RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

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Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenment?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

1. The words - "we do not believe in a limited emotional, behavioral model of enlightenment"
2. What the words mean - there are no limits to the emotions or behavior of an enlightened person. This means that an arahant can get angry, murder, or rape and still truthfully claim to be enlightened.
3. What the words imply - if you believe that enlightenment is end-point of a path that eliminates suffering, then behavior does not change along the course of the path. One's attainment at any level implies nothing about emotional or behavioral constraints, and requires no such constraints.
4. Why it matters - this gets to the reason why most people practice: to eliminate suffering. The Buddha claims that suffering can be eliminated by eliminating attachment (to self, to others, to wealth, etc). Elimination of attachment eliminates a whole chain of reactions that culminates in the suffering behavior.
5. A possible source of confusion - there may be a cause and effect confusion. Perhaps an enlightened mind is capable of feeling anger, but just doesn't. It is not a self-imposed limit because there is just no impetus for acting in these ways.
6. My experience - sitting for 8 years, my behavioral and emotional reactions have become more limited. I am less reactive, more likely to see conflict from the other persons side. I find this profoundly satisfying. I credit greater awareness of the moment coupled with greater discernment of what is skillful and not skillful, which is learned in meditation.
7. My view - The words(1) are inconsistent with my theoretical(4), and with my practical(6) understanding of the path. It is not clear to me why someone who believed (1) would choose to meditate. Meditation is itself a limited behavior, and teaches the practitioner to limit behavior even further by teaching consistent non-reactivity in a variety of situations. I invite all comment and correction.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

Pookee,

I can neither entirely agree or disagree with you.

Taken to it's end, why do anything? Why move and arm or get up in the morning? There are tales of yogis in India who are so absorbed in the true mind that they are unable to move, speak, or take care of themselves. This is the general direction of the limited range model. In a sense, the true mind can not do anything: think, move, act, breathe, cry, etc. But in another sense, there is this great movement, this great life. This is why I like Taoism: it teaches that heaven and earth are not to be divided, and one chosen over another. Rather, it teaches harmony.

DhO members seem to be almost all householders. If you have kids, sometimes you need to get angry with them. But you don't need to attach to the anger. If liberation meant you were unable to do things, then how would that be freedom?

On the other hand, I agree with the core of this sentiment. If so-called enlightened beings act just as any others, then what use is their enlightenment? For themselves, maybe, but what of other beings?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

This is a false choice. Freedom from the impulse to do murder does not imply catatonia.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hey Pookee,

One of the primary arguments against the 'limited emotional range' and 'limited possible action' is thus:

There have been, and continue to be, human beings on this earth who have never trained in insight and yet have an incredibly saintly way of being in the world. To tie insight training and morality, when taken to its extreme, is to say that all really good, caring, gentle, compassionate people are enlightened. I hope you would agree that this would be an erroneous assumption.

Many people who practice meditation have noticed an increased ability to stay present in difficult situations, as well as how to be less reactive. In my own case, I have learned to sit through an immense amount of intensity on the cushion, which has carried over in to my relational world. It helps me to act more skillfully. I'll give you that. But, I don't think there will ever be a day when I will be unable to act unskillfully. That's an extreme view, in my opinion -- one that I don't find very helpful.

~Jackson
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

If you are really free, then you can choose to murder or not. If you cannot murder, then you are just another type of robot.

Let's say you did murder some one. Let say it is a young painter who is aspiring to become a student of art. We might say that is wrong, what a horrible person. But let's say it was because you knew that this person was Hitler. Good or bad?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"This means that an arahant can get angry, murder, or rape and still truthfully claim to be enlightened."

This seems to be a major source of frustration to many people in the dharma world, mainly because they carry around in their minds a common model (limited emotional range) that says an enlightened person is just plain above "that human stuff" and they seem to misunderstand what is meant by "eliminate suffering." Just my two cents:

We're all human beings, enlightened or un-enlightened. If you accept the idea that what makes us human is the way our brains and minds work then you have to accept that to be human means to have those capabilities and behave in ways that are consistent with them. If at any time you become incapable of any of those human-defining things then you are, it seems to me, impaired in some major way, either mentally or emotionally, or simply not a human being. This puts the definition of enlightenment where I believe it belongs: not on how we become restrained in action, thought or feeling, but on how we perceive and relate to those perceptions. This is NOT the same thing as being incapable of feeling any feeling or thinking any thought.

I don't believe in the limited emotional range model, but still I meditate every day and have done so for a long time. I did so at first for a set of reasons and I do so now for a somewhat different set of reasons. The reasons have changed as I have become more competent and knowledgable about myself and the way my mind and senses operate together. And... I find I can eliminate suffering not by elminating the feelings and processes that cause it but, in part, by knowing them intimately.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Hi Jackson.

Your first point asserts that sainthood doesn't imply enlightenment. Even if true, it says nothing about enlightenment implying sainthood.

I am glad to hear that you, too, are learning to be more skillful in life because of meditation. Would you consider these skills to be increasing or decreasing? Do you find yourself feeling more or less free because of these limits on your behavior? What other benefits do you derive from your practice?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

cmarti, thanks for your input but I found your post to be very confusing and difficult to apply any of it to my question. This is a particularly confusing sentence, especially the part that talks about perceiving perceptions.

However, I would also like to know what those reasons are that you allude to.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Yikes! I didn't say that there are limits on my behavior. Far from it. Learning to practice more skillful ways of being in the world is not the same thing as "limiting" my behavior. In other words, the choice is always mine. I'm not skillful on autopilot as a result of my training.

Let's use a common behavior as an example: walking. You wouldn't say that someone who is skilled at walking couldn't stumble every now and then, would you? Even if it's unlikely that they trip and fall, it's still possible.

It's the same way with emotions. Learning to sit with the intensity of my emotions has nothing to do with whether or not they arise. I still feel just as much anger, craving, lust, boredom, and sadness as I always have. Insight practice is helping to change my relationship to my emotions, but I don't think there's ever a point when any particular emotion actually stops arising at all. And yet again, the "behavior" of working skillfully with my emotions can get quite refined, but never perfect. I think this is just common sense.

The biggest benefit I've gotten out of practice is that I have a sense that I'm getting closer and closer to home. I'm also becoming more embodied, which helps to keep me grounded when the world throws curve balls my way.

~Jackson

Edit: Addt'l content.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: ccasey

Hello: I see a problem right at the outset here in what you said:
"This means that an arahant can get angry, murder, or rape and still truthfully claim to be enlightened."

Anger is a FEELING, just that--only an empty feeling that arises and passes.

For me, the limited emotional range model just points out that feelings still come and go, we are human after all.

Murder and rape are not feelings. That a feeling is directly connected with murder or rape is not true. Just because the rooster crows at dawn does not mean it causes the sun to rise.

Also, murder and rape are very vague terms. I hope that these issues do not get in the way of your practice today. How is it going? If you keep practicing, you'll find out for yourself!

You may find the new book, "Emotional Awareness" by Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman Ph.D. helpful to review. There is a chapter in the book on anger.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

In my view, skillful and limited are equivalent. A very young child wishes to learn how to write. At first the child plays with the paper by moving the pen across the entire sheet in broad, bold strokes. Later, the child learns to constrain her hand's movement, making squiggles and straight lines. Her hands motion is limited. All creative acts involves a limit of some sort: the painter constrains paint to be in particular locations on the canvas, the builder constrains wood to be in certain positions, and the programmer constrains information to be "just so".

Your second statement...wow! That has not been my experience at all! My negative emotions have reduced, and my positive emotions increased.

I think I know what you mean about "closer to home": there is a sense of stripping away, being more honest, genuine, more me. I do not know what you're saying about being more "embodied".
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hmm, hate to own up to it, but I agree some with the emotional range model. There are just clearly some things I do not feel anymore, and I know what got rid of them. "THE" emotional range model takes things to an extreme, but the concept obviously came from somewhere. Furthermore, there are practices one can do post-arhatship which cause extremely "range limiting" permanent effects, although those of us who have dabbled in that seem very pleased with the outcome.

One thing I would mention is that most of the limitations aren't on "what" feelings are limited, but typically their intensities, as has been cited by several posters above. That said, here are a few feelings I have not felt in months: jealousy, arrogance, shame. I can still "see" when these happen in myself and others, but there is no feeling accompanying them. This makes a lot of sense, because those 3 in particular are directly related to the personal intellectually based self. Similarly, the intensity of some emotions has dropped so low that I cannot really even call them by their former name, examples: depression, nervousness, stress, fear.

Edit: I also theorize that this lead to the dogma stating "an arhat must become a monk after 7 days or they'll die." 2500 years ago, not feeling fear or not knowing when you're being an arrogant jack-ass could probably get you killed pretty quickly. Haha.

My two cents.
Trent
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Perhaps threefold training (morality, concentration, and insight) can help one to spend more time on the calmer, happier side of the emotional continuum. Even if that's the case, it would be erroneous to assert that any of the so-called "negative" emotions become permanently unavailable to the arahat. Come on... that's just silly :p

Edit: Becoming more embodied is another topic, I guess. Maybe I'll start a thread on it in the future.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
give everyone some attitude

joy
kindness
compassion
peace
understanding
relinquishment

& take nothing back
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
One of my definitions of 'emotions' is:

Orienting thoughts that prepare us for or sustain us through some purposeful activity. Emotions have to do with agendas for action. Emotion is a pressure and an urgency that is always tied to physiological response and physiological experience. It is thought, but it is more concrete, more engaged, more enmeshed. It does not have the freedom of more abstract thought, but it does have more of a certain kind of power.

Sometimes I just think of emotions as 'limbic thoughts'. (i.e., 'can an enlightened person think the same (limbic) thoughts as non-enlightened people'?

If we talk about emotion in terms of the physiological energy or color of the subjective state that can mean one thing.

If we talk about emotion in terms of specific agendas with which we associate the subjective state that can mean something else.

It is easy to imagine that the same physiological states (hunger, adrenal/sympathetic excitation,sleepiness, etc.,) would be possible before and after realization of nonduality. These physiological states are the natural functioning of a body (remembering that the body includes a nervous-endocrine system).

As for the possible agendas to which an enlightened awareness could be directed, well that's another question. I definitely do not know. I'll work to find out.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
thus far the agenda has been

observe

understand

accept

let go

stop

get right

go right

more or less along those lines

as I see it, I'm self explanatory if I pay more attention to what I am more closely all the time. thats going in, going out has the whole universe sitting on that original face so...

I propose deep space retreats to outer ring planets. That would be one agenda and... saffron slacks and raincoats.
Ok, nuff for now, interesting subject, makes me all warm and fuzzy.
:]
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
heh. you want to find out one of your agendas quickly, have a friend hold you underwater for a little while longer than is comfortable.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I could just hold my own head underwater or dive for that matter. What for? You will eventually drown, what would that prove? Torture is boring.

Conversely to the statecraft approach, which I find more proactive and engaging,
there is, in curiously, not a dualistic but a polarized way, with no middle path mediating the opposing vectors of kamma, not in a position of complete control, an influence, presenting full waking right 8 fold steps in the context of resultant kamma manifesting in ongoing present moments.

The Buddha's Agenda
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.008.nypo.html


There is a lot of the 'thou shalt not' territory that some may feel is austere but is only another description of being unburdened by means of negation (a full baggage checklist). Effectively attained, it is as wide open as the positive description of this kind of result of purification of the mind. One effort restrains and the other releases and this is done mindfully and progressively. This map also gets examined as four stages, what to; overcome, abandon, develop & perfect.
thus have I heard
: > )
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"cmarti, thanks for your input but I found your post to be very confusing and difficult to apply any of it to my question."

Okay. What I said can be boiled down to a sentence: we are all human beings, we all have the same range of emotions and capabilities, and being enlightened or un-enlightened does not change that, ever. I'll try to post more later today but I have to attend to the business of children and work for a while....
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
I'm going to treat this as a real question.

When we are in situations that threaten our survival, certain deep emotional/physiological processes tend to activate in order to focus our coping abilities and temporarily augment their efficiency.

If your friend chose to hold you there until you actually drowned, the time of interest would be the span before that actually occurred during which time you would very likely experience a number of subjective emotional states. These would be related to the body-mind's agenda to galvanize its resources for the purpose of continued survival.

From a purely investigative perspective, this would if not prove then at least suggest that you were capable of experiencing whatever subjective states happened to occur during that time.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I could just hold my own head underwater or dive for that matter. What for? You will eventually drown, what would that prove? Torture is boring."

I think Nigel was making a very important point: you can't avoid certain reactions that are hardwired into you because of what you are. If someone is actively trying to kill you you'll react, and react like any other human being.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hmm...

Explain how it is that you can see emotions arising without feeling them. This is kind of like saying, "Yeah, emotions arise, but there are no emotions that arise with them." What do you mean by that?

Jackson
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
OK, now I have to own up to it. This has also been my experience. Arahat is a transition point and not a steady state. At that transition point (4th path), jealousy, fear, etc. still came up and was experienced in a fairly common way (for me). But this changed fairly quickly along the lines of what Trent is saying. Fear, jealousy, etc. seem to burn off and no longer be recognizable in their old form. This experience cannot be understood by anyone who has not gone through it and I think this is why we have these relative models – as 'working models'. Emotion has two qualities that need to be teased out: the thought itself (mind) and the 'charge' or energy behind it (a somatic experience). A thought of jealousy can arise with such a small charge that it can no longer be called 'jealousy' any longer.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Is there just one reality and understanding the emotional range pre- and post-realization - with many stages in between, and quite a few post-awakening stages - or is it possible that different views on the nature and dynamics of emotion and motivation will yield different realization-potentials, so that the emotional range of an awakened one may be validated as "limited and virtuous" in a classical arahant, "positive and dynamic" in a bodhisattva, and "total/complete" in a siddha? It's not just how we "see" these things (whether speculatively or not), but how this will impact the path-enactment via pre-meditated reach and range of attainment, and thus even the effect of any such attainment on the individual mind-stream, but also on his or her eventual social benefit and whole-life engagement.

So, does a siddha experience all human emotions, and act in all human ways? No! Is s/he thus limited emotionally or behaviorally? No! Being free and real is no limitation. So not experiencing secondary emotions based on confusion is one thing, but still experiencing all primary emotions - including the "difficult" ones, such as anger and rage and lust and pride - is something else altogether since these primary energies have been purified of all dualism in the fundamental sense, and also intrinsically aligned with compassion and reoriented by ethical intelligence in the relative sense. From this vantage point, the previous non-awakened state may be more reasonably regarded as a "limited emotional range", arising as it does from a limited awareness of self and environment.

And there are more than just these three-vehicle perspectives if we update the platform with contemporary findings on emotional maturity.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Good stuff Nigel, perhaps some specific examples of behavioral change can shed light on this. There are some reactions that are notable only in their absence. The panic of being underwater too long is actually one that I am very familiar with: I am a swimmer, and if a swimmer pushes too hard, and doesn't breath sufficiently, he experiences a panic that is quite miserable and which takes a while to recover from.

However, it is possible to get the "out of oxygen" signal and not let it overwhelm your workout. If the mind is very calm, the signal is quite clear - indeed, clearer than usual. If the mind remains calm it can assess the situation: ah, all I need to do is back off slightly on the kick, take a particularly deep breath and deep exhale for a few strokes, and all will be well. No panic. If the mind is very very calm you can make even more minute adjustments such as the position of the tongue or adjusting the muscles in the neck (to allow for more air flow).

The alternative is to get freaked out, stop swimming, catch your breath, and recover from the traumatic experience - which takes minutes and really degrades the workout.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
pokee: alternately, you can keep exhaling short hard bursts of air (pah! pah!) to ease the discomfort, get through it completely, feel sparkingly clear in your mind, then pass out unexpectedly from the actual lack of oxygen. this one is probably better attempted sitting on a bed or couch.

nigel: i can appreciate your point that a living creature's agenda is to survive.

--

chuck (chelek) brings up a good point about breaking down emotions into a psychosomatic charge and the thought. in my experience, the charge comes slightly before the thought and actually fuels it.. though the latter can also trigger further charges and accompanying thoughts. makin' progress and taggin' attainments does do something i havent understood completely clearly (but can vouch for the existence of), something along the lines of muting the charge or even dismantling the charge basis a part of the way. most of how we experience feelings and make stories out of them (that then induce further feelings and further stories) is just a charge based on a thought based on a charge based on a thought based on a charge .... much of which is nonsense in the face of original face, and just doesnt build up anymore (and what little still builds up quickly collapses like a house of cards).

what im describing there is really nothing unusual, i think everyone (attainmed or not) who pays attention a lot probably experiences that from time to time, i certainly did. but attainment very quickly made it the norm for me .. and sounds similar to what trent and chuck are saying.

ps i would still prefer certain kinds of emotional experience to never happen again k thx

edit: typos and slightly better rewording
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Hi Hokai, thanks for jumping in with both feet! I didn't completely understand your post (and your first sentence should win some sort of prize!), but I think you're making a case for a non-linear path, which would go toward point (4) "why it matters". The practical importance of defining enlightenment goes way down in a non-linear path, because one can no longer use the end-point to evaluate progress. For example, if I believe enlightenment is a completely non-reactive state (non-reactive in the 'swimming panic' sense I mention in post 24), then I can be confident that I'm walking the path by being at least partially non-reactive. However, if the end-point is unrelated to the steps required to get there, all bets are off, and enlightenment is no longer a difference of degree, but a difference of kind. (It also means the path is extremely difficult to navigate)

Please let me know if this understanding of your assertion is correct.

Also, if you're willing, can you talk about what benefit meditation gives you?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"It's not just how we "see" these things (whether speculatively or not), but how this will impact the path-enactment via pre-meditated reach and range of attainment, and thus even the effect of any such attainment on the individual mind-stream, but also on his or her eventual social benefit and whole-life engagement."

Hokai, can you please elaborate on this? It seems you are connecting how we perceive at various stages to how we act and operate in the world, but I'm not sure.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: ccasey

I was thinking about your comments on the limited emotional range model:
I know for me all of the emotions seem to have found more of a middle ground, no longer extremes.

And, there is still a slight tendency to "drive" emotions as before. A couple of weeks ago, I tried to use some irritation to get the kids going and light a fire under their buts for neglecting things they were very unmindful of, but I simply couldn't get the old anger going, it just poops out, comes out all neutral, sounding all canned and so funny. They were so facetious , "Uh, huh, right Mom, yeah, okay, we'll get right on it." In such a relaxed tone and laughed so hard at me. We all laughed!

That said, there are intense feelings of ecstasy, joy and profound gratitude, indescribable waves with luminous qualities within attention. This certainly wasn't happening very often before.

Also I wonder for some of the folks who attained path recently if they had kids at home to supervise, shop, feed and cook for frequently, had an often not mindful spouse, a house half gutted, a sick parent, and unemployment to deal with-- if your posts might sound a little bit different? :-)

Fortunately the body/mind is moving in a new and lighter way to meet the demands of life here. And, since the demands are intense, the call for embodiment of This is also intense--(to meet these demands with compassion), which perhaps puts one on a fast track...only research would show this.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
@cmarti I'm talking about the importance of view, because of its prospective and anticipative influence. 8-fold path starts with view and intention, everything else flows from that. Aspirations and beliefs - including the unconscious ones - exert a strong influence on ones development, even beyond awakening.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I'm talking about the importance of view, because of its prospective and anticipative influence."

That's perfect. Thank you, Hokai, for the elucidation.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
To add a little bit to what chuck and tarin said, some feelings are mostly "thought feelings," if you will. If you get embarrassed, for example, you feel all light headed, your cheeks flush, your mind kinda runs around in circles trying to justify itself, etc. With no thought-centered self, this just doesn't happen. Does embarrassment and other similar "head-centered" feelings happen? Perhaps, I can't honestly say I've paid enough attention to notice it if that is happening on a subtle level, but I really do think some are totally gone.

Jackson-- after a life of feeling emotion, there's still an intellectual component to the would-be trigger of the "missing" emotion. So, for example, if I see body language that is indicative of pride, I can guess a person is being prideful, but that's about the best I can do. This would also suggest to me that many of these feelings are related to projections in the psychological sense, which makes good sense from a non-dual perspective.

I did not mention in my other posts that I am all in favor of most emotions AND their intensities. I love feeling deeply and I would never suppress an emotion. Unless I have accidentally done so, what I feel (or do not feel, as the case may be) is the result of the process. Hard to say definitively though, of course.

Trent
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
Here is an interesting question:

Acting. The craft of acting is a laboratory for the intentional cultivation, embodiment, and expression of diverse emotional states.

Acting is an appropriate context for the generation of many emotional states that might be inappropriate or unhelpful in other contexts. The context of those emotions being distinguished by intention in contrast to compulsion.

(Much of the discussion about emotional range has assumed that emotions, particularly 'negative' emotions, must occur in an atmosphere of compulsion.)

So, after enlightenment, or on the road of enlightenment, has your ability and skill in acting degraded or increased? Do you think you would be a worse or a better actor than before? Would it be more difficult to gain access to particular emotional states should you so choose?

It starts to seem more like a question of sila. (i.e., based on the view and the choices made within that view-to faintly and incompletely echo Hokai's point).

tarin: i can appreciate your point that a living creature's agenda is to survive.

It is only one of many agendas. But it's usually relatively easier to elicit and observe.

I intend to fade back into quietude. My time would be better spent (and the board better served) by my cultivating, confirming and realizing the insight attainments that so many others here have. This topic was just very interesting and important to me. Thanks for humoring my participation. Back to silently benefiting now.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Quick status: I see no firm arguments in favor of rejecting the view of limited models of enlightement. The firmest argument so far was "argument from the existence of untrained saints", but logically it doesn't hold up. So far my follow-up questions to proponents (Jackson and Hokai), particularly about the real benefit of practice, and the applicability of enlightenment models to everyday practice, have gone unanswered. I believe those answers would shed some light on this important issue and I hope to see them soon.

Nigel, thanks for contributing. Feel free to pop by anytime.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
I think I alluded to this before, but I'll try to be more clear this time.

I do not consider myself to have finished the journey, but I do know that my insight practice has brought me closer to home. The more I realize and open up to my truest nature, the more freedom and self-confidence I have. This freedom and self-confidence provide what appears to be an excellent platform from which to continue working on the practice of morality. My Buddhist practice (overall) has contributed to my being a better human being, but how that relates to insight is not that clear to me. This is the best answer I can give at this phase of my practice. Who knows? My views may change as my practice deepens.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: bboyYen

Well one way in which the LM model makes no sense I mean the new model makes no sense is that if an arahat can experience aversion, and aversion being accompanied by an unpleasant feeling that would be dukkha.

Basically he would be experiencing dukkha.

Unless of course if you somehow experience hating something without having an unpleasant feeling accompany it and I wouldn't be sure as to how that felt because that would make no sense.

Jealousy too for example, when one experiences jealousy it's not pleasant. I'm not sure how to imagine hating something or being jealous of someone without having an unpleasant feeling, otherwise the object of hating would not be fulfilled.

I guess this is what Alan Chapman or Duncan talked about when he said that an arahat still experiences hate but is aware of it and thus it does not affect him. Kind of like what Yabaxoule said.

something like that.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
@Hokai:
Don't know about 'just one reality'. But it does seem that there is this process that occurs and I could never have dreamed this one up because it has been most unexpected and unimaginable. I don't feel any view I had led to the experience of this. All I ever wanted to know was 'the truth' – whatever that is.

This awakening process occurring within and through life itself informs us – does it not? Are these “different views on the nature and dynamics of emotion and motivation” apart from the awakening process? It seems this process of integration, of authenticity uncovers a deeper 'view' that is just there – undeniably there and that that view is constantly being reinterpreted and co-evolving as this process continues. So, aren't view and process interwoven? Am I missing your point?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Adam_West

Personally, I have sympathy for the limited emotional and behavioural range model of enlightenment. In my experience of glimpsing what I perceive to be Buddha nature or Rigpa, "lower" or cruder emotional reactions and thought forms are not possible. It is of course possible to fall into distraction or consciously do so, and thus, exit out of that state of consciousness and give rise to the full spectrum of emotional, psychological and behavioural range. However, while in that realization, one experiences such clarity, peace, ease, wonder, and contact with an ineffable sacredness that these "lower" impulses are not present and antithetical. With ongoing glimpses, one becomes increasingly 'saturated' with this condition, such that one's emotional range and behaviour becomes modified in its habit patterns or propensity. It is not that these ranges are impossible, just less likely due to the chain of precipitating events or risk factors are protected against by the presence of clarity, bliss, ease and insight or clear seeing from a broader realization of the nature of being/reality (view). So, it may come down to our definition of enlightenment. As insight into phenomena without realization of Buddha nature may in fact be a first stage of enlightenment, one that does in fact fail to result in freedom from suffering and the usual psycho-emotional range. I have stated elsewhere that the archetypal enlightenment may represent a kind of cosmic enlightenment on an ongoing developmental continuum or pathway. Thus, in that sense we may all grow into it. In the same way that adults grow out of childish perceptions as they move into adulthood, so might we grow out of a cruder "view" of reality and ways of interacting with, and expressing ourselves in said reality.

cont.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Adam_West


Perhaps indeed, we do need to find higher standards, just not those of mythic supermen, but somewhere in between. Enlightenment is not so easy to attain, and not so difficult either. In the same way it is not so different from the norm, but is also, somehow quite different.

In kind regards,

Adam.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
@Chuck "All I ever wanted to know was 'the truth' – whatever that is." Well, that's an aspiration. But you can't say you had no view of 'the truth' along with that aspiration. You don't *feel* that view led to the experience, but if the process and view are interwoven as you say - with which I agree completely - then the view not being separate from the process *has* led to the experience with all the other constituents of the process. But view is even more important than that, because it allows for the process in the first place. In beginning and every step of the way.

The ultimate view is somehow already available, and to the extent it is realized, it will dissolve all previously held beliefs about the ultimate, but there's business as usual. And that's when it gets interesting. What makes you do this or that? And how do you choose between possible ways of interpreting the continuing process? Does the process self-interpret? In short, evolving in the relative sphere is unending, and this knowledge is quite recent. Was it there before but everyone missed it?

@Adam - Good points.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I intend to fade back into quietude. My time would be better spent (and the board better served) by my cultivating, confirming and realizing the insight attainments that so many others here have. This topic was just very interesting and important to me. Thanks for humoring my participation."

Nigel, please continue to participate openly. You do not need to have reached any particular level of attainment to contribute on DhO. You are already, right now, an intelligent contributor. Everything I know tells me that diversity of opinion is really important in what we talk about. Everyone has something cogent and real to add to these conversations. This site is for everyone who is interested in the Dharma and for the purpose of sharing experiences and learning from each other. You can, very clearly, contribute to that goal. A fresh opinion, a new insight, is just what we need here.

Peace.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
Hey, thanks, Chris. I appreciate that.

I doubt I would say that much anyway. At this point there's alot more for me to learn/practice than there is for me to discuss. Like most people, I have to be careful not to get lost in abstraction.

If I know something that can be put in words and that can clearly benefit someone, I won't sit on it. Thanks again.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

There is more support for the limited model than I would have guessed. I would like to see the major proponents of the rejection view participate in this discussion (particularly Daniel Ingram and Vince Horn). Hopefully they will, but in the meantime here is a quote from Daniel's book.

So, he rejects the limited model because it engenders high expectations that cause paralysis on the mat. Daniel's underlying motivation is to help the practitioner avoid undue aversion.

If the instructions for Vipassana were "try to sense the peace and stillness, like the perfect Buddha; anything else means you are a failure; if you can't be at peace then you shouldn't even try" then Daniel would have a good point. Luckily, these are not the instructions, at least not in my tradition. We are instructed to accept, unconditionally, all emotions that arise.

How then is this acceptance of our own humanity and acceptance of a "limited" Buddha compatible? Here's the really weird part: acceptance of all emotional states on the mat means that you experience less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff in life. It just happens that way. Speaking to many other practitioners in different traditions it's clear this is not a limited phenomena.

This important piece (let's call it the dependent origination piece) of the puzzle connects "acceptance" to the "very limited" endpoint of Enlightenment. One's entire job on the mat is to observe and accept. The increase in positivity, and limitation of negativity, occurs on its own.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
The limited emotional model – when taken literally – is not helpful. Those of us that seem to support it are doing so from an experiential context. I understand what the model is pointing to. At the same time I agree with others that, when taken literally, it leads to very unskillful views.

For one thing – it tends to generate a view that awakening is some kind of other-worldly state of saintly perfection. Another aspect is that it strengthens the mushroom factor in that people who do go through this experience just don't want to deal with the 'sainthood' projections and so choose to remain silent. A third element is that if awakening seems so beyond my comprehension - that all I can hope for is just to meditate and gain merit or however the story goes - then I do not make use of my opportunity to actually do the work.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 7 Join Date: 5/27/09 Recent Posts
I think the value of rejecting certain models of enlightenment is to benefit one's practise. Ultimately all these models are just pointers, descriptions of a place that has to be seen and understood by oneself in order to assert their value or lack thereof. My own practise has benefited immensely from rejecting the limited emotional model, because otherwise I would have failed to see some of my intense and less pleasant emotions as just another aspect of reality that has to be seen through, and not as something that had to be banished from my experience completely. If I had continuously assessed my progress on the path by a lack of emotions, I would have missed lots of opportunities to explore this part of reality. As all aspects of reality have to be seen as they are, including thoughts about progress, expectations, belief in models etc.. If I was steadfastly attached to one particular map or model, I might overlook certain dimensions of existence that beg to be explored and understood.

I'm in agreement with Shinzen on this one:
http://tinyurl.com/luz4p4
hightlights of "Enlightenment Maps and Models":
"usually it so not so much a rejecting [of maps and models], but as an improving process, a really good map of enlightenment would make enlightenment readily available to great masses of human beings, virtually anyone on the planet with informed consent"
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Yes, this could be a very helpful thread for a lot of us so long as we can continue to foster open discussion and DhO doesn't end up in a position where the community has to take a position and hold to it. Obviously there is a wide range of experience in this area and I would be very interested to see what the aggregate of that experience adds up to.

For the purposes of this discussion you can mark me down as a Limited Model Proponent. It isn't that I am a believer in models, imho they all break down at some point and as far as I can see the universe and (at least in my case) this body & mind as well refuses to be put in a box and forced to exist within some sort of well defined limits.

Take the water boarding example for instance. Well, I am one of those who early on drew the conclusion that some kind of peace attained on a remote mountain top would only really serve so long as one remained forever on a remote mountain top and so I have been in pursuit of a more comprehensive kind of peace and for that matter a more comprehensive kind of awakening/enlightenment as well. I mean the sort of awakening that can smile down the barrel of a nine mil handgun and not suffer the least agitation. So, I suppose, in one sense, that might seem limited to some people. To me it appears quite opposite to limited, to me it appears as expansive, as elevated, as superior. That is my experience with it. To "fail" to feel fear in the face of a threat. To instead feel compassion or curiosity or to understand and act in calmness. To me, that is superior in every way in my own experience to simply suffering with the "normative" conditions.

Just to make clear, I'm not arguing that the Dhamma is this and not that, or that things can or should be seen in only one sort of way. That is not my experience at all, I tend to hold to my views very loosely indeed and that is why they continue to evolve in various ways.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

@Chuck I agree there is great opportunity for misunderstanding. We have to be careful. But being careful doesn't need to involve outright rejection - that is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

@maya81 That is a good link, thanks. I don't know much about Shinzen Young but I like his skeptical, scientific, practical approach. However, I'm not sure where he talked about rejecting models of enlightenment. He spoke about them being all pretty bad, but he didn't say that there was value in rejecting them. Your statement about missing certain emotional states concerns me. There is a tacit assumption here that the limited model implies and instruction to limit your awareness, or somehow maintaining a closed-mind (if that is even possible), or otherwise passing judgment on your experiences as they happen. But it doesn't imply that at all! If you accept everything, becoming non-reactive, miserable reactions will decrease in your life. Eventually they will decrease to zero, and hey presto! you're enlightened.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 7 Join Date: 5/27/09 Recent Posts
@pookee, yes I agree rejection is a strong word and it's not what I meant. All the models have some value, but no model can be the whole truth, because it's not that simple. In that way the LM model has its limitations and that's it, like all the other models too. So yeah, it doesn't need to be rejected just improved upon and put in its proper context, so that people don't get fixated on just this one model and make wild projections and assumptions about their own practise and other people's enlightenment. Without exposure to and contact with other models and broader views this could be very difficult.

About the acceptance of emotions part. Not something I could do from the get-go, it took a while, because I first had to learn to become aware of them fully. Isn't that weird? As a female? I was mostly living in my head, before I learned how to meditate.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
I think that presenting a limited emotional range model in this way is giving the so-called "good" or "pleasant" emotions too much importance. Taking a cue from Hokai's page on Fundamental View*, lets look at Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's brief description of The Four Seals of Dharma**...

All compounded things are impermanent.

All emotions are painful. This is something that only Buddhists would talk about. Many religions worship things like love with celebration and songs. Buddhists think, "This is all suffering."

All phenomena are empty; they are without inherent existence. This is actually the ultimate view of Buddhism; the other three are grounded on this third seal.

The fourth seal is that nirvana is beyond extremes.

If all emotion (or dualistic experience in general) is inherently painful, why would we design a model of enlightenment so heavily weighted toward on side of the emotional continuum? It would be silly to assert that there are no emotional benefits to dharma practice. However, nirvana is beyond the extremes, which includes the extremes of "good" and "bad" emotions. If we focus on emotions as the measure of enlightenment, I think we are in danger of missing the point.

~Jackson

*http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/page/Fundamental+View
**http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1814

Edit: Spelling.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

I strongly agree, actually.The positive experience is that of being objective, aware, able to act rather than react. There is a kind of joy in experiencing something without suffering for the first time, even if there is pain. The same goes for pleasure (although that is far harder to experience!). I think its important to underscore that the path is not one that will lead to a constant state of sensual pleasure, e.g. a kind of mania.

Thanks for the link. I found this fragment interesting: "At Dharma Overground we tend to intuitively embrace..." Who is we, I wonder?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"Who is we, I wonder?"

Why, it's us ;-)
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
triplethink --

"To "fail" to feel fear in the face of a threat. To instead feel compassion or curiosity or to understand and act in calmness. To me, that is superior in every way in my own experience to simply suffering with the "normative" conditions."

Has this lack of fear in the face of imminent danger happened to you? What was your experience? Was fear actually missing from it entirely? Was it lessened?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
During a moment of pure awareness, otherwise known as Buddha-mind or rigpa, there are no unpleasant emotions by definition; there is only the perfection of awakeness. Awakeness is Buddha-ing. (Thanks to Rabbi David Cooper for his "God-ing process" concept, as set forth in his book "God is a Verb.")

Unpleasant emotions belong to the realm of dualistic thinking, which means all moments that are not Buddha-mind. I can think of several dualistic situations in which so-called negative emotions rarely arise. One is during and shortly after samatha meditation. Another is the 11th ñana, Knowledge of Equanimity, and the third is during the 4th ñana, The Arising and Passing Away of Phenomena. If there is some more-or-less permanent condition that allows for dualistic thinking but that somehow selects for only happy emotions, I don't know about it. My understanding is that our habitual dualistic way of thinking allows for the whole range of emotions unless they are temporarily suppressed as in the 3 situations mentioned above. Valium is also effective.

For advanced meditators, the goal should be to let be in Buddha-mind as much as possible and to gain stability in that. For beginning and intermediate yogis, the job is to balance samatha and vipassana until you can recognize Buddha-mind in your own mind-stream.

Thanks for listening.

May you be rigpa now. And don't forget to practice vipassana and samatha.

Kenneth
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Yes, many times and normative is normative calm. Agitation and anxiety can be attenuated on many levels. For instance I could quite calmly drown this body simply by swimming to the bottom of a pool and lying on the bottom. I could watch the whole thing occur right to death. Previous NDE stuff over time has pretty totally chilled me out about the big D. Thing is, no matter what is going on locally, universally samsara is emerging from and passing into non-existence at a faster than light speed. So, conditions are inherently free and at the same time there are patterns of habituation on many scales that go into the formations. This is why liberation requires the 'influences' of training to break those cycles of experience down and reveal the components and dynamics. Apparent control comes to those who know how far the lack of control extends. Observing where and why causes and conditions arise and pass; and then shifting the normative experiential border by exerting influence arisen in study of one's own mind and body and the derived knowledge and understanding.

I believe Daniel refers to this as resolve. I think of it as energy, vibrations, the life force that burns and is vibrating to live. I don't employ it to save the world, I employ it to let go of all that is within this body and mind, the life energy too can be let go of. But the nature of death is another subject all together. Beyond the body and mind there is nothing to let go of and nothing at all to fear.

Ok, please don't freak out and think of me as entirely heartless or insensitive. I am incredibly sensitive but I do have to admit that my emotions are increasingly a dispassionate but conscious display, aka forgeries. Like an actor, I can fabricate all kinds of responses to any given sensory inputs.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
There are all kinds of things that have changed over time; some with my attentions and some more as a result of them. There is a snowball effect. One central lever of this is the pleasant/ neutral/ unpleasant aspect of sensation. By attending to the three forms of the arising of the same experience one can learn to select which ever forms of the input data one puts this life energy, or vibrations, or resolve, or "ongoingness" into.

I think of the Buddha-ing (I like that one Kenneth, nice : ) as the 'ongoingness' of the 'thusness'. Impersonal and impersonating of the suffering people who do not understand it. I consider it important to be getting along in the world, evenhandedly with all beings. Saints tend to get shot at. Screw that noise. I want the world to know, I accept everyone's bs, I think existence is largely consensual and that people could take on largely their own karma/kamma. It works for me, but I'm alone most of the time and apart from that I deal with whatever may get in my face the same way, with the power of improv comedy. : )
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
i got shot at with a machine gun while walking down the street last year. i remember the popping sounds behind me, the screeching sounds of the perpetrators' accelerating vehicle, the breaking glass, and without looking to confirm my interpretation, dove behind a parked car and simultaneously shouted (as to be heard over the noise), in a commanding tone (as to be heard as an authority to be obeyed amid the commotion), to the person i was walking with to do the same, who then did. i remember crawling forward to seek better cover, even as our assailants drove away, and remember looking back at people laying on the ground a few metres behind me, one of whom was clearly in pain. i remember the tingle of fear, as well as the thrill of being confronted by a challenging situation, as i assessed it, and decided that it was now safe to get up.. i was the first one up. the man who had been shot was being attended to by his companions, one or two of whom were now also rising, and i decided it would be better to not get involved in that situation, as anything i could do for him was already being done by those with whom he was acquainted anyway.

(cont.)
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
i chose, instead, to stand some distance away from the situation and watch it unfold. my friend, who had first frozen but then also got down, possibly just in time, was now standing too, and was visibly shaken. the others were now shouting and flailing their arms and looking around anxiously. i too felt jittery as i felt the adrenaline surging through my body, but was quickly bored with it. is this all that fear does? it gets in the way in a big way. in the face of sufficient intelligence, and reflexes, with which i think at least most people are equipped, fear is something of a nuisance. this experience confirmed for me what i'd suspected before, which is that fear is a quick and often dirty way to try and stay alive, but the struggle often confounds the results. i was clearly the person least afraid in this situation, yet was probably the one most likely to survive it, as i was the least hindered by the freeze/fight/flight responses engendered by fear, given my quick response as well as recovery time. i have no military training, no real martial arts training, have never been shot at before, and am only reasonably fit. the only thing i had going for me was experience in consciously examining fear and a vested interest in never being afraid again. whether its to do with enlightenment or not, there is something to be said for 'limiting' one's emotional range, and if this can be accomplished, at least partially, via a meditative or contemplative practice, i am all for it.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
@Kenneth: What you seem to be saying – as I understand it – is that save for a few isolated experiences there is either rigpa or dualistic thinking (which may or may not be suppressed).

Awareness may identify with any of the sense doors – not just mental activity – agreed? When awareness identifies with subtle pleasant body sensations the mind inclines toward stillness. When awareness is engaged in this fashion, there is a sense of dispassion toward mental activity - 'I don't want to pick that up because it just doesn't feel good'. The practice is habitual – in that it requires repeated effort to bring about some stability – but never the less offers a non-valium alternative.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"What you seem to be saying–as I understand it–is that save for a few isolated experiences there is either rigpa or dualistic thinking (which may or may not be suppressed)."-Chuck

Yes, but I'm taking it even further than that in asserting that in any conscious moment there is either rigpa or dualistic thought. It's easy to assert that because I'm defining rigpa as consciousness without dualistic thought. :-)

Within dualism, then, there are some situations, as in my examples, that tend to suppress "negative" emotions. I agree with you that our experience is conditioned by habit. We can condition ourselves, over time, to "not pick that up because it just doesn't feel good." This is a big part of the training we do and is extremely valuable. But this conditioned reality is transitory; having achieved some stability, we could just as easily condition ourselves back toward negativity by constantly feeding our reactivity. Hence, the myriad examples of unskillful behavior by enlightened individuals. So, I'm pointing out that even arahatship (or post-arahatship) doesn't convey any steady-state experience. It's all conditioning.

That's why Buddha-ing is so appealing as an ideal, a goal, and a practice. Because rigpa is freedom from dualism, it is free from anything dualistic, including greed, hatred, and delusion. And rigpa is something that is either known in this moment or not. Even arahats have a choice in each moment to either fabricate duality or let be in Buddha-mind. There is no theoretical upper limit to how much of a day could be spent as rigpa; to spend all one's time in rigpa would certainly qualify one as a Buddha. Whether there ever has been such a person is an open question, but what is certain is that to spend even one moment each day in Buddha-mind has the power to transform a life. From there, the game is to remember to be rigpa as much as possible.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"But this conditioned reality is transitory; having achieved some stability, we could just as easily condition ourselves back toward negativity by constantly feeding our reactivity. Hence, the myriad examples of unskillful behavior by enlightened individuals. So, I'm pointing out that even arahatship (or post-arahatship) doesn't convey any steady-state experience. It's all conditioning."

This is the best explanation I have ever heard. Thank you, Kenneth, for this window of clarity into what is often a very murky thing.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I agree to a point and would add to this some. Along with being all conditioned, it is worth mentioning that once some things are conditioned, they cannot be unconditioned in certain ways. In our case, death of the physical self or death of the emotional self or death or the sociolinguistic self (arhatship). Sure, arhatship is wiped out by the physical death, but that is different.

For example, I could feed all the bad "self" feelings to my untangled-self all I want and nothing would recreate it. No amount of embarrassment or arrogance or attempts to cling to identity would bring this back. I have in fact, out of sheer curiosity, tried and I got absolutely nowhere.

With that in mind, I would say that something happens to one's emotional base-line as one trends closer and closer to non-duality, and that "something" is what this discussion is trying to elucidate. Most of this is a trend toward an equanimity of feelings, because the universe and reality itself is inherently neutral, innocent and benign. Thus, as one "becomes" the universe, they quite literally feel more like how the universe really is: neutral, non-reactive, equal. This actually reinforces the thought that it's all conditioned, because a lack of "buying into" conditioning (a lack of buying into social/cultural/linguistic rights and wrongs) is indicative of equality.

Trent
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
This is seemingly off topic, but nonetheless significant, imo. Fascination with one's personal reality easily becomes fascination with one's personal enlightening experience. With all that went on for the past 14 billion years, to say that "universe" is neutral, non-reactive, equal, is contrary to everything we now know without a shadow of a doubt, namely, that universe is *not* cyclic, that it is an incredibly, mysteriously creative, absolutely non-neutral, and definitely directed process, with a will to produce matter, time and space from virtual nothingness, life beyond matter, and mind beyond life itself. With the emergence of human mind, this very process gradually becomes self-aware and reflected in an evolutionary concern. Now to say that equalization remains the apex of human realization is to ignore the fact that we are also conscious embodiments of this very creative impulse, with so much to say, think, do, and - yes - feel, while simultaneously being that which never enters this wild stream of time and polarity and tension and novelty. And that pure being element is indeed the backdrop of this whole universe, in itself neutral, no-thing, non-reactive, supremely equal. This pure being is neither one nor other to the universe, and yet it is not to be confounded with anything manifest, much less universe itself. To embrace universe in its actuality and facticity, one must go beyond the withdrawing impulse itself and confront the existential predicament, while relinquishing the quietistic bias in favor of a passionate, full-spectrum embodiment, including social/cultural/linguistic participation to the hilt, and with gusto I might add.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
how bout when the passionate, full-spectrum embodiment, with gusto, as well as good-natured cheer, leads to what the quiestistic bias was, in its own way, trying to get to all along?

the universe is indeed evolving.. as are humans as a species.. and i find that the clearest and dearest that i know it (and me) to be is, in all actuality and facticity, a totally benign place. its not perfection personified.. it is perfection itself. (and thus some see the non-reactive and equal aspects of it .. though i would reserve the word 'neutral' for another meaning).

but as you said this is indeed off-topic so let's move this discussion to the wolves thread:
http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/3005206/Dances+With+No-Wolves%3A+Questions+%26+Comments
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hokai,

I don't really understand what your argument is and you seem to contradict yourself (refer to the quoted portion). From an "ultimate" sense, everything has neutral meaning. From a neutral 3rd party, it's all nothingness. That said, non-clinging, appreciation of everything and everyone, etc is an inherent product of "being becoming" through non-duality. Thus, an emotional range limitation is part of the process and part of "becoming what you really are."

Also, I am not bashing cultural/linguistic participation, as we can never, ever get away from that. In fact, all there is is linguistic representation. My point is that the further down the non-dual road one travels, the more choice one has in shrugging social conditioning (and that ability is also granted through linguistic mediation). The ability to shrug conditioning allows us the freedom to define our own happiness, to do whatever we feel like doing, to be at peace, etc. And with that said, most enlightened folks, having earned their freedom from the definitions of others, naturally gravitate toward feeling good, rather than feeling depressive and upset about all the goings-on of the world. This is completely different than non-participation.

Trent
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Trent, that's another point where I disagree. Freedom is a myth dissolved in awakening to interdependence. One naturally gravitates toward being useful, irrespective of how it may "feel". Equanimity has nothing to do with being neutral, being a basis for positive meta-emotions, that express themselves in social action, and yes - being upset with injustice and harm. Try raise a family, develop a business, or run a monastery with the attitude you describe (or imply), and tell me how far you'll go. "Most enlightened folks" that you mention have quite strong feelings and perform equally strong actions, as they've made clear. And yet those feelings and actions do not necessitate a self-referencing ("doing whatever we feel like doing") but are based in an open responsiveness (if indeed the folks are enlightened) and an ethical imperative. Agree?

*The "contradiction" you quote is nothing of sorts. The two quotes highlight the contrast between manifest, chronological universe and the timeless ground of being respectively.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hokai,

I feel we will simply have to agree to disagree. I feel our points are strongly divided due to our personal conditioning and we also seem to be speaking past each other in regard to the definition of several words, such as equanimity and neutrality (which I use synonymously).

I do not observe people gravitating toward their usefulness, I see people gravitate toward comfort and acceptance (which can be had through emphasizing their usefulness). Perhaps we simply come from different walks of life.

As far as my functional ability to live my life and have close relationships, I suffer all the normal issues humans face but typically am very satisfied with these things. That is my very point, I am satisfied with whatever happens because I am not attached to something which I am told I am "supposed" to be attached to. I don't know where you're getting the idea that I'm implying something that would be dysfunctional. As I said, there is a very big difference in "participating" and "being participated," which I feel is the difference between the enlightened and unenlightened, respectively.

Lastly, nearly all actions are "whatever a person feels like doing." No one is holding a gun to your head. Although social constructions such as peer pressure are stronger than that for someone who has not taken the time to free their self from that and other pressures which come from buying into the social norm. It's about challenging assumptions and challenging what you've been given. For example, who says you have to feel bad about seeing a poor person to be able to help them? That's just adding self-abuse to the situation, and that bleeding heart mentality is completely unnecessary. In fact, I would say it's a hindrance. Lastly, ethics are subjective. There is no universal "imperative," and my saying so doesn't condemn me to being a bad person.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"As far as my functional ability to live my life and have close relationships, I suffer all the normal issues humans face but typically am very satisfied with these things. That is my very point, I am satisfied with whatever happens because I am not attached to something which I am told I am "supposed" to be attached to."-Yabaxoule

In the interest of peer review:

Trent, to my ear, this kind of talk sounds unnecessarily self-congratulatory and tends to undermine your claims to enlightenment. While it's true that DhO is a social club for people who like to chat about dharma, it's also a rare treasure trove of useful information for web-surfers who seek a conceptual understanding of enlightenment and, above all, an effective technology for realizing it.

I'd like to submit that claims of enlightenment carry with them a responsibility; people are listening to what we say here. It's worthwhile asking ourselves what we really hope people will take away from this place. People won't stay around long enough to get the benefit of DhO if they have to wade through a lot of self congratulation in order to glean a few nuggets of wisdom.

Finally, a word about conclusions: It's always dicey to draw conclusions about what enlightenment is or what this practice leads to, as our understanding is constantly evolving. It's even dicier to draw such conclusions after just a few months of practice; it just isn't feasible for humans to integrate all the new understandings so quickly.

At the risk of sounding like a wet blanket and a mean old man, I ask that you consider taking three or five or twenty years to let all this sink in before you tell the world what enlightenment is. Meanwhile, there is great benefit to the rest of us in hearing about your direct experiences and sharing in your enthusiasm.

Kenneth
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Well now. If enlightenment or high attainment is just another way for us to feel good about ourselves, to confirm our ego, to make us feel less guilty, then I'm not interested. If, on the other hand, high attainment or enlightenment provides deeper meaning, if it helps explain WTF is going on in every waking moment and, as I read Hokai's comments, provides a deep, meaningful context and support for what we know is just, right and beautiful then I'm all for it and will continue to work diligently to uncover "it." And what little I do know, revealed through an eentsy weentsy window of clarity, uncorks an almost infinite flow of love and appreciation for just exatly what is.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Kenneth,

As always, I appreciate your honestly and the compassion is clear.

Unfortunately, this body has done no self congratulating, I am simply stating that I've done it and this is how I interpret it. Saying so bluntly is a matter of expedience. I take full responsibility for every claim I make, and will defend my insight in a sincere and unwavering way, much to your apparent frustration. How many times is it that you've tried to destroy my credibility through the logic "it took me 20 years, so it has to take you that long."? Please, if you think your understanding trumps mine, then prove it in a debate.

Your point about conclusions is silly. You, I and everyone else on these forums are here with for the very purpose of trying to draw a few pragmatic conclusions. And yet you attempt to silence me through a stance that is based on dinosaur assumptions about time. I will learn at my pace, and if that's too fast for your old gray beard, I implore you to ignore my posts! The least you can do is have a bit of restraint before firing off one of these passive-aggressive little stints.

PS. this kid is 9 years old and plays a violin like he's 40. Your assumptions are your golden chains. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlThnKDOsXI

Trent
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

I think there's a great opportunity here to get to the nugget of this important conundrum, which I hope is not lost in off-topic (or, rather, only-vaguely-related) posts.

As Chuck says, we must take great care in describing the limited model lest it be misunderstood as emotional suppresion. And then Kenneth pointed to the solution. I'm surprised more people haven't commented on this remarkable turn of events.

What is the solution? That it is possible to act enlightened in one moment and deluded the next. This is something that I, for one, can completely get behind.

It also explains an unfortunate misunderstanding behind the "limited model" of enlightenment: it's rejection devolves into a quirk of language. Proponents are calling a being enlightened if they experience of ANY fully aware moment (a rigpa moment - 'rigpa' being a word I had to look up emoticon. Once the tag is assigned it is not taken away even if the person experiences a delusion. I think that's a rather confusing use of the word 'enlightened', but once understood, it's easy to understand and get past.

I dearly hope my understanding isn't off base, because I think the openness of DHO is a dearly needed thing.

With metta,
Pookee
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I will learn at my pace, and if that's too fast for your old gray beard, I implore you to ignore my posts! The least you can do is have a bit of restraint before firing off one of these passive-aggressive little stints."

This reminds me of a funny Zen story I heard once. I think it happened at the SF Zen Center. Anyway, one of the more advanced Zen students, upon receiving a major lightning bolt of realization, ran to the Roshi (an older Japanese gentleman) and cried, "I have solved the problem of life and death! I have solved the problem of life and death!" Upon hearing this, the Roshi threw the student against the wall and started choking him with all his might. This, of course, shocked the student who, though he respected the Roshi, soon started to have some serious trouble breathing. So... despite all that respect and a desire not to hurt the older man, the student was able after several long minutes to wrestle the Roshi to the ground and stood up, gasping for breath. Once the grip was loosed and the breath returned, the student left to attend to whatever. Walking down an adjacent hallway the student encountered a friend, also a student, who upon seeing the deep red marks on the first student's neck said, "Solved the problem of life and death, did you?"
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
dear kenneth and trent,

as lol funny as im finding this, please take it off the board.

tarin
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
With all due respect, if we here on DhO can't handle this kind of thing then the human race is pretty much done for. It might be a valuable teaching moment.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
with all due respect, this board is not for 'teaching moments' that are unnecessarily divisive, confrontational, and, i suspect, the result of a personal feud we've already seen enough of here. dan and kenneth keep their crap off the board. kenneth and trent should do the same. take your quest to watch enlightened ultimate fighting championship elsewhere.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"I take full responsibility for every claim I make, and will defend my insight in a sincere and unwavering way, much to your apparent frustration."-Trent

I think that's fair. If claiming enlightenment were a capitol crime, you and I would walk to the gallows together. The problem with claims is that sooner or later people will expect you to walk your talk.

"How many times is it that you've tried to destroy my credibility through the logic 'it took me 20 years, so it has to take you that long.'?"-Trent

It doesn't have to be a question of time, although, practically speaking, it almost always is. You may be a spiritual prodigy. But again, the problem is that when you claim to be enlightened, people will expect you to manifest wisdom. By failing to do so, you damage your credibility more than I could ever do.

"You, I and everyone else on these forums are here with for the very purpose of trying to draw a few pragmatic conclusions."-Trent

Actually, no. I am here to share and to learn and explore, but not to draw conclusions. I've been burned too many times by conclusions. Notice that I'm not even drawing conclusions about whether you are enlightened--I'm just asking you to walk your talk.

"The least you can do is have a bit of restraint before firing off one of these passive-aggressive little stints."-Trent

I'm not sure what "passive-aggressive" is, other than an ad hominem to level against people we disagree with. How does it differ from expressing disagreement in a polite tone? (I'm not being snarky, I sincerely would like to learn this.)

This isn't pleasant for me, Trent. I don't enjoy calling you out. But I think someone has to. Peer review is a big part of what this forum offers.

Kenneth
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Adam_West

I think it's appropriate and necessary to personal growth that participants on this board receive authentic peer review and feedback as a natural and organic process of human interaction; just like in the real world. Statements made in public should receive a public response. As long as it remains civil, everyone grows. Stifling of this process will impact on collective and individual growth and the evolution of the DhO. A self-correction of a number [of] problems must be allowed to take place or this community will collapse under its own weight, just as our individual false beliefs do over time through interaction and feedback from our environment and the process of personal growth.

In kind regards,

Adam.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear All,

While I agree that openness is important, there is something personal going on between Kenneth and Trent that would probably benefit from direct conversation in person between them to work some things out, as I don't see anything here that smacks of actual peer review, but more two people not communicating well in this particular format. The kind of interactions that help sort this out are often long conversations, long personal contact, open minds, patience, and a willingness to take the time to listen to descriptions, ask questions, clarify terms, which doesn't happen quickly or easily most of the time, particularly at the level in question.

If I start seeing that sort of high-level, patient, careful, skillful, thoughtful, clear communication here, the kind that can actually clarify this rather than devolve into some sort of un-clarified pissing match, and thus form the basis of actual peer review like it should be, I'll consider not shutting this thread down, but this sort of bickering without actual clarifying of the key points is more than just useless, it detracts from practical conversation. While there might be some benefit to people seeing how ugly people can get about these issues, that particular lesson is already taught with great clarity in a number of earlier threads, and if people really need that, they can look there.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Let us not stumble at the end of the road. I feel that we are on the cusp of discovering something important and valuable, together. I want to focus back in on the original purpose of this thread - to explore the basis of the "rejection of the limited model of enlightenment" view. I believe that we've actually made some good progress, and I've learned at least two things about the view that I didn't know before: that it's motivation is the welfare of practitioners, and that it is possible to act enlightened one moment and not the next. That's useful!
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

How ironic - limited emotional range threads.

While it is fair to give a warning. The evaluation of this sort of thing is very subjective but in my very humble opinion what has been said so far and what would likely come from the members involved would not get out of hand. Although obviously as some have indicated they think it has already gone too far.

I guess I am saying censorship also has undesireable consequences.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hmmm... interesting how this thread has evolved, became distorted, and disconnected... then attempts to realign to it's origin.

Well, here goes my small contribution to this thread: Model, or no model... No matter.

I feel that meditation and other aspects of my practice has significantly modified my "human" emotions. I certainly do not feel that I repress or ignore such emotions, nor am I less human for not being reactive.
Emotions such as anger, hate, fear, and etc.are not the qualifiers of ones humanness.

It's such a waste of energy to ride an emotional roller coaster.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"It's such a waste of energy to ride an emotional roller coaster."

That sentiment was one I would have agreed with some time ago. Now, for some reason, I find that participating in my life brings more satisfaction. After all, I seem to have no choice.

Now I doubt, Khara, that you meant your comment in the way I took it but it reminded me of the difference that my own practice seems to have brought to my life. It may not be the reason I started my practice - that was to learn how to avoid the roller coaster. Now I seem to have developed a better appreciation for the ups and downs. I'm a more participatory being these days. Not more separate, but less separate.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Chris,

This is a false dichotomy that has been implicit in the thread until now. The thought seems to be "you're not 'really' participating in life if you don't participate in every emotion available to humans." It just doesn't hold up. Are you less participative in life because you no longer feel the angst of being a teenager? No, there's not even a correlation.

It's a good thing that enlightenment helps people come to terms with their feelings, look at them honestly, and so forth. And yes, I would say that is healthier than running from them or suppressing them. However, this is a completely different point and is only tangentially related to the emotional re-wiring which happens through enlightenment.

Lastly, isn't it interesting that many of the people in this thread seem to be defending their emotions as if they are a self? I see quite clearly many forms of aversion, manipulation, irrationality and vile intent being slung all over the place, as if there is a something which should be defended as if it is life or death. This begs the question: why are emotions not being perceived and/or treated as empty phenomenon?

Trent
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
trent,

i was with you (both following, as well as agreeing) up until the last sentence. what did you mean by the trouble coming from people not perceiving emotions as empty phenomena? in what way are you using the term empty here?
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Tarin,

I'm using "empty" here a little bit loosely and in the 1st person perspective. I am making the case that emotions for enlightened folks appear to carry more "weight" than what is typically owned up to, and in a way that is indicative of attachment. With that said, one can then juxtapose all of the traditional teachings of suffering/impermanence/no-self right on top of their arguments and make a case that would essentially say: stop it, you're hurting yourself, and you're hurting others; you're doing the same thing you did before enlightenment, just in a different context.

Trent
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"This is a false dichotomy that has been implicit in the thread until now. The thought seems to be "you're not 'really' participating in life if you don't participate in every emotion available to humans." It just doesn't hold up. Are you less participative in life because you no longer feel the angst of being a teenager? No, there's not even a correlation. "

Well, I do find this thread interesting. It's especially interesting from my little mouse's point of view -- when the elephants dance we mice have usually long since scattered and don't get to see what happens after that. Here, last night, we did. It was, as I said earlier, quite educational. Emotions were, from some posters, definitely not being seen as empty. Some still aren't seeing them that way.

And that's all I have for now.

Peace to you.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hey there Chris, you said some important things... one being that you doubt that I meant my comment in the way you took it... Note, you took what I said and related to your own experiences, your evolving in humanness, progression in your practice... all of this is relative to your perspective. THAT'S a key point. PERSPECTIVE.
What is perspective? Isn't perspective something that arises from one's "I-ness"? It's one's perspective (the viewing of one's self with the veil of delusion, "duality") that adds to one's sense of separateness. It's when we finally experience directly that we are not separate, that in actuality it is non duality, it is then that we shed "perspectives" and judgments, and begin to see clearly. I'm not meaning to pick on you, but what you said just seemed like a good example of how we have a tendency to view things from this "I-ness" perspective.
The other point noted is that of having "no choice." We always have a choice, even if it's simply to choose to react or not react.
Now regarding what I said... waste of energy... Well, my "perspective" is from a Daoist point of view related to energy - Qi. Years ago when I first started practicing qigong, I noticed how I felt effected by my own anger - it was energy depleting and really did nothing to solve the problem at hand (in actuality it only added to the problem). What's important is to see where the anger come from, how and from what does it arise. Underlying the full blown emotion of anger is actually some seed emotions (frustration, annoyance, intolerance, etc), and each of those emotions arise from even smaller particles of "feeling."
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Thereby, when one can discern these smaller parts, one can process and act to resolve productively. This seems to offer much more freedom to participate in life even more fully... being non harmful to self and others. A nice additive is that without the cumbersomeness of emotional pendulum swings, it opens one to feel and express Compassion for self and others, as well as be completely present in the very moment.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
as a side note, out of curiosity, as you said you noticed that anger would deplete your qi.. how does compassion affect it?
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"Isn't perspective something that arises from one's "I-ness"?"

Yes, I did very much riff on your comments from my own perspective. My "I-ness," if you will.

"We always have a choice, even if it's simply to choose to react or not react."

Yes. I meant, though, that I have no choice but to participate in my life - unless I end it, I guess, but that's not an operative choice.

Do you think one's perspective always come from the "I/me/mine?"
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
And, I might add, that you have the choice about how you choose to participate in life. emoticon

When the term "perspective" is used in it's noun form, then yes, it's subjective and seems to denote ("I/me/mine"), separateness. On the other hand, if one's perspective is broadened and all inclusive, then perhaps it's less "I-ness" and more unitive. It seems to me that "perspective" seems to be a very mental way of viewing. Therefore, training the "mind" in meditation practice helps to dissolve that mental thingy-ness and conceptualizing. This is an area that I'm still working on, so what I'm saying here may be completely meaningless.

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert, nor do I claim to be Enlightened. ;)
[edited typo error]
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

I don't suppose it's likely that this thread will get back on track, so I'm going to sign off.

I suspect that newcomers to the DHO will be attracted to the openness of the community, and then puzzled by the unique and curious views of the founder and his followers. It has happened before, and will happen again. I think it would be beneficial to write a FAQ. Unlike most FAQs, this FAQ can actually be composed of frequently asked questions! I also believe that, as a matter of identity, the DHO needs to decide whether this view is closed for discussion. Given that yesterday Daniel Ingram has, in private email, said, "Your point of view involves a lot of demands and drama and harshly applied ideals," I believe that the answer to whether or not DHO is truly open is a resounding "no".

And, honestly, I see no problem with that. Every community is free to define themselves as they see fit, to make certain topics forbidden and acceptance required. But it is important that these expectations be made clear from the outset. I believe that the DHO can do a better job there.

Feel free to email me at pookee.dharma@gmail.com if you want to chat. Peace out.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hey, thanks for the great question.
Compassion is a primary component when I'm practicing qigong energy healing, or whilst practicing Tonglen meditation. When I click into Compassion without attachment (unconditional), then there is a definite notable resonance (vibrations). It's a highly distinctive energy at that moment... felt between the brow area, to mid forehead.
I've read that those who are more experienced (than myself) in Tonglen practice... have reported feeling increased energy.
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"Let us not stumble at the end of the road. I feel that we are on the cusp of discovering something important and valuable, together."-Pookee

Well spoken, Pookee! Let's look at two distinct but mutually reinforcing visions of enlightenment. One view is that enlightenment can be achieved gradually, through time, with a great deal of focused effort, discipline, and sacrifice. The second is that enlightenment happens in the moment; no one, however accomplished, is exempt from this, and the only way to enlightenment is to recognize buddha-nature within your own mind-stream and gain stability in that. Each moment of noticing primordial awareness IS Buddha. There is no buddha outside your own mind.

The first option is the Theravada approach. The second is the Dzogchen approach. There are many variations and permutations on these themes, but this is a good way to get an overview of these ideas.

The controversy:

Some modern practitioners, including some of us at DhO, have dedicated ourselves to the gradual approach and have attained what we believe is full enlightenment, or arahatship, as described in the Pali texts. We believe this based on the fact that the four Paths and the realms of absorption (jhanas) unfolded just as the old texts said they would. And yet, having achieved this enlightenment, we found that we were still human. Although in many ways this enlightenment surpassed our wildest expectations, it did not take away anger or fear. It did not make us omniscient. So, we set out to tell the world what we'd found. That's where we are now, at DhO.

The package:

What is clear is that these two understandings of enlightenment, the gradual and the timeless, reinforce each other and can both be part of a comprehensive recipe for buddhahood. That's the package, and that is what I recommend to anyone who wants to know what enlightenment is.

Edit: spelling
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"If I start seeing that sort of high-level, patient, careful, skillful, thoughtful, clear communication here, the kind that can actually clarify this rather than devolve into some sort of un-clarified pissing match, and thus form the basis of actual peer review like it should be, I'll consider not shutting this thread down..."-Daniel Ingram

This comment is not OK with me. I feel really angry.

Rather than hijack this thread for a second time, however, I have addressed the issue in a dedicated thread:

http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/3010017/No+one+goes+unchallenged+at+the+DhO

Kenneth
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
That sucks man. That is the bleakest energy to have to go through rushes on. I just grind my teeth when I get even a small hit of that shit. I find physical channels work well with transforming it. Get a punching bag maybe.
Feel better soon bud.

metta & upekkha
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RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Brahmavihara Radiation & Qi

Mudita, karuna, metta & upekkha practices when maintained for long portions of the day builds up the load capacity of the macro-cosmic orbit which circulates energies between individuals and the universe at large. Brahmavihara energy circulates universally, generally with very limited resistance. So you can get the equivalent of a very high current load on the macrocosmic qi circuit with this kind of energy. You don't want to overdo macrocosmic circulation with other kinds of energy if you don't know what you're doing but the Brahmavihara energies are about as safe to circulate within and radiate or transmit from that circuit as it gets with any form of energy or vibrations. I don't do it all the time in cities because it can cause weird behavior in sketchy people sometimes, but I keep it up pretty steady in the wilderness and have found it is a very effective practice to maintain while traveling.

There is a visible impact from these kind of concentrations when they are strong, for instance metta rich and pumped up qi, when in densely populated environments, will visibly affect moods, attitudes, actions and decisions. It manifests in forms such as pervasive expressions of joy, kindness, friendliness, compassion, concern, ease and peace in most all of those whom one encounters.

cont. ->
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Sometimes projecting this energy will generate confusion upon encountering pathetic individuals who don't know what to make of these sentiments due to lack of conscious familiarity. Confused subjects will present brief & subtle amnesiac symptoms without trauma such as intervals of torpor and even lapse into complete unconsciousness or occasionally display various forms of mild agitation or nervousness. Beings responding in these ways are typically conditioned to comfort and familiarity to functioning within an internal makeup circulating predominantly what most would think of as negative vibrations. In fact these are simply more base, more gross or less refined vibrations, heat or energy. Under the impact of the brahmavihara energy these kinds of beings are starved of stimulus, maps and triggers for their typical responses, lacking the prerequisite development of their own sensitivities and awareness. Beings with mixed or positive circuits (mid range frequencies) resonate to brahmavihara energy more or less according to those qualities predominating at the time. I can transport people on an emotional journey without saying a word or lifting a finger but I try to be responsible with it.

The energy radiates long distances without resistance from anything but other beings and can affect very large areas. As I will be continuing to work with the brahmaviharas a lot this summer, I'll continue to note what I can about the wider affects and influences. I can report on any findings again sometime if there is sufficient interest. I suspect that like any circuit the greater the amplitude of brahmavihara energies the greater the need for an absorptive resistance or circuit load; additional beings to absorb the rads. The radius circumscribing the beings affected is going to increase as this energy level does. It would be interesting to see the math for the energetic variables of these waveforms plotted against circumscribed spherical field distances.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Triplethink,

Lots of interest here. I'm looking forward to reading about your discoveries.

Cheers,
Florian
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hey Triplethink, you know you can count me in. Definitely interested!
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Adam_West

Yep, interested! :-)
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Ok, great, thanks everyone. I guess we should do a thread on the subject or someone could put a page together with everything we have collected so far here at DhO on the subject of the brahmaviharas and we could work from that. I don't have much to add right now to things I've already posted. I do plan to continue working with this a lot for the next few months and observing the results carefully. My main observation overall has always been that this is a far more pleasant way to work with emotional kinds of energy than simply accepting the status quo or would that be the status qi?
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Triplethink: Wow, I'm impressed. What good stuff.

Pookie: I apologize for not being on this thread much earlier, but I have been working long days building a straw-bale house and supervising that project and many workers who are staying here at my house, which is more than a full-time job, in addition to my full-time job. I was not criticizing your point of view in general, but your specific point made to me in a PM that Hokai should respond to your post exactly when and as you wish by his obligation as a moderator, which is naive to expect on a volunteer website.

As to the limited emotional range models and my take on them, which I believe was asked for, I babble on for many pages in my book, MCTB, found at www.interactivebuddha.com, in the section on the models of the stages of enlightenment, and as I am unlikely to have anything like that long a post work in this context, I simply recommend you go there if you want my take on the issue.

I like the earlier point made that it is practical to assume that insight practices are not about eliminating emotions so as to help people simply investigate them, and I like the points made that directly perceiving things with more clarity and progressively eliminating the sense of a special, separate center point helps the system function better and does provide some clarity and improved responses to the biology of human reactions to things, but my take is much more complex than simply those, but I'll leave it to those who want to read about 10 pages or so on it.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
@Daniel

I would still like to see more explication of the pov that the end of insight work is the end of the matter. As far as I can see the 'limited emotional range model' is pretty deeply integrated into the whole of Theravada. I'd like to know how it is that you managed to remove it without flat-lining the whole thing and why it is that you feel it is unreasonable to achieve that kind of a transformation of one's nature especially when there are no mysteries left regarding what one is and how mutable that is.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 134 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi triplethink

On the topic of Daniel being able to remove the limited emotional range model without flat-lining the whole thing (I'm assuming you mean theravada), my understanding is that there's a huge amount of historical and cultural baggage which comes along with theravada - as with any tradition.

As I see it, if we attain arahathood for ourselves and decide we're not limited then either we've attained something different to what the limited-range-proponents achieved, or they were doing a bait-and-switch for whatever reason.

I don't know if it's true, but I have read that the buddha provided different teachings appropriate to the particular student. Different teachings cannot all be exclusively true in an absolute sense. So how to say limited emotional range is or is not, without experiencing it for ourselves?

On a personal note, a few years back I used to really be torn up about the prospect of a limited-emotional-range irreversible endpoint as a result of investigative/contemplative practices. Nowadays I know that if I'm getting closer to truth, then there is nothing to be afraid of. As David Icke wrote "And the truth shall set you free" ;-)

Craig
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
hi Craig

Yeah, fair enough, see for oneself. I agree with that. As far as Theravada goes however, I'm not sold on the classical definitions of the four classes being mere 'cultural baggage'. I just got back from Thailand and I do know, I am aware, that there is cultural baggage, and it is obvious & there 'in the culture' for anyone to see. It is another question though, is there cultural baggage in the Theravada Cannon? Some say yes and some say no. Interestingly, some of that baggage (according to some) has proven itself out to me fairly thoroughly, so is it still baggage then? I don't know, so I agree, best to stay the course, do the work and evaluate on occasion, ongoing.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

Despite my earlier contrary position, I can see easily how one may be confused and mislead by the rejection limited emotional range. I would imagine that the people would be confused by the following:

1. Buddhism aims at the end of suffering. Yet on this board, we have folks who claim to have reached, or come very close to that goal yet who deny an external change in behavior. Reading the Kalama Sutta, the Buddha specifically lays out that a skillful person would not fall prey to greed, hatred, or delusion. It may seem ridiculous to say that one does not fall prey to these things, but still acts as though one does.

2. Personal practice is which external habits and behavior has changed. It seems to me that people who have their lives change for the better practice the skillful cultivation of merit, and follow the five precepts. For beginners who have already seen change, it may seem odd that some one who is supposed to be further along down the path than they do not report these changes. This is a "I'm no arahat, and even I don't act in such and such way...."

3. DhO culture. To a new person involved here, one may easily get the impression that folks are claiming attainments way beyond their level. This may come about when one reads that another is at X level, but their posts do not display anything out of the ordinary, or anything that could not be acquired through reading.

Just some things to consider.

Matt
ManZ A, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 105 Join Date: 1/12/10 Recent Posts
Hmmm I don't know if I should post here. But for the proponents of the non limited emotional range model, then is it possible to be an arahant and not know it? I've considered the non arising of lust hate and delusion in all its forms as the key effect in the attainment of arahantship. Still though all of this seems like the "thicket of views".
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Well, you have raised a monster from its sleep, though it is not really your fault.

This is a monster that raises its head periodically, and that's normal, given the marked difference between how people like me use the word arahat and how the old tests and traditionalists do.

I say: do the experiment, and when you have practiced seeing things as they are to the point that you have no sense of a center point of awareness, no sense of subject or observer, a natural, luminous, causal, direct, clear, field of transient, fluxing awareness. When you have that, ask the question again, and see what you think from that point of view.

Until then, this tends to boil down to those of us, such as myself, who have done that and call it arahatship, and those who haven't done anything of the kind and read old books and say that they must be true. That generally doesn't get very far as there is little basis for common understanding except those textual links that begin to shed doubt on some of the traditional models.

Anyway, when someone shows up here who says, "Yeah, I have done it in the traditional way, I am an arahat with no desire, no anger, and meet all the traditional criteria in their literal form," that will make the conversation interesting, at least.

Until then, I hope this goes better than the last time this arose, which, for those who slog through that hog of a thread, will find will not be hard to beat in terms of clear discourse, friendly debate and practicality.

There are sites, such as http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/ that are more into that sort of thing, as they have more of a culture swirling around what then end of the thing looks like for whatever reason, and perhaps you could look around there for more on this to see what interesting and complex tracks this sort of thing can follow in various hands.

More to the point: practice well!
David T K, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Why reject the "limited emotional range model" of Enlightenme

Posts: 3 Join Date: 10/5/10 Recent Posts
I can't say i've really studied this as scientifically as many of you - but I had a strange experience with anger recently.
I was on a playground with my child and there was a group of kids being cruel to each other. One boy was taunting another group of boys, trying to challenge them to gain status over them. The other boys, reacting to his challenge, started bullying him back. It was a giant circle of cruelty, with kids being more and more cruel to each other, trying to get an edge over each other.
Swearing at each other, physically intimidating each other, making fun of their clothing or their parents etc.
I thought of how to react. One one hand I felt I had no power really. Our society doesn't really encourage adults to interfere.
I also thought that society has taught them that they way to get "Status" is to degrade others. I would like to have told them that they are all the same - That they all wanted the same things, to be respected and loved. I wanted to ask them why they wanted to create such cruelty and suffering in the world when they don't want that for themselves. But I also knew that according to the model of cruelty that they have been raised, that they could not hear me. They would see any act of kindness as weakness to be exploited - I mean that is what our reality TV shows them every day. So temporarily I decided I would not interfere unless it got really physical. I was pushing my daughter on a swing, when it started to get really heated and looked like they were about to fight. At that point I was focusing on THEM and not my daughter, and my daughter fell off the swing and hurt herself. At that point, holding my crying daughter, I got ANGRY. Angry that this stupid model of cruelty had effected my daughter as well as them. And I started swearing at them, and told them all to leave. They all complied - and left. Then the playground was filled with happy kids, and the environment was totally different. I felt guilty at first, that I turned so barbaric instead of wise. But then I realized that the only way I could communicate with them was to use their own language. My anger helped them, if only temporarily, and was really an act of love. I would like to think that maybe they would wonder what exactly made this crazy man blow his fuse - and maybe grow up a little from it, but even if NOT it still temporarily stopped the cycle of violence.

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