Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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WHAT IS PERCEPTION ?


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Sun, 09 Oct 2011 #1
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

This is my first post to the forum. My own particular line of inquiry at present relates to what we mean by and what is implied by the term ‘perception’ or ‘pure perception’. In the past I assumed that basically what I saw in front of me was what was actually there and until recent times it didn’t really occur to me to question this underlying assumption. Then on one occasion I was out cycling in the countryside and for me something quiet unusual happened.

I happened to see something on the ground by the side of the road. Initially I didn’t know what I was looking at, but in the next instant, a recognition took place and what was being seen was in fact a blue cigarette packet in the grass by the side of the road. In the blink of an eye, a machine gun fire like response, of images, associations and judgments regarding this blue cigarette packet took place such as ‘how thoughtless of someone to have dumped their garbage here’, and, ‘how disgusting, what kind of people would do this’. There was a ‘seeing’ of four or five of these types of judgments / associations and then the whole process was over. I then saw the cigarette packet in a similar way to the tree or the flower nearby. There was a sense that each was essentially the same in that there were no associations or judgments being added to the basic ‘recognition’ of what was being seen.

This whole episode probably only lasted a few seconds and what was different about this from my more ordinary observations was that the process of seeing this object, recognizing it and the subsequent judgments and associations were all stretched out as though in slow motion so that each individual piece of the total was seen as it appeared. I was left thinking that the ‘seeing’ of each piece of the process was its own ending. And I was further left wondering what if anything is seen as it actually is.

Therefore, my question is: What actually is perception?

Paul Sylvan

This post was last updated by P Sylvan Sun, 09 Oct 2011.

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Sun, 09 Oct 2011 #2
Thumb_img001 Dr.sudhir sharma India 1888 posts in this forum Offline

P Sylvan wrote:
And I was further left wondering what if anything is seen as it actually is.
Therefore, my question is: What actually is perception?

Dear Sylvan,

Welcome to forums!

A quiet, still mind sees 'what is' as it is actually. If disturbance of thoughts as reaction is present in the mind, then this 'seeing/perception' is clouded. 'What is' remains the same but clarity is gone.

FLOW WITH LIFE!

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Sun, 09 Oct 2011 #3
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

P Sylvan wrote:
Therefore, my question is: What actually is perception?

Hi P,welcome aboard!Perhaps we can approach this question buy finding what is not perception.It seems to me that in the effort to evaluate we separate.and therefore distort what is?

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

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Sun, 09 Oct 2011 #4
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

Hi Dr. Sudhir Sharma

As you say a quiet, still mind sees ‘what is’ as it is actually. Are you also suggesting in your post that ‘seeing / perception’ is clouded when there is thought in such a mind, or ,only when there is thought as reaction?

Paul Sylvan

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Sun, 09 Oct 2011 #5
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

Hi Rick,

Yes, a good approach. Can we say that any supposed ‘perception or observation’ in which there is an entity as separate from that which is being seen is not ‘Pure Perception’.

Paul Sylvan

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Sun, 09 Oct 2011 #6
Thumb_avatar max greene United States 2192 posts in this forum Offline

P Sylvan wrote:
Therefore, my question is: What actually is perception? . . . Can we say that any supposed ‘perception or observation’ in which there is an entity as separate from that which is being seen is not ‘Pure Perception’.

Yes, it seems to me also that any perception in which a separate entity is involved is not pure perception. But we can go a step farther: Is there such a thing as "pure perception" in the first place? Is there, can there ever be, perception of something as it actually is? Can we ever truly see things as they are?

As you are pointing out, to perceive or to sense implies an entity separate from the perceiving or sensing -- a perceiver or a sensor. Someone or something performs the perceiving or the sensing, and there is a separation, a gap, between this someone or something and that which is perceived/sensed.

So long as there is a gap between the perceiver and the perceived, that gap is distance and time. Distance and time prevent communion and oneness with what actually IS.

There is no sense of perception in the present moment, the moment of what IS. Instead, there is, in that moment, intelligence and unity. In that moment there is no sense of an observer or perceiver, or of the observed and the perceived. There is simply being.

max

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #7
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

max greene wrote:
There is no sense of perception in the present moment, the moment of what IS. Instead, there is, in that moment, intelligence and unity. In that moment there is no sense of an observer or perceiver, or of the observed and the perceived. There is simply being.

bingo..Max..thank you!:)

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #8
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

P Sylvan wrote:
Can we say that any supposed ‘perception or observation’ in which there is an entity as separate from that which is being seen is not ‘Pure Perception’.

i don't know what pure perception is...awareness has no specific object?:)

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #9
Thumb_tampura ganesan balachandran India 2204 posts in this forum Offline

P Sylvan wrote:
I was left thinking that the ‘seeing’ of each piece of the process was its own ending. And I was further left wondering what if anything is seen as it actually is.

Therefore, my question is: What actually is perception?

Agni, the priest with the sharp sight of a poet, the true and most brilliant, the god will come with the gods.( perception comes with perception)

gb

We are watching, not waiting, not expecting anything to happen but watching without end. JK

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #10
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

max greene wrote:
Is there such a thing as "pure perception" in the first place? Is there, can there ever be, perception of something as it actually is? Can we ever truly see things as they are?

Hi Max,

This is a challenging question. We have already suggested that any ‘perception’ in which there is a separate entity perceiving could not be referred to as ‘Pure Perception’. Is there then a ‘perception’ a ‘state’ in which there is no division, no separate entity? In your post, if I have understood you correctly, you are saying that in the present moment - the moment of what IS, there can be no perceiver or observer’. This is how I also see it. So, what is the quality or the nature of ‘perception’ without a perceiver or observer in the present moment? I would suggest that the present moment and its perception are one and the same thing - the same undivided movement. And, that this movement being entirely fresh and new is unrecognizable as recognition cannot enter its domain. All recognition it seems to me arises after the ‘Pure Perception’ of ‘What Is’ and is therefore of time.

Paul

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #11
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

RICK LEIN wrote:
i don't know what pure perception is...awareness has no specific object?:)

Hi Rick

I wonder if we can use the words pure perception and awareness interchangeably so long as we are not using awareness in the sense of ‘I am aware of .....

Paul

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #12
Thumb_img001 Dr.sudhir sharma India 1888 posts in this forum Offline

P Sylvan wrote:
As you say a quiet, still mind sees ‘what is’ as it is actually. Are you also suggesting in your post that ‘seeing / perception’ is clouded when there is thought in such a mind, or ,only when there is thought as reaction?

Dear P sylvan,

Thought as reaction arise in a kind of darkness. No perception is possible in this state.

A quite, still mind also sees arising and ending of thought as it is a part of 'what is'. If the mind is not able to do so, then perception is clouded when thoughts arise.

FLOW WITH LIFE!

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #13
Thumb_img001 Dr.sudhir sharma India 1888 posts in this forum Offline

P Sylvan wrote:
So, what is the quality or the nature of ‘perception’ without a perceiver or observer in the present moment?

P Sylvan wrote:
And, that this movement being entirely fresh and new is unrecognizable as recognition cannot enter its domain.

Are you saying that when observer is absent, then recognition of what is being seen is not possible? Are you not confusing naming with recognition here, Paul S?

FLOW WITH LIFE!

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #14
Thumb_avatar max greene United States 2192 posts in this forum Offline

P Sylvan wrote:
So, what is the quality or the nature of ‘perception’ without a perceiver or observer in the present moment? I would suggest that the present moment and its perception are one and the same thing - the same undivided movement.

Are the present moment, and perception without a perceiver, one and the same?

I would say that the very naming as "perception" or even "pure perception" takes perception out of the present moment. The naming is identification, and to identify is to separate.

It would seem that the present moment is only to be lived. As they say, you have to be there!

I was considering that all of our life is really a "top down" movement, although we don't realize this. First we have the creative present moment, the moment of intelligence/ action/creation, and then all else follows. We do not first perceive/sense and then act, rather there is intelligence/action followed by perception/sensing and re-action.

Our real life is in the present moment -- it's obviously impossible to "live" in the past. It appears to me that perception, understanding and all that can be named and described is no longer of the present moment but is a part of what follows after the present moment. Of course, perception and understanding are absolutely necessary if our existence is to be more than animal.

max

This post was last updated by max greene Mon, 10 Oct 2011.

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #15
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

Dr.sudhir sharma wrote:
Are you saying that when observer is absent, then recognition of what is being seen is not possible? Are you not confusing naming with recognition here, Paul S?

Hi Dr Sudhir Sharma,

I would like to give an example to try and convey my point.

You are standing high in the mountains and there is an extraordinary sunset taking place which you are watching. As you stand there, you are drawn in to the sunset and become one with that sunset. There is no longer the sunset, nor the ‘you’ looking at that sunset. There is only that which is being seen, and that, is not describable or knowable in that moment. Of course after the event when thought starts up again it is an entirely different matter.
I am therefore suggesting that there is a perception in which recognition of what is being seen is no longer possible. There is therefore no observer, thought or recognition operating in that moment.

‘K’ makes some interesting statements regarding awareness which I think relate to the subject being discussed. On page 2 of the dialogue on Awareness on this site ‘K’ says ‘Awareness has shown us the nature of the trap, and therefore there is the negation of all traps; so the mind is now empty. It is empty of the ''me'' and of the trap. This mind has a different quality, a different dimension of awareness. This awareness is not aware that it is aware’.

Paul Sylvan

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #16
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

max greene wrote:
I would say that the very naming as "perception" or even "pure perception" takes perception out of the present moment. The naming is identification, and to identify is to separate.

Yes Max..in the naming it is killing it!:)

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #17
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

Dr.sudhir sharma wrote:
Are you saying that when observer is absent, then recognition of what is being seen is not possible? Are you not confusing naming with recognition here, Paul S?

Hi Dr Sudhir Sharma,

I have found several passages which I think speak very directly to your question and which may open up other areas for dialogue. They are from ‘Krishnamurti Exploration into Insight’ and relate to recognition. The full text can be found at

http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teach...

K: ..... “There is a state where the mind does not recognize anything. There is a state in which recognition and experience, which are the movement of the known, totally come to an end.”

K: “Let us begin again. The brain functions within the field of the known; in that function there is recognition. But when the brain, your mind, is completely still, you don't see your still mind. There is no knowing that your mind is still. If you know it, it is not still, for then there is an observer who says `I know'. The stillness which we are talking about is non-recognizable, non-experienceable. Then comes along the entity that wants to tell you this through verbal communication. The moment he, the entity, moves into communication, the still mind is not. Just look at it. Something comes out of it. It is there for man. I am not saying it is always there. It is there for the man who understands the known. It is there and it never leaves; and though he communicates it, he feels that it is never gone, it is there”.

Paul Sylvan

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #18
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

max greene wrote:
Are the present moment, and perception without a perceiver, one and the same?

Hi Max,

In so much as the present moment and ‘Perception’ in the way that I am generally using this term on this forum are not of time, I would suggest that both terms refer to the same ‘state’.

max greene wrote:
I would say that the very naming as "perception" or even "pure perception" takes perception out of the present moment.

I’m not entirely sure Max, what you are saying here. ‘Perception’ or ‘Pure Perception’ are only terms that we are currently using in our communication in order to point to something which is not touchable by the term itself.

In your ‘top down’ movement you are using the word perception somewhat differently I think to me. I would put the word ‘Perception’ with a capital P in to your category of intelligence/action/creation and as you say ‘and then all else follows’. In ‘Ks’ Exploration into insight, he says:

`there is only perception and nothing else. Everything else is movement in time. Perception is without time. There is a momentum which is timeless.'
I am convinced that we could also find many examples of how this word ‘perception is used by ‘K’ in a somewhat different way. Ultimately, so long as we understand how each of us is using the word and what that term is pointing to, I don’t think it much matters.

Paul

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #19
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

P Sylvan wrote:
Ultimately, so long as we understand how each of us is using the word and what that term is pointing to, I don’t think it much matters.

Well there is the factor of deep conditioning?:)

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Mon, 10 Oct 2011 #20
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

P Sylvan wrote:
Ultimately, so long as we understand how each of us is using the word and what that term is pointing to, I don’t think it much matters.

Perhaps we need a Krishnamurti dictionary? As long as we interpret words according to conditioning we will have distortion?:)

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 #21
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

RICK LEIN wrote:
Well there is the factor of deep conditioning?:)

Rick,

I am not sure what your comment is referring to, but I will add some clarity to my previous statement by including the words ‘and agree’ The statement therefore now reads:

Ultimately, so long as we understand and agree how each of us is using the word and what that term is pointing to, I don’t think it much matters.

Paul Sylvan

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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 #22
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

RICK LEIN wrote:
Perhaps we need a Krishnamurti dictionary? As long as we interpret words according to conditioning we will have distortion?:)

Rick,

Aren't all words conditioned? As to needing a Krishnamurti dictionary, I am not sure that this would solve the problem as ‘K’ uses words to mean different things at different times in different contexts.

Paul Sylvan

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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 #23
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

P Sylvan wrote:
Aren't all words conditioned?

Well..words are symbols..yes..are they conditioned in and of themselves,or are they a tool used to communicate..from which our conditioning is manifest?:)

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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 #24
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

The following text from the Ending Of Time seems pertinent to this discussion.

The Thirteenth Conversation with David Bohm at Brockwood Park September 1980

K: ......... “You have told me perception without any motive, direction, pure perception is love. And in that perception- love is intelligence. They are not three separate things, they are one thing. I have a feeling for it. Because you have led me up very carefully - not led me - you have pointed out very carefully step by step, and I have come to that point, I have a feeling for it. I am sensitive enough, by listening to all this, to come to that point when I have a feeling. He says, 'By Jove, that is so'. But it goes away so quickly. Then begins, 'How am I to get it back?' Again the remembrance of it, which is knowledge, blocks”.

Paul

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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 #25
Thumb_avatar max greene United States 2192 posts in this forum Offline

Paul,

You wrote, "In so much as the present moment and ‘Perception’ in the way that I am generally using this term on this forum are not of time, I would suggest that both terms refer to the same ‘state’."

Yes. Timelessness is the present moment, the moment of unity and the moment of creation. It is the only condition under which love, intelligence and action can be, as these can be only in the present.

But are perception, awareness, understanding, observation and all such as these of the timeless? All of these require an object -- something to perceive, something to observe, something to understand, something of which to be aware -- otherwise the activity has no meaning and simply does not exist.

That, it seems to me, is the question: Are perception, awareness, observation, understanding and so on -- are these of existence or are they of the timeless? As identified activities, they are of existence. When they are of the timeless present moment, they are not separate, not identified and not named. They don't exist! (For me, this latter state is the state of the Real as different from the former state, Reality.)

In the timeless present moment it is not that the observer and the observed are one, that the perceiver and the perceived are one. There is no separate "one."

max

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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 #26
Thumb_avatar max greene United States 2192 posts in this forum Offline

Paul,

You quoted Krishnamurti as saying, "You have told me perception without any motive, direction, pure perception is love. And in that perception- love is intelligence. They are not three separate things, they are one thing."

That was worth repeating. It might be added that any naming, any identifying, any activity, is separation. Whatever the mind can touch is already separate and of the past. The timeless is forever outside and not capturable.

max

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Wed, 12 Oct 2011 #27
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

max greene wrote:
...When they are of the timeless present moment, they are not separate, not identified and not named. They don't exist!

Max,

Are you saying that in the ‘timeless present moment’, not only is there no identification and naming possible, but also, there is no recognition either? And, if you are saying this, then it appears that the present moment cannot ever be known as memory has yet to come into existance.

Now, we are attempting to communicate all of this through the vehicle of language which is in and of time. Therefore, I would say that it is appropriate on occasion to use the words Perception, Awareness and Observation in the same way that you have used ‘Timelessness is the present moment’ to point to that ‘timeless present moment’ which is beyond language itself. This is how I am seeing it.

Paul

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Wed, 12 Oct 2011 #28
Thumb_avatar P Sylvan United Kingdom 165 posts in this forum Offline

Do we ever see anything as it is?

Some time ago, Oliver Sacks wrote about a 50 year old man named Virgil. Virgil had been virtually blind from early childhood but as a result of an operation was able to see for the first time. ...‘When the bandages were removed, Virgil could see, but he had no idea what he was seeing. Light, movement and color were all mixed up and meaningless.......His brain could make no sense of the images that his optic nerve was transmitting’.
Virgil had to learn to make sense of what he was seeing. Since first reading his account, It has seemed to me that there is a considerable amount of mental processing going on that we are not aware of. It is not just a case of opening our eyes and seeing. If there is no previous experience of the visual world in memory, we are not able to visually recognize what is being seen. And, as all recognition is of the past, can ‘we’ and do ‘we’ ever see anything as if for the first time?

Paul

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Wed, 12 Oct 2011 #29
Thumb_avatar max greene United States 2192 posts in this forum Offline

Paul,

You wrote, "the present moment cannot ever be known as memory has yet to come into existance."

Yes, this is what I'm saying. The present moment is the only real present; all else is the past. All of existence, all of what we are, is the past.

We can discuss the present moment but discussion, of course, is not the thing. As living beings, we live in the present moment. We obscure the present moment -- its vitality, originality, freshness -- by dragging memory into the picture (I say "picture" and not "the present moment" because the past cannot once again be the present.) We bring the past forward and use it in a re-action referring to the present, and so the present is distorted to fit the past.

max

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Wed, 12 Oct 2011 #30
Thumb_stringio RICK LEIN United States 4436 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

max greene wrote:
We bring the past forward and use it in a re-action referring to the present, and so the present is distorted to fit the past.

Bingo!:)

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

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