Missing Movie Night and Personal Substitutions

While I didn’t always attend Movie Night I enjoyed the movies I did watch in the group setting and Andy K. did a great job with nearly 30 weekend respites for this far-flung, but amazingly close community that sprung up during the Covid Bardo. You felt that group closeness during those Saturday evenings as well as during Andrew’s various hangouts, webinars, meditations, book readings and Dream Yoga instructions—as well as in the relatively small in number, but regularly-attended Dream Sharing Group Zooms on Sundays. I’m sure other activities will be coming along in the Fall including a new Book Club initiative and other great online opportunities to get together and share and learn, in addition to Andrew’s online and in-person retreats.

For me, I’ve been attracted to Tibetan Thangka art for years and even was able to work on a painting under a master’s supervision in Nepal, as part of a three week Groupon—type experience, a rushed but nevertheless invaluable experience. The connection of this Tibetan art form to Dharma is obvious, yet I never really knew how important this work is for the artist—and patron—until recently.

Some of the instructional resources I’ve been using for my painting include, amongst others, *Tibetan Thangka Painting* (Jackson & Jackson), Principles of Tibetan art_ illustrations and explanations of Buddhist iconography and iconometry according to the Karma Gardri school - Volumes 1 and 2 and The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols (Beer).

Consider some of these passages from Tibetan Thangka Painting, that describe what can happen to an artist if he or she makes mistakes in proportional representation when painting Thangkas.

One major fault lies in deviating from the correct proportions when drawing the chin, the neck, or the calves of a figure. This indicates that the artist will be forced to leave his locality and will have a negative influence on whatever place he lives. (Yikes-can I take my wife with me?)

Malproportioned ears, noses, or fingers in a drawn figure constitute another major error; this points to impairment of one’s personal prosperity and charisma, and the thwarting of any attempt to achieve accomplishments even on a mundane level. (Wow, better hold those investments).

Incorrectly proportioned calves, mouths, or cheeks are serious flaws in art, leading to one being very unprosperous and vulnerable to all kinds of hindering influences and obstacles. It is like-wise a fault to alter the correct proportions in drawing the neck the chest, and the sides of a figure, since these faults will cause one’s karma(?) to be thwarted and may bring on all kinds of harmful and negative influences; and to err in drawing the breasts, the nose, or the forehead, which will lead to
one having quarrelsome enemies. (OMG, permanent isolation?)

So I will be careful in creating this art, but it is fun and does find its way into my dreams. I wonder what other folks are doing with their time on Saturday night?

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Hello–Barry I missed last Saturday’s movie, and also the upcoming events email for this week, nor the Saturday Night movie blurb today. Your message suggests the movie nights have ended. I can’t find any announcement so can you verify? If so I’m quite sorry to have it end.

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Yeah, ended due to copyright concerns.

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Sigh. I wonder if copyright law will catch up with modern technology at some point?

I know there are online options for simultaneously watching things, but haven’t used them personally. Everyone would have to be subscribed to the same streaming service + using the same app or extension etc., though, so it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth.

Similarly there are things like Bigscreen VR, but everyone would need a VR headset for that.

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LOL. These warnings are hilarious. In summary: you better not fuck this up, or terrible things will befall you!

It’s almost as if the people who came up with this stuff are making up elements of the religion to keep people in line or motivate people to work harder (at art, in this case). But hey, it probably doesn’t apply to other aspects like the doctrine of reincarnation… :thinking:

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The fear of a negative afterlife has been used by many religions to exercise power over the common people.
Nevertheless, reincarnation might still be what is really happening with one‘s consciousness.

As Lavoisier supposedly said: Rien ne se perd, rien ne se crée, tout se transforme Nothing is lost, nothing is created, but everything is transformed.

If this is true for everything, then why should it not be true for consciousness?

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Yes…it might

I mean sure, but I’m also told energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed…but that doesn’t mean one particular pattern of energy (e.g. my mind/personality) is going to persist past the dissolution of my (current?) incarnation.

I’m a temporary weaving together of the “Real” (whatever that is) and at a certain point I’ll be unwoven; at that point new forms will be woven together. Where am “I” in that reweaving? Nowhere/everywhere?

Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 percent of everything you think, and of everything you do, is for yourself—and there isn’t one.” ― Wei Wu Wei

If there isn’t one, what reincarnates? The totality of Being, I suppose. If, right now, there are billions of human incarnations of that ultimate Self, then each of them is just as much the ultimate “me” as “I” am, and so are all future beings.

None of which necessarily means that this current incarnation is going to persist after I die.

I reckon a good way to motivate people to strive to be better (and maybe obedient) is to tell them they’re personally going to reincarnate, in more or less favorable ways depending on how much merit they accumulate this time around

Yes, that is the ultimate question.
So, does it perhaps make sense to ask oneself if the method of inquiry used up to now to solve this question is the right one?

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Sure, any suggestions? I don’t think I’m going to “solve” this question until I die, and maybe not then. Though perhaps I can convince myself that I have a definitive answer. Mostly I think it’s an open question

If your belief is that you are not going to solve it, then it would be honestly a waste of time to engage in the search. „Reality is what you attend to“ would work here against you.

If you decide to approach the question openly and throw any belief or expectations over board, then I would suggest AOA (Awareness of Awareness) meditation and explore what reveals itself naturally without fabrication.

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Just found this thread…I just returned from 5 days camping…

Rupert Spira once spoke of each incarnation being like a whirlpool in a river. When the whirlpool dissipates it reforms downstream…same stream water but different character.

I thought about that while bathing on the mountain in this amazing stream called, oddly enough, Gleason Brook. Had to hike pretty far in to find this falls. :sunglasses:

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He uses a similar metaphor . . . .

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Since you raised this very foundational point of what persists from lifetime to lifetime, and, as synchronicities go, I recently had re-read / re-listened to some related texts, here’s some infos/thoughts on this older post:

In buddhist doctrine this is called Kunzhi namshe which in most buddhist schools is defined similarly to this definition:
kunzhi namshe (tib: kun gzhi rnam shes , skrt: alaya vijnana ) The kunzhi namshe is the basic consciousness of the individual. It is the “repository” or “storehouse” in which the karmic traces are stored, from which future, conditioned experience arises. (source: https://dev.ligmincha.de/ueber-uns/bon-buddhismus/glossar/)

So in buddhist terms, it is this relative consciousness which reconfigures lifetime after lifetime.
This consciousness is still conditioned, though.
As mental patterns are being maintained or developed during one’s lifetime, after death these patterns are not lost and will prime the next lifeform.
So, as you called it, this is said to persist past the dissolution of one’s incarnation.

Now, that is the ultimate question.
From buddhist view, this question can be answered in at least two ways:
From relative point of view, one answer is that the “I” seems to be that kunzhi namshe - that from lifetime to lifetime reconfigurated consciousness.
From absolute point of view, the relative “I” is an illusion, one is pure rigpa, primordial awareness, “untainted” by karmic tendencies, mental afflictions, etc.
So from that vantage point, there really is no individual “I” anymore.

As Padmasambhava is being quoted by B. Alan Wallace: it is important to understand/determine one’s individual kunzhi namshe before being able to ultimately understand/determine one’s rigpa. (2014 retreat 20140828pm.mp3)

I found this statement compelling, and it shifted my attention to the importance of exploring the relative consciousness, i.e. kunzhi namshe, which is, of course, the source of our dream world.

In buddhist practice, these views should not remain abstract concepts, but a buddhist practicioner aims to explore both views by practice. So, practice will render a concrete, experiential understanding of both the relative view’s answer to that foundational questions, as well as the absolute view’s answer.
The intellectual mind cannot bypass this path of experience by practice.

That is a very nice wisdom quote bei Wei Wu Wei. Like a koan, it perplexes the relative mind while at the same time is carrying the absolute truth in it. From a relative view, “you” think and do and that “is for yourself”… but from a absolute view “there isn’t one”.
Unhappiness springs from a relative mind which falsely believes that it needs to grasp to become whole and does not realize it’s own true nature.

From absolute perspective that is correct. The ultimate “I” is untainted, unconditioned, unconfigured consciousness (not even human). This ultimate rigpa is said to be common to all sentient beings.

Yes, no current incarnation will persist after one dies. One will lose the current outer attributes like gender, species etc.
Dominant habitual tendencies will influence the reconfiguration of one’s kunzhi namshe in the next life.

I find the biographies of a number of yogis/meditational masters quite interesting: many of them were very non-conformist and were determined to find out what is valid and real by practice.
If one is really interested in finding out the validity of these doctrines, one can experientially validate them (or should be able to disprove them if they were invalid) by practice.

If one wishes, one can experience and explore one’s kunzhi namshe. In fact, as lucid dreamers, we are already starting to do so.
If one wishes, one can practice to cut through even that relative “I” of the kunzhi namshe and rest in the experience of pure awareness.
As mentioned, Wallace’s 2014 retreat is a great source to these topics and the mp3s can be downloaded for a donation of one’s choice.

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Of late I have been exploring the relationship between consciousness and Consciousness, that is, how we may actually spring from and return to a more universal and fundamental conscious awareness.

Everything I read tells me that there is no “Self”, and I get it. My head is well wrapped around the concept of emptiness due to dependent co-arising now. But there is the nagging question of what it is that I have become after all these years that differentiates “me” from, say…“you”.

I thought about that last night during WBTB and wrote down this attempt to describe the “self” as it relates to what I have become in my life:

My “apparent self” is a fluid manifestation of the suchness that has been, and continues to be, formed through interdependent arising as I have lived my life.

Whew. :sunglasses:

For the purpose of any discussion that may arise from that statement I will define suchness as character.

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Reminds me of a science fiction story I read years ago with no memory of where it was or who wrote it. Very appropriate. The world had been invaded or changed in some way and everyone’s memory had been erased. Some people, for some reason, wrote everything down and when they woke up each day they would read all they had written before, their lives up till that point.

Perhaps our awakening each morning involves a subtle, super-fast perusal of our paths on the sandy beaches of our lives so we recall those steps that came before and identify “who we are” —just those footsteps, easily erased by an oncoming wave.

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Love this.

…just like that dream that was SO vivid upon waking but faded away even as I reached for the journal and pen.

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