Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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Attention and Truth

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Tue, 14 Nov 2017 #1
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2328 posts in this forum Offline

I took the liberty of copying this interesting discussion from John's forum. The comments in parentheses are from John. Your comments/feedback welcome:


K: Sir, would you kindly explain, what is the Buddhist meditation ?

R (Dr Rahula) : The purest form of Buddhist meditation (named) Vipassana is ( based on) insightful vision, to see into the nature of things, that is having an insight into ( the truth or falsehood of?) 'what is'.

K: Have they developped a ( standardised meditational ?) 'system'?

R: A system is, of course, developed. But when you take the original teaching of the Buddha, his best discourse (Saripattana) is on this 'insight' (based) meditation. There is no talking about a system. And the key point is to be 'mindful', fully aware, of all that happens, you are not expected to run away from life and live in a cave or in a forest. And this 'Satipatthana' – you can translate it (in English) as the 'establishment of mindfulness', 'the presence of awareness' would be the meaning of that word.

K: Is this awareness to be 'cultivated' ( practised on a regular basis?)

R: There is no question of 'cultivation'. But rather of (an?) awareness of every movement, of every act, of everything.

K: That is what I am trying to get at, because in the modern 'systems of Buddhist meditation' or modern Zen, they are trying to 'cultivate' it. Is ( this mindul) awareness, something to be cultivated in the sense of being watched over, or worked at?

R: No, no.

K: So how does it come into being?

R: There is no 'coming into being', you just 'do it'.

K: Is this awareness something that takes place through ( mental) concentration?

R: For anything we do in this world a certain amount of (mental) concentration is necessary. That is understood. In that sense a certain kind of concentration is necessary but don't mix it up with ( the 'top of the line'?) 'dhyani' and 'samadhi'.

K: I don't like any of those words personally...

R: But they are implying some concentration in the principle.

K: I know, I know. Most of the meditations that have been propagated all over the world involves concentration.

R: In Zen and in various other Hindu, Buddhist meditations, the concentration is the centre.

K: That is nonsense. I don't accept concentration.

R: In the Buddha's teaching, meditation is not ( related to) that concentration.

K: It is not concentration. Then what is this awareness, how does it come into being?

R: You see, you live the action in the present moment.

K: Wait, sir, but the moment you (talk theoretically about 'living in?) the present moment', you don't actually 'live' in the present moment.

R: Well, 'satyabhatan' means to live in the present moment.

K: No, you are (experientially?) missing it. How is one to 'live in the present'? What is the ( inner quality of the?) mind that lives in the present?

R: The mind that lives in the present is the mind which is free from the idea of 'self'. When you have (acting from?) the idea of 'self', either you live in the past or in the future.

K: The 'now' as one sees it generally, is the ( active memory of the ?) 'past' modifying itself in the present and going on.

R: That is the usual case ( the temporal 'now ')

K: Then what is the ( timeless?) present? Free of the past?

R: Yes.

K: That's it. Free of the ( personal memories of the?) past, which means free of 'time'. So that is the only state of mind which is ( fully living in the?) Now. And I am just asking what is ( the nature of this choiceless?) awareness? How does it flower, how does it happen?

R: You are asking how it happens, but there is no technique for it.

K: I'll put it round the other way. In what manner does this awareness 'come into (one's) being'?
( To start with) suppose I am not aware (inwardly ) . I am just enclosed (entangled?) in my own petty little worries and anxieties, (my unsolved existential?) problems, and all that is going on in the ( self-centred ? ) mind. And you ( the certified Buddhist Scholar ?) come along and tell me, "Be aware of all that". And I say, "What do you mean by 'being aware'?

R: To become aware of your (self-centred ) pettiness.

K: Yes, sir, but I don't even know what it means.

R: It is not necessary to know (exactly) what it means.

K: What do you mean it is not necessary?

R: ( Just) be aware of it (of what's going on within your own) mind.

K: Yes, sir. You tell me, be aware of it. But (suppose that?) I am (inwardly) 'blind'. You follow? I am blind and I want to see light. And you say, "Be aware of ( the hidden causes of?) that 'blindness'". I say, "Yes, what does it mean?"

( So, let's spell it out:) It is not ( a mental) concentration. Awareness is something in which ( the personal) 'choice' doesn't exist. ( Eg :) To be aware of this hall, the curtains, the lights, the people sitting here, the shape of the walls, the windows, to be aware of it. As I enter the room ( at a first sight?) I am ( naturally ) aware of the (atmosphere of?) whole thing: the roof, the lamps, the curtains, the shape of the windows, the floor, the ceiling ( and the people waiting for us?), of everything.
That is ( the outward?) awareness. Now what is the difference between this awareness and attention?
What is ( the basic requirement of?) 'attention'? To 'attend'.

R: How do you discriminate between these three: awareness, mindfulness and attention?

K: I would say 'awareness' is without ( any personal?) choice, just to be aware. When you say, "I like this room", all ( its holistic quality?) has ended (and you're right back into the 'known'?)

R: Right.

K: Then 'attention', to attend, in this ( 'attending'?) attention there is no ( observer-observed?) division. No (self-conscious?) 'me' attending. And so it has no division, therefore no measurement and therefore no borders. A completely (non-personal quality of ?) attention.

R: In that sense it is equal to ( your choiceless?) 'awareness'.

K: No.

R: Why not?

K: In ( the sensory?) awareness there may still be a ( stand-by?) 'centre' from which 'you' are being aware.

SS: So, you're saying 'attention' is a deeper process.

K: Of a totally different ( holistic ?) quality. In ( this quality of 'mindfulness' or ) 'attention', there is no ( mental interference of an all controlling ?) 'attender' , no (observer-observed?) division.

R: But even in the 'choiceless' awareness there is no one who is aware.

K: Of course, that's right. But it has not the same ( deeply meditative?) quality as 'attention'.

R: In Buddha's teaching, that is in the practise of (insight-based) meditation there is no discrimination, there is no value judgement, there is no like or dislike, but only 'seeing'. That's all. And whatever happens then will happen when you see.

K: In that state of ( holistic) attention you totally attend, with your ears, with your eyes, with your body, with your nerves, with all your mind, with your heart in the sense of affection, love, compassion, total attention, what takes place?

R: Of course what takes place is a complete (inner) revolution.

K: But what is the state of such a mind that is completely attentive? You see it has no ( verbally measurable?) quality, no centre, and having no centre, it has no borders. And this is an 'actuality', you can't 'imagine' this. That means has one ever given such complete attention.

SS: Is there any 'object' in that attention?

K: . Obviously not. Because there is no 'subject and object' division. You try it (as meditation homework?) do it now... if you can. Take ( as a simple 'in class' example:) ''Meditation 'is' (not divided from ? ) the meditator''. Give your complete attention to that (non-dualistic pointer?) , and see what happens. That's a ( verbal) statement you hear first. Then, instead of making an intellectual abstraction of it, you just listen ( with your inner ear to ?) that statement. It has the (holistic) quality of Truth, a sense of 'absoluteness' about it. Now give your whole attention to ( seeing the inwardness of?) it and then...see what happens.

R: I think ( the original 'insight' based?) Buddhist meditation is ( pretty much like ?) that.

K: I don't know, sir. I'll accept your word for it, but I don't know.

R: And I think it is not misleading to accept that the real 'satyabhatana' is that. Now if you ask people who 'practise' it, in most meditation centres, I'd openly say they are misleading.

K: Yes, sir, now I am just asking, can one give such attention ?

R: You are asking whether it is possible?

K: Yes, whether is it possible and whether will you attend (in this holistic way?) . Not by exercising will (power?) .
You know, just 'do it'. If that ( quality of integrated?) attention is not there, Truth cannot exist.

R: I don't think that is very appropriate. Truth exists (anyway) but cannot be 'seen'.

K: Ah, I don't know. You say 'truth exists' but I don't know.

R: But that doesn't mean that truth does not exist.

K: I don't 'know' , I said.

R: That is correct.

K: Jesus ( is supposed to have?) said ( Our) Father in Heaven. I don't know the Father. He may exist but I don't know Him ( by direct experience?) , so I don't accept.

R: Anyways, I don't think it is correct to say that without that attention Truth does not exist.

K: I ( should have?) said that without that attention Truth cannot come into (one's?) being. Let me put it differently. Without that ( quality of integrated, holistic ?) attention the Truth has no (experiential) meaning.

R: That's better. I thank you on behalf of everybody

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Tue, 14 Nov 2017.

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Tue, 14 Nov 2017 #2
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4642 posts in this forum Offline

Thank you for posting this, Tom, It raises questions that have been very much with me, on the nature of awareness and attention, and perhaps more immediately “how does one get there, into that state?”. How does one move from inattention to attention? I know these must be wrong questions, but they can act as a starting point.

K seems to be pushing Rahula on this point - “is it to be cultivated?”, “how does it come into being?”, “how is one to do it?”, “how does it flower?”, how does it happen?”, he asks all these questions.

I don't know if K really answers the questions. At one point he gives the 'bumper sticker' slogan “Just do it”!

And he seems to make some contradictory statements about the difference between awareness and attention.

I am going to make this post on the thread “Does using the senses only serve the self?”, for the sake of continuity

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Wed, 15 Nov 2017 #3
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2328 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
I am going to make this post on the thread “Does using the senses only serve the self?”, for the sake of continuity

OK...let's continue the discussion there then.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Wed, 15 Nov 2017.

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