Aphorisms for meditation

by ioannes_shade1 min read18th Feb 20192 comments

8

Personal Blog

Epistemic status: straight Buddhism

I've been enjoying learning about meditation & Zen with David Weinberg. (Here's Critch blurbing David's stress reduction course (a).)

Yesterday I attended a one-day retreat, during which David said a bunch of interesting things.

On the four bodhisattva vows (my paraphrase):

1. Vow to awaken with & respond to all beings
2. Vow to see through all delusions
3. Vow to enter all dharma gates (i.e. take up all opportunities for practice)
4. Vow to fully embody Buddha's way

Here's a Tricycle article (a) with more about the vows.

David's commentary on the vows (my paraphrase):

Among other things, they are a way of being sane in the world.
They feature a combination of open-heartedness & fierce resolve. This is quite a lot to balance, but we can do it.

Also, some aphorisms for meditation practice, derived from David's study of & Reb Anderson's commentary on the samdhinirmocana sutra:

"Am I putting labels on feelings & thoughts? Am I spinning a story about these feelings & thoughts?"
"Am I imagining that this person actually is what I'm imagining them to be?"
"Am I thinking that whatever I'm thinking about is actually what I think it is?"

I like how they drive a wedge between the map & the territory.


Cross-posted to my blog. Not really sure how on-topic this is for LessWrong; seemed worth posting given the discussion of meditation that crops up from time to time.

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[mod note: I was unsure whether to put this post on frontpage. It didn't seem like it was trying to persuade me of things, it also didn't really seem like it was trying to "explain" things either. The post is fine for LW overall, but I've left it in the personal blog section for now. I would be up for frontpaging a version of the post that more clearly explained the concepts it was referencing]

Makes sense, thanks for laying out some of your reasoning!

I think there's a lot of inferential distance between Zen practices & the median LessWrong post. Bridging that distance would be a big project. Maybe one day I'll take a stab at it – in the meantime it makes sense for stuff like this to live in the personal blog section.