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March 11, 2009

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I've always wondered about the comment in the Bible that states:

"Jesus was (like) man in all things but sin."

But how would the person who wrote this statement possibly know that the person Jesus was sinless? And, what does it mean to not have sinned?

Again, we'll dealing with vagueness -

Bob

Dear Brian,

Thanks (again) for this reference - and for your essay. Your remarks ought be kept in mind when dealing with Dzogchen claims and mooga-booga, too, just as much as when considering your old RSSB cult.

Robert Paul Howard

Robert,

And what exactly are those "Dzogchen claims and mooga-booga" that you are referring to?

Specifically, what "claims"?

I know of no such "Dzogchen claims". So please kindly point them out, so that it may be clear what exactly you are referring to.

To speak of any "claims", is to not understand what dzogchen is, imo. So also, in addition, it would help if you would please give your own understanding or definition of dzogchen.


Tucson, to continue in this post, wouldn't voidness and the Awareness you mention, be an abstraction?

In my view, any idea or description of them would be.

Roger found this somewhere on the web...

There are two levels of voidness (emptiness):
1. voidness that is a conceptual construct,
2. voidness that is beyond conceptual constructs.
Voidness, as an absolute absence (nonimplicative negation) of true existence as “this” or “that,” is the conceptual construct or abstraction “there is no such thing as truly existent ‘this’s and ‘that’s.” It can only be known conceptually and is that to which the word or concept “voidness” refers.

Cognizing this level of voidness is a necessary stepping-stone to cognizing definitive voidness, which is beyond all conceptual categories and beyond all words. Although voidness can be referred to by a conceptual construct or word, voidness that is beyond conceptual constructs (definitive voidness) does not correspond to anything a word or concept would correspond to, namely something existing in the fixed box or category of “voidness.”

Thus, the two levels of voidness are not contradictory. It is not that voidness “beyond” is a transcendental level in the sense of being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge, and only accessed through a mystical experience, perhaps gained by the grace of God. It merely means that it is beyond the limits of what conceptual cognition and nonconceptual sensory and mental cognition can cognize.

Voidness as a conceptual construct can only be cognized conceptually. We cognize it conceptually by our mental consciousness giving rise to a mental aspect resembling an empty or blank space, and superimposing or projecting onto it the audio and meaning categories “voidness.” This does not mean, however, that when conceptually focusing on voidness, we necessarily also must have a mental aspect resembling the sound of the vowels and consonants of the word “voidness.” The conceptual cognition of voidness may be nonverbal. Nevertheless, since the mental representations (the conceptual categories) that appear in conceptual cognition are necessarily appearances of true existence, the empty or blank space appears to be a voidness that truly exists in the concrete category “voidness.” The meaning category associated with it, however, is the correct meaning of voidness – namely, the absolute absence of true existence.

Voidness that is beyond concepts can only be cognized nonconceptually, but it cannot be cognized by nonconceptual mental cognition. Nonconceptual mental cognition produces a mental aspect of something not truly existing as a “this” or a “that.” However, voidness that is beyond concepts is beyond all four extremes:
1. truly existing as a “this” or a “that,”
2. not truly existing as a “this” or a “that,”
3. both truly and not truly existing as a “this” or a “that,”
4. neither truly nor non-truly existing as a “this” or a “that.”
Therefore, voidness that is beyond concepts does not cognitively appear as a mental aspect of an empty or blank space that appears to be a voidness in the category of a non-truly existent “ voidness.”

Some information from the internet, selectively copied and pasted.

Presence of Awareness:

What this means is: don't follow the past, don't anticipate the future, and don't follow illusory thoughts that arise in the present; but turning within oneself, one should observe one's own true condition and maintain the awareness of it just as it is, beyond conceptual limitations of the. One must remain in the uncorrected condition of one's own natural state, free from the impurity of judgments between 'being and non-being', 'having and not-having', 'good and bad', and so on.
One should relax the mind, maintaining only the awakened presence of one's own State, without allowing oneself to be dominated by any thought whatsoever. When one is truly relaxed, the mind finds itself in its natural condition. If out of this natural condition thoughts arise, whether good or bad, rather than trying to judge whether one is in the calm state or in the wave of thoughts, one should just acknowledge all thoughts with the awakened presence of the State itself. When thoughts are given just this bare attention of simple acknowledgment, they relax into their own true condition, and as long as this awareness of their relaxedness lasts one should not forget to keep the mind present. If one becomes distracted and does not simply acknowledge the thoughts, then it is necessary to give more attention to making one's awareness truly present. If one finds that thoughts arise about finding oneself in a state of calm, without abandoning simple presence of mind, one should continue by observing the state of movement of the thought itself. In the same way, if no thoughts arise, one should continue with the presence of the simple acknowledgment that just gives bare attention to the state of calm. This means maintaining the presence of this natural state, without attempting to fix it within any conceptual framework or hoping for it to manifest in any particular form, color, or light, but just relaxing into it, in a condition undisturbed by the characteristics of the ramifications of thought.
If one considers the calm state as something positive to be attained, and the wave of thought as something negative to be abandoned, and one remains thus caught up in the duality of accepting and rejecting, there is no way of overcoming the ordinary state of mind.

To understand how one can integrate present awareness with all the activities of one's daily life, let's take the example of walking. There's no need to jump up immediately and walk in a distracted and agitated way, marching up and down and breaking everything one finds in front of one, as soon as the idea of walking arises. Rather, as one gets up, one can do so remembering 'now I am getting up, and while walking I do not want to become distracted'. In this way, without becoming distracted, step-by-step, one should govern oneself with the presence of awareness. In the same way, if one remains seated, one should not forget this awareness, and whether one is eating a tasty morsel, or having a drop to drink, or saying a couple of words, whatever action one undertakes, whether it is of greater or lesser importance, one should continue with present awareness of everything without becoming distracted.
An example of awareness: suppose that in front of a person in a normal condition there is a cup full of poison, and that person is aware of what it is. Adult and balanced persons, knowing the poison for what it is and aware of the consequences of taking it, do not need much clarification about it. But they have to warn those who don't know about the poison being there, by saying something like: "In this cup there is some poison, and it's deadly if swallowed!" Thus, by creating awareness in others, the danger can be avoided. This is what is meant by awareness. But there are cases of persons who, although they know the danger of the poison, don't give any importance to it, or still have doubts as to whether it really is a dangerous poison, or who really lack all awareness, and with these people it is simply not sufficient to just say: "This is poison". For them one has to say: "It is forbidden to drink this substance, on pain of punishment by the law". And through this kind of threat the law protects the lives of these individuals. This is the principle on which laws are based, and even if it is very different from the principle of awareness, it is nevertheless indispensable as a means to save the lives of those who are unconscious and without awareness.
Now, to continue the metaphor of the poison to show what is meant by presence. If the person who has a cup of poison in front of them, even though they are aware and know very well what the consequences of taking the poison would be, does not have a continuous presence of attention to the fact that the cup contains poison, it may happen that they become distracted and swallow some of it. So if awareness is not continually accompanied by presence it is difficult for there to be the right results. This is what is meant by presence.

Dear Roger,
Thank you for the hard work.I personaly derived
considerable insight from what you have posted.
Thanks
Obed

Thanks Obed,

If you have any verbage to add to the above info, feel free to do so. No harm in examining info from the internet. Nothing more.

Roger

Great info Roger, and so true. A person can also be induced or shamed into swallowing poison. Thank you.

Tucson, thanks for the description again, I am examining the roots of some of what may be original assumptions, and demolishing them where I can. As can be seen in the next post, a life should not be based on a shakey foundation.

I don't think that a person practises awareness as much as practices techniques to clear, re-route, let go of harmful beliefs that cloud awareness. Yes, I do experience that awareness can be clouded. Psychologists, teachers, your neighbour, someone who has experienced it before, the dance instructor, the act of exercising or eating properly, a good night's sleep etc can all help to uncloud awareness.

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