Mental States and Zen

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boda
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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by boda » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:47 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:07 pm
You don’t even get to the mountaintop. Chemicals can induce another mental state,but just another mental state. Maybe helpful; maybe damaging, but mental states have little to do with Buddhism.
:) Oh really, care to elaborate on that? I don't beleive you do.

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by desert_woodworker » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:28 pm

C.,
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:07 pm
You don’t even get to the mountaintop. Chemicals can induce another mental state, but just another mental state. Maybe helpful; maybe damaging, but mental states have little to do with Buddhism.
Interesting!! I think you may mean "altered states", though, not mental states.

Is that right? Slip of the keyboard? Because, well, "Greed; Hatred; and Ignorance", are almost nothing but states of ...mind (which unfortunately inform our behavior/actions).

A Dharma-study-group in our sangha recently made an eight-week study of the book Altered Traits (2017), by Dan Goleman and Richie Davidson. Not bad, but has it's problems, I'd say. But it's still early-days in the scientific and neurological study of meditation and its effects, as seen by Science.

I like (!) their choice of title for the book, though, as it emphasizes that what correct Buddhist Practice would do is to alter TRAITS, not irrelevantly provide an endless cinema of altered states. Good reading, but glad to be done with it, although I'm grateful to the authors: Some of our discussions of their book, and some video interviews in the "Closer to Truth" series, plus some TED talks, turned me on to the work of Antonio Damasio; and, to Giulio Tononi (neuroscientists independently studying "Consciousness").

--Joe

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by fuki » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:58 pm

bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:47 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:07 pm
You don’t even get to the mountaintop. Chemicals can induce another mental state,but just another mental state. Maybe helpful; maybe damaging, but mental states have little to do with Buddhism.
:) Oh really, care to elaborate on that? I don't beleive you do.
Ah yes, no mental state, no Buddhism.

Also a thought changes one's chemical composition completely, just think about a loved one or a not so favourite political figure. A movie about puppies or a horror movie about demonic possesions, just think tiger or kitten, or observe the cognitive dissonance when a identified/attached buddhist hears great wisdom from a non-buddhist source...products of a mind that never was.
Even thinking "Buddhism" modifies the story of this chemical consciousness. Heaven and hell eh?
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boda
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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by boda » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:01 pm

fuki wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:58 pm
bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:47 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:07 pm
You don’t even get to the mountaintop. Chemicals can induce another mental state,but just another mental state. Maybe helpful; maybe damaging, but mental states have little to do with Buddhism.
:) Oh really, care to elaborate on that? I don't beleive you do.
Ah yes, no mental state, no Buddhism.

Also a thought changes one's chemical composition completely, just think about a loved one or a not so favourite political figure. A movie about puppies or a horror movie about demonic possesions, just think tiger or kitten, or observe the cognitive dissonance when a identified/attached buddhist hears great wisdom from a non-buddhist source...products of a mind that never was.
Even thinking "Buddhism" modifies the story of this chemical consciousness. Heaven and hell eh?
What on earth are you talking about?

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by fuki » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:39 pm

bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:01 pm

What on earth are you talking about?
Sorry, standard "Buddhism" that there exists no phenomena which doesn't arise from "mind"

I posted some experimental words, which must be why you didn't follow, perhaps I should return to the 'fixed' dharma instead of moving this tongue :P
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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:27 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:28 pm
C.,
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:07 pm
You don’t even get to the mountaintop. Chemicals can induce another mental state, but just another mental state. Maybe helpful; maybe damaging, but mental states have little to do with Buddhism.
Interesting!! I think you may mean "altered states", though, not mental states...
No, I meant any mental state, including the jhanas. As I understand it, the jhanas, for example, can be tremendously helpful but are not the end goal. No mental state, like damaging anger, can be closer or further from the Dharma (see The Letters of Chan Master Dahu Puje, Broughton/Watanabe). By definition, all mental states such as the jhanas are temporary and “alter.” Cultivating them may be a palliative (and we often need bandages), but does not get to the main matter in Buddhism. We may desperately need therapy to repair our mental states just as we may need life saving heart surgery. However, it might be dangerous to go to a Buddhist monastery for either or rely on Buddhist meditation. It is not their purpose. So I will get heart surgery if I ever need it and cultivate calm, but thatshould not be confused with Buddhism. Or so I have heard ! :D

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by desert_woodworker » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:46 pm

C.,

As I've been sharing in conversation with Clyde and others in a "Jhanas" thread, and discussing samadhi generally, the samadhi states are fine developments, should they develop, in a Zen Buddhist practice context, because it's known that awakening often occurs at the sudden breakup of a samadhi state, or the sudden "awakening out of" a samadhi state.

Of course they are not some sort of a goal, in Mahayana at least. Whatever gave you that idea? Certainly not one of us. They are states of meditation. But again, the sudden breakup or awakening out of a samadhi state is often the onset of kensho, and the beginning of the awakened state, which can persist in daily-life and daily-work even for many months before it begins to erode (persistence depends on daily maintenance, and actually upon all the eight particulars of the Eightfold Path, not just on Right [continued-] Samadhi).

I think that in this fray you may have missed my pointing out that "Ignorance; Hatred; and Greed" are mental states, indeed, and that they are definitely a major "item" in "Buddhism". So, let's correct your statement and say now that "Mental states are a big deal in Buddhism", ...but altered states are not. That last makes "psychedelic-" experience or inexperience moot, on a Buddhist consideration; i.e., neither here nor there.

So I'd say!

rgds,

--Joe
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:27 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:28 pm
C.,
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:07 pm
You don’t even get to the mountaintop. Chemicals can induce another mental state, but just another mental state. Maybe helpful; maybe damaging, but mental states have little to do with Buddhism.
Interesting!! I think you may mean "altered states", though, not mental states...
No, I meant any mental state, including the jhanas. As I understand it, the jhanas, for example, can be tremendously helpful but are not the end goal. They, like damaging anger, cannot be closer or further from the Dharma. By definition, they are temporary and “alter.”

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by boda » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:22 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:27 pm
Cultivating them [mental states like samadhi] may be a palliative (and we often need bandages), but does not get to the main matter in Buddhism.
First of all, bandages are more than palliative in that they may aid in healing. Secondly, the main matter in Buddhism is realizing our true nature and meditation is useful in that enterprise.

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:24 pm

bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:22 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:27 pm
Cultivating them [mental states like samadhi] may be a palliative (and we often need bandages), but does not get to the main matter in Buddhism.
First of all, bandages are more than palliative in that they may aid in healing. Secondly, the main matter in Buddhism is realizing our true nature and meditation is useful in that enterprise.
Absolutely agree.

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boda
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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by boda » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:36 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:24 pm
bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:22 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:27 pm
Cultivating them [mental states like samadhi] may be a palliative (and we often need bandages), but does not get to the main matter in Buddhism.
First of all, bandages are more than palliative in that they may aid in healing. Secondly, the main matter in Buddhism is realizing our true nature and meditation is useful in that enterprise.
Absolutely agree.
Don't be shy, Cao, say what you mean. This agreement appears to contradict what you've just claimed.

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:57 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:46 pm
let's correct your statement and say now that "Mental states are a big deal in Buddhism", ...but altered states are not. That last makes "psychedelic-" experience or inexperience moot, on a Buddhist consideration; i.e., neither here nor there...
I would respectfully disagree. All mental states alter and all mental states are “altered states,” whatever the cause. They are wholesome, unwholesome, or neutral. Of course one would want to cure a crippling mental state or a psychological problem or encourage a wholesome state. It is what one needs to do. It is a big deal in that context. However, no state can not be nearer or farther from the Dharma. As you state, coming out of temporary, usually wholesome, mental state of samadhi may often be associated with awakening and sometimes not.

I would think the abandonment of such states would be Buddhism, which is the “dropping body and mind” or letting the fires go out if you prefer the Pali canon version.

But there I go again, altering my metal state if not your mental state by adding to the thicket of views! Thanks for letting me explore these thoughts.

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:59 pm

bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:36 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:24 pm
bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:22 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:27 pm
Cultivating them [mental states like samadhi] may be a palliative (and we often need bandages), but does not get to the main matter in Buddhism.
First of all, bandages are more than palliative in that they may aid in healing. Secondly, the main matter in Buddhism is realizing our true nature and meditation is useful in that enterprise.
Absolutely agree.
Don't be shy, Cao, say what you mean. This agreement appears to contradict what you've just claimed.
Nope, in no way. Please re-read what I’ve said.

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by Dan74 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:04 pm

I think Caodemarte makes a good point, even if it's a bit overdone. Mental states is not where it's ultimately at.

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Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by fuki » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:24 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:04 pm
I think Caodemarte makes a good point, even if it's a bit overdone. Mental states is not where it's ultimately at.
Where what is at, Buddhism?
That's true "ultimately" there is no Buddhism. :cat:
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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by boda » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:34 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:04 pm
I think Caodemarte makes a good point, even if it's a bit overdone. Mental states is not where it's ultimately at.
Then where exactly is it ultimately at?

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by boda » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:46 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:59 pm
bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:36 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:24 pm
bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:22 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:27 pm
Cultivating them [mental states like samadhi] may be a palliative (and we often need bandages), but does not get to the main matter in Buddhism.
First of all, bandages are more than palliative in that they may aid in healing. Secondly, the main matter in Buddhism is realizing our true nature and meditation is useful in that enterprise.
Absolutely agree.
Don't be shy, Cao, say what you mean. This agreement appears to contradict what you've just claimed.
Nope, in no way. Please re-read what I’ve said.
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:57 pm
I would think the abandonment of such states would be Buddhism, which is the “dropping body and mind” or letting the fires go out if you prefer the Pali canon version.
Dropping body and mind” sounds an awful lot like a state. So, how is it not a state?

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:06 am

bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:46 pm
...“Dropping body and mind” sounds an awful lot like a state. So, how is it not a state?
I would think it is the dropping of states. If you make it into a state it is no longer dropping body and mind.

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:53 am

Dan,
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:04 pm
I think Caodemarte makes a good point, even if it's a bit overdone. Mental states is not where it's ultimately at.
Of course not, and it's puzzling why anyone would bring that up, as Caodemarte has done, and no one else.

The point remains however that mental states are very much an important part of what's treated in and by Buddhism, contrary to C.'s claim. Particularly those states which cause suffering, summarized in the classic categories of Ignorance, Hatred, and Greed. And Buddhist practice would be the means by which those states are collapsed, and suffering alleviated.

Just basic Buddhism. I don't see the use in denying it or in misleading others from the rudiments.

--Joe

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by boda » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:25 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:06 am
bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:46 pm
...“Dropping body and mind” sounds an awful lot like a state. So, how is it not a state?
I would think it is the dropping of states. If you make it into a state it is no longer dropping body and mind.
You’re equating a state with body and mind? Okay, well, a body & mind is one state, and no body & mind is another.

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Re: Buddhism & psychedelics

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:00 am

bodhi wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:25 am
Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:06 am
bodhi wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:46 pm
...“Dropping body and mind” sounds an awful lot like a state. So, how is it not a state?
I would think it is the dropping of states. If you make it into a state it is no longer dropping body and mind.
You’re equating a state with body and mind? Okay, well, a body & mind is one state, and no body & mind is another.
Yes. Both states or ideas of states must be dropped. As I understand Yogacara teaches us that we experience only through mental/emontional constructions or states of consciousness that we mistake as real. Body and mind is such a construct. Holding on to body and mind or dropping it is an error. The “solution” is to completely drop body and mind. That includes dropping the concept of dropping, etc. All states are dropped or seen through. (Granted there may times to pick up states, but that is a discussion too sophisticated for me and for a different thread or topic.)

My understanding of this is best summed up by a Theravada story. An American disciple told Ajahn Chah about his great meditation experiences under various Theravada masters. Ajahn Chah sighed and said, “Just one more thing to drop.”

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