Friday, December 30, 2016

Insight meditation on "Portlandia" (video)

Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Portlandia

Insight meditation (vipassana) in a yoga studio? Probably not. Unless one went to the former Insight Yoga of Pasadena or visits the current Insight Yoga Institute ( in Corte Madera, California.

Western Yoga studios stem out of the Brahminical tradition of the Buddha's day, the very ancient Vedic books, and modern traditions organized as "Hinduism" by Shankara echoing the work of Patanjali.

Shankara: Lord Buddha's wrong.
Buddhism is not a branch or form of Hinduism, as many (including many Hindus and Mahayana Buddhists) believe. Shankara noted the main difference that makes them almost opposite traditions, in spite of their many superficial similarities and common themes:
  • Shankara explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism [like almost every other religion in the world has ever known] asserts that "atman (soul, self) exists," whereas Buddhism asserts that -- ultimately speaking -- there is "no soul, no self" (an insight and teaching unique to buddhas called anatta in Pali or an-atman in Sanskrit).
The ultimate truth is subtle, counterintuitive.
The Buddha said as much when he explained the reason other dharmas (teachings) did not produce and could not produce what Buddhism defines as enlightened/liberated arhats.
Without the key insight of the impersonal nature of the basic phenomena we cling to (which is the core of the Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra), even the first stage of Buddhist enlightenment, known as "stream entry," is not yet possible.
But anatta is not an idea or position to try to figure out and then believe or not believe. It must be realized, which is possible by gaining jhana to momentarily purify the mind, emerging, then practicing the insight meditation of systematically contemplating Dependent Origination. These things would not be possible without a buddha first realizing then making this ennobling Dharma known.

(IFC) #Portlandia (ft. Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein) goes Goth when
The Weirdos explore the horrifying nightmare of big-box stores. More

"I'm not sure I believe Buddha"
Come see for yourself. Realize what I have realized. Be free as I am free. Here is the Path.
What did the Enlightened One realize?
If it doesn't make "[common] sense," welcome to the club.

"But I'm not sure I believe Buddha! [Descartes and I are pretty sure there's a self," you say? We say, this is not a faith; it is a path-of-practice that gives rise to wisdom, to directly knowing-and-seeing, to enlightenment.

There are many nuns and monks who go forth to meditate to gain this precious insight never experienced in the long, long course of "continued wandering on" (samsara).

We have all been reborn countless times (not "us" actually but the identity stream we cling to as me, myself, and I). We have all lived in heaven(s), suffered horrors unutterable in hells, wandered along as devas, humans, creatures of all kinds.

Had we understood -- had we fathomed Dependent Origination, the Buddha tells us, we would not have suffered this long round. Even now we "suffer" (i.e., are dissatisfied, disappointed, unfulfilled, longing for sensual pleasures, searching for meaning), and still we do not realized the Truth that would set us free.

Meditate and it will be possible to see the true nature of reality for oneself without resorting to the word of any teacher or prophet, any God or authority. You will see for yourself that the Buddha was right, and being at least a stream enterer, that certainty (not faith) will be unshakeable. And "you" will be free.

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