Grateful and fortunate enough to put a few things to Ajahn Amaro via his zoom teaching on the Niramisa Sutta hosted by Mid America Buddhist Association on May 22, 2022. Also thankful for the patience of the audience while I stammered and stuttered around in the process of sharing and question formulation with plenty of “I-making” — even more noticeable in the full unedited version which I encourage all to watch below (which includes my (guess) response to a question Ajahn asks):
- Expanded podcast series on the book “The Island” An Anthology on the Buddha’s teachings about Nibbāna
Audio: (My) Mentions To Ajahn Amaro: Unconcoctibility, Always-Other-Than-That Reality & “Is That So?”
Experimental and unedited transcript (attempt) of this podcast via assemblyai.com:
I would make a comment, maybe question about Atayamata at the end here. But I really wanted to just thank you for this long talk of yours that I listened to a podcast on the island book, The Island, all about the goal. And I love how it was structured because there were readings from the entire book, but then there was also discussions and questions and answers. I found it really helpful and how just kind of dug into that and just kind of turn over every stone and would come back later with references that came up and included those. So I'm very grateful for that too. In the lineage of A Johnson, I wanted to relate very briefly kind of teaching that I've benefited up here. Is that so? Question and then so I found that really helpful. So I have to skip the story. I'll tell Yamata. I've also heard it. If I'm getting this right, uncocked ability. Thought that was a very interesting way to put it too. And if I'm getting this right too, whatever we think the truth is, the truth is always other than that, maybe my question would just be to kind of wrap up the stuff that I said and if addressing the accuracy or expanding on those points. Thanks again. Yeah, thank you. Unconcoctability. I think that's Ajun Santi Caro's translation of atomic. And he was Agin Buddhasa's translator for quite a number of years. And they worked together, they did a lot of person to person collaboration. And Buddha Dasa had quite a bit of English as well. I was there visiting Swanwalk when he was giving talks on this. And he would sometimes stop Santa Cara and say, no, not that it should be like this. So unconcompatibility that is Charlotte translation. So all of those are relevant. So Ajim. Buddhasa would also say this is the final divorce of the mind from the conditioned realm. I ain't going to mess with you no more with Santa caros of more kind of Midwestern rendering, I ain't going to mess with you no more. And it's that kind of a tone of there's no more of this unconscionibility. So it's one of those terms you can't really find a perfect English word for it. But that's why I was saying how it's in a way, most important to get a feel, a felt sense of what this quality is in our own practice, in our own hearts, and then let the word follow the reality as it's known, rather than trying to pin down the perfect word. Somebody gave me a copy of Jean Paulo Sarka's being and Nothingness a few weeks ago and a very substantial tone. The way that there's this effort to try and pin everything into the reality, into the words, I keep getting this feeling of starting from the wrong place. Guys, I realize that could be a bit of an inflated perception, but I feel one of the great blessings of Buddhist practice is you're starting with the experience, letting the words match the experience, or evoke that as best they can, but you can't pin that down. So the passage you're quoting, the party is ya and yatati. Whatever you conceived to be the reality is necessarily other than that. So, again, not to belittle Jean Paul Sartre and his efforts and the other good European philosophers, but to me that's an extraordinarily potent and useful principle. Whatever you conceived to be the reality is necessarily other than that. But you can't put three dimensional tea into a drawing of a two dimensional drawing of a tea cup. The reality has got too many dimensions to fit into concepts and language. So that's one of the reasons why I say, with my attire, you're letting go of time, identity, location, causality, language, time, even number. Those are conditioned constructions that we give more reality and substantiality to than they really possess. So that simple phrase or whatever you can see if it to be the truth, is always other than that. It doesn't mean that you guessed the wrong answer to the puzzle. No, it's like saying words can't do it. You can't put three dimensional t into the drawing of a teacup. It won't go. It's got too many dimensions. That's why it's not that if you just had a better drawing, it would work. No, the concept hasn't got enough dimensions. So in that level of realization of practice, it's letting the heart abide in that three dimensional or more higher dimensional reality and not trying to represent the fundamental reality just in concepts and words, which is one of the reasons why the Buddha was quite happy to not try and describe the nature of ultimate reality, but spend 99% of his time pointing to the pathway to realize it for the individual. Rather than trying to describe the nature of the goal or the qualities of the goal, he put 99% of his attention on the pathway to the realization of that. And then it's like how to make a teacup rather than how to draw the perfect teacup, how to actually make a three dimensional teacup that can contain the t. Thank you. Thank you, Josh, for the question. We have several other questions, and a lot of them are focusing on the mechanics, suggestions of types of meditation, how to sustain and move on to the next levels and function in the world. There's various different approaches. I think what I was saying at the end and also what Josh was quoting about this practice of the Virginia asking the questions, is that so or so? That both informal meditation. But also, the more we develop it in formal meditation, the more that can be applied in the flow of everyday activity is to use that kind of questioning, who is meditating? Does this moment have an owner who is here to progress or to not progress? It's not that the effort is not being made or direction is not being given. But it's flagging that I'm making and mind making the mamancara habits to flag those, to illuminate those and as soon as that is known, it's like shining the light on those habits. It's like you're slowing the film down so you can see how the conjurer did the trick. It's like that intrinsically, seeing how the eye is that there's an eye being formed here. Oh, that's a formation, that's a presumption, a heart. So that by using that kind of reflection, questioning who is walking, who's asking this question that it's shining a light on those eye making and mind making habits and then the effect of shining that light because it's not just like a mantra that you're repeating just to who am I, who am I? Who's walking? Who's walking? Who's walking? Who's thinking? Who's thinking? It's not a simple repetition. The more it's a genuine question, then the more that breaks up the habits of I'm making and mind making. And then what that does is rather than disabling our life from attunement or effectiveness in the world like that non attachment or non identification, non fashioning, it doesn't mean we suddenly freeze in the middle of the sidewalk and suddenly stopped existing. I need someone to come along and start moving my limbs again. That's not the way it works at all. It's rather that when their eye making and mind making is recognized and let go of, then the system of this life functions in a far more attuned and effective way."