Day After (# 1089)

19 06 2017

Yesterday I attended an all day Buddhist retreat, meditating or being mindful the entire day. The ideal for me would have been to be able to take notes. I had neither pen nor paper so I am left with whatever I can remember. I was disappointed at the end of it and need to get at that too. Part of it was my fault because I had concerns about the weather and a later commitment that made me figidity and anxious to leave. Then there was the rush to  make the next event that also allowed me no time to reflect. Hopefully today will be different.

Last night instead of thinking about the meditation I read the last chapter of Tarthang Tulku’s Time, Space and Knowledge to see what was said about Being and the origins of APAPB (Appreciate the presence of appearance as the presentation of Being), one of the points to reflect in Play as Being.

  1. We see a beautiful sunset. We can appreciate its appearance. Why is that not enough? Why apply the complicated APAPB to this beautiful appearance? To make a long story short, yesterday I passed a Lutheran Church with the sign advertising the sermon for that Sunday: “God is the author of Spring”. Applying that thought to our sunset, God is the author of the sunset. What does that add to the appearance? Yes, we think of God as the creator of all things. Where does that lead us? The scientist would explain the sunset as light filtering through the dust and water particles in the atmosphere. The lower the sun, the more particles it has to pass through. The more humidity in the air, the greater the effect and thus a more spectacular sunset. How does that affect our appreciating that appearance? Does it lessen its beauty? APAPB challenges us to think more deeply about the things that appear, both beautiful and ugly. They all signal a presentation of Being (or God if you prefer). The sunset is not Being. Being is neither a “thing” or a “whole” (TSK).
  2. On practice:
    Stim Morane: And practice itself can be without the heaviness we usually associate with “practice”.
    Stim Morane: I don’t think there’s a paradox here.
    Stim Morane: Practice can itself be the way we learn to let go of that heaviness.Stim Morane: Dogen said that there is no “high” practice or “low” practice, but only sincere practice and insincere practice (which is to say, bogus practice). I think sincere practice already is free of the most toxic aspects of practice.
  3. An ah ha moment from #2: I was rebelling against what I felt or saw as the “heaviness” of the practice yesterday. I am used to practicing or “playing” lightly. Thanks Stim and Dogen. Now I need to find out who is Dogen. (Answer: Founder of Soto School of Zen 1200-1253)
  4. Next Clue (i.e. Presence)
    Stim Morane: in contemplative traditions, everything is concrete. Not abstract.
    Stim Morane: It all comes down to what we ourselves are doing.
    Stim Morane: Very different from physics, for instance.
    Stim Morane: Or maybe not …
    Stim Morane: It depends on how one looks at it. But my point is that you yourself can answer that question, just be more “seeing”.
    Stim Morane: *by
    Pema Pera: it is like “grokking physics” . . . 🙂
    Stim Morane: Our ordinary existence is pervaded by subtle “wanting”, “reaching” … and this, for contemplatives, is “time.
    Stim Morane: “time”
    Pema Pera: what a really good physicist does, after many years
    Stim Morane: drop that “reaching” and you find timeless time, Presence.
    Stim Morane: This = the start of Being.
    (same source as above – bold type mine)
  5. On Being and being:
    Stim Morane: So Being is different from ordinary “existing”
    Stim Morane: existing is a run-on affair, bleeding out all the energy of Being … without Being ever Itself being
    (same source)
  6. The second dialogue is at
    It includes such observations as:
    Stim Morane: There really is no such thing as Is, or Being. This is because in the ordinary way of viewing things, they literally don’t correspond to anything … and because in clear Seeing they are “empty”. So either way, they’re “nothing”.
    Stim Morane: Powerful nothings.
    Stim Morane: “Is” is a particular facet of reality available to one type of Seeing. Such Seeing, in turn, is revealed through Stopping. So Is and Seeing and Stopping are linked to each other and to Being.
    Stim Morane: Maybe we could say Is is the entry into Being, where Being is a much broader term.and:
    Pema Pera: For me the practical “step-up”, entry into the realm of Being, the realm of the True Nothing, is through the door of the True Something, appearances (phenomena)
    Stim Morane: Yes. Well that would apply in both approaches to some extent.
    Pema Pera: what I myself have learned in a year of PaB, is to see more off what that entails
    Pema Pera: yes, for sure
    Pema Pera: so in the course of last year, we started with simply “stopping, and dropping what you have to see what you are”
    Pema Pera: and then “Being seeing” came out as a kind of refinement
    Pema Pera: and that led to the APAPB phrase:
    Pema Pera: Appreciating the Presence of Appearance as a Presentation by Being
    Stim Morane: OK
    Pema Pera: and more and more myself I am learning to see how each single phenomenon opens up to all of Being, as well as the collective presence of all phenomena
    Pema Pera: I am wondering still how to invite a focus on sheer appearance into Play as Being . . . .Pema Pera: right now, for me, the best way to describe how it is to work with this is to describe my own sense of presence like a barrel, for which the hoop around the slats is being removed — I find the slats falling away, my sense of self falling away and dissolving so to speak into the totality of sheer appearance . . . . it is so hard to describe this
  7. After reading all that and the third dialogue as well, I do not have the grasp on this that I thought I did. I found it interesting that Stim said that “is” and “Being” are “empty”. This is something I had missed. In that case my understanding of APAPB was all backward with Being dependent on the presence or appearance rather than the other way around. Does the presence of appearance still point to Being? What happens if we apply the presence of Spring to God? The sermon clearly pointed to the idea that the appearance of Spring pointed to God. Still it becomes problematic applying one tradition’s concepts to another so maybe best to leave that alone.
  8. F. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to drop any part of “self”.
  9. F. Stayed pretty mindful in last 15 minutes–got a good bit done
  10. F. Not as mindful or as productive as last 15 minutes but not bad



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