Maybe not. But one idea in the EBTs is that the dhamma is “open to investigation”. You do the practices and confront the reality of the dhamma face to face, so to speak, and rely on the refuge you make of your own encounter. Then you can use that experience to evaluate the things you read.
There are also the philological and critical studies of people like Norman, Bronkhorst, Gombrich, Vetter and Wynne - and people writing in Japanese and other Asian languages I can’t read - to help make some sense out of the construction of the texts.
Wow. You are truly fearless! I am tranquil climbing slowly but have yet to achieve Go-Ape swinging equanimity in the big trees.
When I first started climbing, looking down in terror, I could only think, “What shall I do as I fall to my death?” In this way I spent one horrible day following the guide to a higher death, looking straight down a cliff.
One day, after 20 years of climbing, my foot slipped and I fell. And as I fell, I thought, “I am falling.”
Purpose, no, but somethings can be meaningful (as opposed to that which is meaningless) even if it is the work to remove oneself from a problem.
The technique is only one of many from the Noble eightfold path- Right effort (much like MN20 methods) that I found helpful with anxiety, sadness, annoyance etc. It helps to work on all the steps of the path as much as possible as they bounce off on each other. Therapy should be included in it too. Work related anxiety for example is often linked to the (irrational) fear of losing one’s job - when it’s possible to see it is irrational the rational thought takes over and anxious emotions ‘pop’ quite quickly. Sadness often has an irrational craving driving it.
In the US, the fear of losing one’s job is very often not irrational. Many people have precarious employment situations, and could see their job go with the next round of downsizing or outsourcing, or in the next recession.
I think i now understand what you are looking for. From what i understand, an Arahant is said to be ever mindful. For he has removed all causes that would muddle the mind.
Those who, having removed bad things, live always mindful,
The Buddhas who have destroyed the fetters,
truly they are brāhmaṇas in the world.”
Here is another description of an Arahant that might interest you
I describe one who possesses four other qualities as a great man with great wisdom. What four?
(1) Here, he is practicing for the welfare and happiness of many people; he is one who has established many people in the noble method, that is, in the goodness of the Dhamma, in the wholesomeness of the Dhamma.
(2) He thinks whatever he wants to think and does not think what he does not want to think; he intends whatever he wants to intend and does not intend what he does not want to intend; thus he has attained to mental mastery over the ways of thought.
(3) He gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life.
(4) With the destruction of the taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, he dwells in it.
This makes sense to me as well. Worrying about the danger of falling crippled me. Worrying about losing my job crippled me. Then I got laid off. The previous worry about losing my job didn’t help at all. I had to find a job. So I did.
I find the answers in the EBTs ambiguous, so not satisfactory. It’s like setting out on a journey and not being clear about the destination…though actually the journey feels worthwhile anyway, it’s just so fascinating.
the problem then is that one must practice to make sense of how Nibbana was described. Jhana has been described as a kind of Nibbana. An experience of samadhi is really helpful to understand what the goal is all about
Sorry, but I am inclined to doubt your diagnosis in terms of getting ahead of myself. I do not believe I am having any new fears. In fact, I believe I have less fear overall than before. My experience of my own situation is that with the deepening of meditative awareness, I am becoming more aware of the fears that are always present.
Actually, I found crizna’s advice to be personally useful. When I sit meditation I often get to a point where my body starts shaking violently from root chakra. There’s no harm being done, just a sense of whole body saying, “NO! NO! NO!”.
I asked my teacher about it decades ago and he told me “keep practicing.” SInce then I have learned to practice around the shaking, using it as an alarm signal. For example, walking meditation helps. Reading suttas helps, etc.
So yes, the notion of getting ahead of oneself is true for me.
Yes, I understand that kind of situation. I just don’t think it applies to what I am talking about regarding my own situation. I am not talking about some powerful experience of panic or sweating or shaking or otherwise “freaking out.” I’m just talking about a more subtle and pervasive sense of underlying fear that I become more conscious of through mindful attention, whose causes are harder to define, and that is more resistant to the “letting go” that is possible with more coarse types of restlessness and worry.
Ah. I too have had such a fear all my life till this year. It is a fear that makes me hesitate and feel uncertain, a certain sense of dread. Once I started reading the suttas this year, I came across MN4 Fear and Terror:
There are ascetics and brahmins with unpurified conduct of body, speech, and mind who frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest. Those ascetics and brahmins summon unskillful fear and terror because of these flaws in their conduct.
This was quite startling to read. I could rock climb now and not melt into a quivering puddle of fear. But that residual fear was always there. And so, inspired by my friend AlexM, I tried an experiment. AlexM likes experiments. What I tried was observing the precepts.
Previously I had simply nodded and told myself, “Easy peasy. They are all rational, and I am rational, so not a problem.” And then I didn’t observe the precepts. I simply lived under the unskillful assumption that since I understood the precepts, I would observe them.
So the experiment I tried was this. I would observe the precepts every moment I felt fear. That’s all I did.
“Thank you officer. I did not know I was speeding in a school zone. I was unmindful.”