Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Points on Direct Path practice (self-inquiry)

  • When you ask "what sees/feels this," as in "who am I?" or "who is the author of this experience?" you are practicing the quintessential "direct path" exercise. That question points to the direct apprehension that the knowing and that which is known are "not two." This is advaita, which is a Sanskrit word meaning..."not two." This is not vipassana, but a complete practice unto itself. You can become fully enlightened, as did Ramana Maharshi, by continued inquiry into "who am I?" Ramana insisted that no other technique was required. Of all the practices I have done, including a great deal of vipassana, "Who am I?" self-inquiry, as taught by Ramana is my favorite practice. I recommend doing it in conjunction with your other practices, as it has the power to completely disabuse you of the notion of a separate self. With this kind of practice, "the path is the goal." In other words, you are able to see what it is like to be enlightened, long before your development catches up with your momentary insight. (KF)

  • The confusion arises when we try to evaluate one technology through the lens of another. Developmental technologies like vipassana begin with the assumption that you can strip away layers of delusion over a period of time, eventually arriving at the simplest thing. At that point you see clearly and are said to be enlightened. Interestingly, those who have mastered this approach point out that what they "found" was there all along but was obscured by delusion. The other major approach, the "realization" school, begins with that very understanding. If the simplest thing is already here, we can see it now. Their techniques are designed to cut through delusion in this moment, allowing even beginning yogis to see what is true. "What is true," or "the simplest thing" is prior to the arising of time. For that reason, development through time is either not emphasized in realization teachings or is explicitly refuted. It is thought that if you are obsessing about how enlightened you will be in the future you will be unable to see what is already true. (KF)

  • Chinul called the developmental approach the "gradual awakening, gradual cultivation school," and the realization approach the "sudden awakening, gradual cultivation school." In both cases, he pointed out, cultivation is necessary. I know of very few people who teach that you can wake up in one moment and remain forever awake. If you listen carefully, even realization teachers are telling you to cultivate your realization through time. Instructions like "dwell as the watcher," "remain stable in the awareness," etc., are all ways of saying that there is still something to be done even after realization. Ramana Maharshi spent years meditating silently after his awakening. Eckhard Tolle sat on a park bench. Adyashanti had already meditated for years before his realization and continued to meditate afterward. (KF)
  • Notice that both schools are present within Buddhism. The Tibetans, for example value and teach both systems side by side. There is no reason why any of us should feel attached to one school over the other. That would be just more dogmatic thinking. To understand the two schools, we must approach each through its own lens and stop trying to understand the timeless through the lens of time. (KF)

  • The direct approach is not a subset of Hinayana. It has exactly nothing to do with vipassana or the three characteristics. It is the direct apprehension of reality, prior to the arising of your identity. Stop trying to shoehorn it into a concept that is comfortable for you. And, by all means, don't make a boogie man out of it. Just try it. (KF)

No comments:

Post a Comment