times, that the problems of the world are not technical. But is this something new? Does one need to spend a summer at some university to discover this? You just need to look around you and see human misery spilling out on the sidewalk.
Her statement that “technology to understand ourselves better” is a solution to our misery (ie fear, hate etc) did not lead me to think that she spent much time with Maslow. Self-transcendence is not a matter of technology, no matter how hard you wish it to be.
Here ending statement to the effect of “mimic the experience of meditation” was a complete capitulation.
Thank you for the post. It is only a further confirmation that “the movers and shakers” and their wannabe protege haven’t a clue.
… ok let’s be kind. She is not a mover shaker (yet?) and did not ever suggest she was speaking for them. AFAIK there is no official spokeperson for that category of people (and it is a dubious category, too; a mental construct, which is just conditioned).
Video appeared to show learning-in-process of a well intentioned student who is joyfully rejecting a conditioned view (that suffering is caused by external lack of technology etc.) To recognize that suffering has to do with people is a step towards realizing or speaking of the 4 Noble Truths. To speak on the issue is to offer encouragement towards that world view for others.
May all beings achieve liberation. Colloquial ly, you go girl!
learning in process - just like the rest of us!
I understand your concerns and misgivings but it sounded like a step in a good direction - IMO. There is nothing wrong with non-Buddhists making a connection between meditation and its potential to help them perform better. It may help them to cope and reduce their stress and hopefully, increase their creativity. Once they make that connection and start to meditate they may begin to explore just what it is they have developed an interest in at a deeper level. Those who are ready may begin to see that which we have an interest in. People have to start somewhere and I feel she was doing a pretty good job at sharing what she found inspiring. She may have been cognisant of things she could say and not say to the ‘general public’ as well. I give her top-marks - may she be well and happy and continue her journey of discovery.
If you think this stuff is of value, who am i to argue.
We obviously have different definitions for phrases like “mimic the experience of meditation.” but that’s what makes the world go around.
…ahhh who else would it have to do with?
…ahhh when does one learn this?
…according to the video it had to do with yet undeveloped technologies.
…or our inabilty to mimic meditation.
How does “learning-in-process” look?
The whole thing was more like an advertisement for an Event Management Company.
Sorry, I don’t take my cues from event management companies.
in any event it’s not worth spending any more time on. thank you for your comments.
Meditation with a goal in mind is not meditation. You can call it meditation but it’s not. And it doesn’t matter if you are Buddhist or non-Buddhist. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Meditation has no goal. It is a state of being. And you don’t get there if you are using it to solve your problems. Sorry.
Isn’t this a Zen (only) concept? I haven’t seen anything similar in EBTs.
I would agree that one can’t meditate very well if one is thinking a lot of discursive thoughts about the goals of meditation while one is trying to meditate. But the decision to meditate is always motivated by a purpose: some conception of the goal of meditation.
Thank you for sharing your opinions too.
lol this medicine will only work if you have the right opinions about it. I think you are wrong. Will it cure the condition (rebirth)? No. But it could be effort which brings them to cure. Unless you don’t believe in kamma and rebirth. Which is your privilege.
Matt, Et al.
Basically it is all concept until one experiences it for oneself. Whether it is Zen, Theravada, Taoist is not the point. Putting things in boxes like Zen etc is totally non-productive and is a mind-trap, isn’t it?
To specifically address your question Matt, the answer is “No.” Supported by the following (apologies for the length).
Translation : C. Luk
(pdf available on line no cost)
In Chapter IV: Self-Enlightenment Ananda ask the Buddha to teach him and the others about meditation. The Buddha proceeds to do so suggesting different starting points to arrive at the transcendental state (nirvana).
Ananda then asks the Buddha which of the various starting points would he recommend for Ananda and those who follow (meaning you and me). Instead of answering the question directly, the Buddha calls upon the 25 Bodhisattvas that were present to describe to Ananda how they reached the nirvanic state. Each of them describes how he did it. The last of the Bodhisattvas to be called to answer the question was Avalokiteshvara. Here, in part, is what he said. Note: words in () are by the translator C. Luk
"At first by directing the organ of hearing into the stream of meditation, this organ was detached from its object, and by wiping out (the concept of) both sound and stream-entry, both disturbance and stillness became clearly non-existent. Thus advancing step by step both hearing and its object ceased completely, but I did not stop where they ended. When the awareness of this state and this state itself were realized as non-existent, both subject and object merged into the void, the awareness of which became all- embracing. With further elimination of the void and its object both creation and annihilation vanished giving way to the state of Nirvana which then manifested.
Suddenly I leaped over both the mundane and supramundane, thereby realizing an all-embracing brightness pervading the ten directions, and acquired two unsurpassed (merits). The first was in accord with the fundamental Profound Enlightened Mind of all the Buddhas high up in the ten directions and possessed the same merciful power as the Tathagata. The second was in sympathy with all living beings in the six realms of existence here below in the ten directions and shared with them the same plea for compassion. … "
After Avalokiteshvara finished the Buddha asked Manjushri for his words. In what is known as Manjushri’s Gatha, Manjushri poetically present the “Buddhist creation story” and how humanity got to be in the state it is and he then comments on each of the 25 methods of attaining nirvana as presented by the Bodhisattvas. When he reaches Avalokiteshvara he says;
"…I now submit to the World Honoured One
That all Buddhas in this world appear
To teach the most appropriate method
Which consists in using pervasive sound.
The state of Samadhi can be
Realized by means of hearing.
Thus was Avalokiteshvara freed from suffering. …"
In one of the shortest and most beautiful Sutras (imo) titled The Heart Sutra Avalokiteshvara relates his experience to Shariputra.
"The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara actively engaged in Prajñāpāramitā, clearly saw the Five Skandhas to be empty, thus completely overcoming Ignorance.
O Shariputra, form is no other than Emptiness. Emptiness is no other than form.
Form is exactly Emptiness. Emptiness is exactly form. The same is true for sensation, perception, volitional formations, consciousness.
O Shariputra, all dharmas are forms of Emptiness; not born, not destroyed, not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain.
In Emptiness, there is no form, no sensation, perception, volitional formations, consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena; no realm of sight, no realm of consciousness; no ignorance and no end to ignorance; no old age and death, and no end to old age and death; no suffering, no cause of suffering, no extinguishing, no path; no wisdom and no attainment.
No attainment and thus the Bodhisattva lives Prajñāpāramitā, with no hindrance in the mind, no hindrance, therefore, no fear, far beyond deluded thoughts, this is Nirvana.
All past, present, and future Buddhas live Prajñāpāramitā, and, therefore, realize unexcelled complete Enlightenment.
Therefore know, Prajñāpāramitā is the great mantra, the vivid mantra, the best mantra, the unsurpassable mantra; it ends all pain. This is the truth, not a lie. So set forth the Prajñāpāramitā Mantra, set forth this mantra and say:
Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi Svaha! Prajñā Heart Sutra."
Is any of the above true? No, not until you experience it for yourself. Until you experience it for yourself it is only a story. Belief plays no part in this experience. Opinion plays no part in this experience.
“It is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not that of believing. The teaching of the Buddha is qualified as ehi-passika, inviting you to ‘come and see’, but not to come and believe.” - Walpole Rahula
Interesting. It seems quite a lovely sutta, I will check it out with respect and pleasure, after I finish the EBTs if not sooner.
However I know the benefits of taking one step before another myself. So I celebrate that video still, as a positive sign and step in this age. And I saw a sparkle in the young lady’s eye which suggests to me that she is not likely to stop exploring in an excellent direction.
If that cannot give you joy, forgive my simplicity. I have to work with what is presented to me in this life.
And thank you for posting again. It was beneficial to me.
In some zen-centres new-comers are given basic breath-awareness training such as counting breaths from 1 to 10. If the mind wanders off the idea is to start again at ‘1’. Gradually a new student may be able to stay with the breath without distraction. We receive basic training in anapanasati in Theravada-oriented centres. Gradually our insight unfolds with dedication and a loving heart. People start their journey wherever they happen to find themselves, When the time is right with the right kinds of supportive conditions we find our way to freedom. A freedom that is always available and is not the result of wanting things to happen but letting go of craving - with a clear and kind heart/mind. Meditation has no ultimate goal that ‘we’ arrive at - nobody gets enlightened. On arrival there is no one there at all - there never was. There are no footprints on the other shore. May all beings be liberated!
Breath attention is a great one though, imo.
The “decision to meditate” may manifest as a purpose, desire, insight, whatever. Something gave you a “kick” to get off dead-center.
"some conception of the goal of meditation."
Some conception of a goal is a thought process. If you set up a feedback loop always checking “have i gotten there yet?” for example. How will the mind ever become quiet? It is always busy applying self-defined parameters to something we only know “after the fact” because in a meditative state thought is not present.
For example, you are present at a most beautiful sunset. You experience this sunset in a wordless, thoughtless state, time stops. We have all had the opportunity to do this. A real “aha-experience.” After the experience you find words to re-member this experience to yourself and to another. But it is not the experience itself, is it. And the relating of the experience is incomplete. It depends on your vocabulary for one thing. It depends on how much you retained in memory. It depends on your motives, your agenda at the moment. I’m not telling you anything that you cannot prove for yourself. The experience of the sunset was, in a sense, a meditative act. When it is brought into thought and word it is no longer the “act.”
Now, one is present at a most beautiful sunset. One’s mind is comparing this sunset with the previous sunset, “Is it more beautiful?” “How come it is over so quickly?” “Did this sunset meet or beat the previous sunset, in beauty, silence etc?” Did one experience the 2nd sunset or did one get lost in thought and was one completely removed from the sunset? One can answer these questions for oneself. One can begin to probe how one’s mind works.
To set up a “conception of a goal” in meditation is like trying to catch the wind. Meditation is not something static. You can’t grab it and have it do things for you because it is not grab-able. How does one set a goal as defined by the senses, all six of them, to a state that is beyond the senses?
If there is any goal in meditation maybe it should be that we include it in every moment.
I hope this helps or at least confuses you enough that you will look deeper into this matter.
Ajahn Brahm told me a legendary story about one of the Daoist teachers - I think it was ‘Lao Dzu’. He used to like to go for long walks in the forest in complete silence. Someone asked if they could accompany him and he agreed on the condition that they remained silent. At one point they arrived at a cliff with a majestic view and ‘Lao Dzu’s’ walking companion said something like: its so beautiful - he never got to walk with the teacher again.
Or maybe Chuang Tzu, as I think he sometimes wrote about Lao Tzu? Zhuangzi in modern spelling.