Sunday, November 30, 2008

NA: "NO," THOUGHT NANDA, "NOT THAT"

(NOT THAT OLD PATTERN OF NEURAL ACTIVITY)


From the 17th Canto of Saundarananda, trans. Linda Covill



Then he entered the first level of meditation, in which passion and the tainted constituents of reality are absent. It consists of an initial and a sustained application of the mind to its object, is born of discernment, and is imbued with happiness and bliss.... He realized that the initial and sustained application of the mind... are not conducive to peace but make undulations in the mind. He decided to break away from them....

Then he gradually entered the second level of meditation, which has no initial or sustained application of the mind to its object. Born of concentration (samaadhi-jam) and calm due to mental one-pointedness, it is joyfully blissful and endowed with inner delight. And in reaching that level of meditation in which the mind is silent, he experienced a profound joy that he had never experienced before. But in that joy too, he noticed a flaw, just as he had with regard to thoughts. For he who takes profound joy in anything will also find unsatisfactoriness in it.

He attained the third level of meditation... bliss greater than any other bliss.... But since he considered the highest to be peaceful and without fluctuation, he detected a flaw even in meditation at this level -- that his mind fluctuated continuously due to modulations in the working of bliss.

Then, because he had given up... he attained the fourth level of meditation.

With the support of the fourth level of meditation, he made up his mind to win the worthy state, as a king joins with a mighty and noble ally when he wishes to conquer unconquered territories.

4 comments:

Jordan said...

I like the new profile.
Thanks for your efforts!

Jordan

Mike Cross said...

Thanks, Jordan.

I sense that there is more overlap between us, than there is between most, as to what we understand "the noble principle of inhibition" to be.

And maybe also as to the merits and drawbacks of the Japanese culture of doing (don't tell my missus about what I wrote in the new profile, and I won't tell your missus that you like it).

I felt the same about Michael Thaler -- a fan of Japan, but also somebody who looked at Japan not through rose-tinted glasses.

Went for a long hike yesterday afternoon through wintry rain. I got my wife to drop me off on her way to work and trudged home putting one wet foot in front of the other. Good old Michael T.

Jordan said...

Hi Mike,
I have kept this post in my inbox for a while as a reminder that I wanted to respond. I wanted to respond to it but competing demands were working hard to prevent it until now.

I had wanted to put some thought in too thoughtlessly posting!

Yes, inhibiting, or self discipline, is a big part of my practice. But there is something else, and I think you have touched on it before. Allowing; as in allow the neck to be free! But there is something more too. As you so often have said “It is not that” my own mantra might be, there is something more too.

There is a saying I heard in Texas that I really enjoyed and I would like to share it with you. “Cage your bad dogs, and let your good dogs roam free.”

As to Japan, well there is a lot I could go into. My first impressions of Japan were not of Japan at all, but came from contemplating my Grand Uncles fight with the Japanese in places like Wake Island and Guadalcanal. I was actually a little shocked when I got there when I saw it was not a jungle, but instead a land of neon lights and pachinko parlors. I was never really affected by Japanese Buddhism while I was there. I did appreciate a number of Shinto Shrines, castles, and Kintai Bridge in Iwakuni. Beautiful places all.
So yeah, never rose colored glasses, but they were colored none the less by the blood of my ancestors, which could be mistaken for a rosy color. And still, I found that even in my drunken state at the time, there is a lot to appreciate there. But most of it is from an era long gone, with a few hold outs trying to keep the “Good” alive.

Michael Thaler, Yeah, He was a warrior.

Keep on keeping on.
Thanks again for your efforts.

Jordan

Mike Cross said...

Thanks for this, Jordan (USMC0861).

I see Ashvaghosha exhorting us to link our efforts to the very principle you are talking about, the means-whereby principle -- inhibiting, allowing the neck to be free, and then having the courage to let the good dogs roam. The first thing is to be clear about, and to stick to, to be faithful to, this noble principle. For me, that is the truest fidelity. (Related to the fidelis of semper fidelis?)

Then the thing is to keep on keeping on -- the constancy of effort, the not quitting till the fire is lit, or the well dug. (The semper of semper fidelis?)

That is the way for us to honour our ancestors and our fallen comrades.

You keep on keeping on. And thank you for your efforts.

Mike