Answer to: “Buddhist practice is a waste of effort”
Buddhist Practice Is A Waste Of Effort.
Any earnest Buddhist reeling in dismay at the above need not be offended (although you must be aware that all offence is yet another aspect of deluded mind). Having previously been involved with dharma for many years, I hold deep love and affection for the sheer splendour that is Buddhism and also many of its great liberated ones.
However, those involved with all such practices and techniques are mostly on a hiding to nothing. This is what I mean when I say practice is a waste of time. Below is a rather hot potch of notions pointing to this fiction of seeking. I have included the writings of several other evolved beings, apart from my own interjections.
There are four aspects to the delusion of practices:
1 The seeker Is The Illusion.
Almost all enlightenment 'seekers.' involved with 'paths' and 'methods.' are involved in subtle delusions, they are trying to achieve some supposed other and higher state than their present situation. The reality though, is there is no possibility that 'self' can gain anything. Like a magicians trick it is illusion.
To attain enlightenment, a self or mind are necessary as the attainer, but any such self or mind is not findable, except in imagination.
The "seeker of enlightenment as the 'practitioner' is this imaginary identity being actively projected by subconscious conditioning.
"There is no self which can become enlightened nor liberated from its causes of suffering. That self that “you” feel you are, felt clearly as “me”, doesn’t exist anymore than the tigers in a dream.
“Enlightenment” is that the one seeking enlightenment never existed. Hence no one ever became enlightened or liberated.
Most traditions and teachers accept this illusory self-autonomy, and encourage us via this autonomy to apply ourselves with great diligence in order to refine and transform our condition such that it self-liberates into nirvana or bliss or oneness." J. Peterson.
"The illusion generated by the human mind is that there is a permanent or continuous self which can be afflicted with various negative mind states and emotions which seem to append to this pre-existing, and autonomous self.
"This then leads to the subconscious generation of a self who then tries to liberate itself from these negative emotional mind states. But this is the subconscious projection of an imaginary self as a “seeker”, meditator or practitioner. There is no seeker, practitioner or meditator, except the imaginary one. No one attains liberation or enlightenment, because the one who would “attain”, is imaginary." J. Peterson.
“Self improvement and transformation are the trademarks of Buddhist tantra (vajrayana); the Dzogchen view to the contrary implies reflexive recognition of the spaciousness, of the timeless moment.” - Keith Dowman.
There is no self which can become enlightened nor liberated from its causes of suffering. That self that “you” feel you are, felt clearly as “me”, doesn’t exist anymore than the tooth fairy
"For practitioners in Buddhist traditions, the whole strategy of the egoic mind is to trade in their fictional, suffering self for a much better identity of becoming an immortal Buddha, with unconditional love, compassion, wisdom, bliss and endless peace of mind; empowered with the job of transforming all types of identities or persons into Buddhas, just like “you”. That’s the kind of upgrade “we” all would recognize as being a good deal!
However, what happens, (what is required) is the falling away of ALL identities, leaving no identity of any kind, not even that of a Buddha. It’s truly empty of identity. Instead, what remains is a universal, infinitely vast Empty Mirror of Awareness in which all identities appear and disappear, without it having any identity." - J. Peterson.
The seeker or practitioner is itself Awareness's or Rigpa's projection of a self-consciousness. The projection or reflection can never become the projector.
The error is not noticing that all the self characteristics, thoughts and "sense of autonomy" are arising from Pure Awareness itself, and not from the mind as their creator. The mind only seeks better states. It is the thought mind that attempt's to better itself though techniques and methods.
It is this thought mind that endlessly seeks knowledge and more enlightened states through engaging in study, practices and efforts to attain enlightenment.
Spiritual seekers aspire to purify a mind that is already pristine awareness. It is already self-perfected.
To attain enlightenment, a self or mind are necessary as the “attainer”, but any such self or mind is not findable, except in imagination.
“The "seeker of enlightenment" as the "practitioner" is this imaginary identity being actively projected by subconscious conditioning.
For practitioners in Buddhist traditions, the whole strategy of the egoic mind is to trade in their fictional, suffering self for a much better identity of becoming an immortal Buddha, with unconditional love, compassion, wisdom, bliss and endless peace of mind; empowered with the job of transforming all types of identities or persons into Buddhas, just like “you”. That’s the kind of upgrade “we” all would recognize as being a good deal!
"However, what happens, (what is required) is the falling away of ALL identities, leaving no identity of any kind, not even that of a Buddha. It’s truly empty of identity. Instead what remains is a universal, infinitely vast Empty Mirror of Awareness in which all identities appear and disappear, without it having any identity."
“The basic ignorance is the incapacity of this imaginary self to know its own imaginary status. The personal self, is not a real, living entity as a person with rights and responsibilities. "You" don't exist except as a projected puppet of subconscious
Whatever the "seeker of enlightenment" as the "practitioner" seeks, it will never be found, because the seeker itself is imaginary and is a fictional product of karmic mind (sem).
The awareness that "looks out" of the seeker's eyes is itself already, always the awareness of rigpa, as well as the scope in which the "daydreamed seeker" appears and disappears.
"Almost all teachers and practitioners never get beyond the dream of being an individual self entity who has the capacity to choose its own destiny. It is taught to focus its attention, such that a mindful awareness arises, which prevents becoming distracted. Sounds good, but for the fact that the sense of being an entity, in a state of focused mindfulness, is itself just another moment of selfing distraction." . Peterson.
2) Everything Is Already Perfect.
Nothing needs to be changed or added. Whatever arises is the energy of pristine awareness. Instead of desiring more peaceful or tranquil states, every emotion, perception or thought which arises is recognised as empty awareness.
Everything is left as it is. When 'as it is' fully matures. It isn't necessary to do anything. Recognising the empty awareness present within all mental arisings such as perceptions, feelings or thoughts, reveals them to be empty awareness and so they release back into their naked essence as Awareness. This is the non-method of self-liberation.
It isn't that we have to do something to self liberate thoughts, they automatically reveal their basic impermanence every moment. We simply take the position of purely experiencing all of the phenomena as it is, free of evaluation, let them fall away, back into their intrinsic empty awareness.
When leaving everything 'as it is' with no interference, mind and thinking dissolve into their original empty impermanent nature. Then clear insight arise, non-conceptional wisdoms. Only this empty wisdom can transform the delusion and ignorance that exists. Everything is revealed to be impermanent emptiness.
"Awareness is already pure, it has no form or state of its own. That then allows Awareness to be every state, every feeling, every emotion, every thought, every identity sensation, every perception. That being so, what is there left to achieve? Every experience, happy, sad or neutral is the appearance of Awareness. We give up completely the notion that Awareness has to have some particular flavour or colour. Every experience is equal in Awareness! What could you possibly practice? You are already aware, so you don't need to become aware. Everything is already happening however it’s happening, so there is nothing special to do. No special "state" to attain! If you experience a special state, that's fine, but it will never become stable. The only stability is your unchanging knowing of whatever is experienced. That unchanging knowingness is Awareness." J. Peterson.
3) All Buddhist methods Are Cause And Effect.
"If pure presence were a definable state there would be a cause and conditions that brought about that state. And if pure presence were caused by certain conditions than the formalisation and categorising of these conditions as a technique would allow us to practice it, in a process, on a path that led to the destination, the goal, which would be a fixed state." Such a state would be a product of causality, made up of differing components and therefore impermanent."- Keith Dowman.
There is no “cause” that can produce the result. The result is already fully present as one’s default awareness that knows, hears and sees. It has nothing to realise because it is always what it is. It can’t be lost because it’s always present like space. The single state from which everything without exception arises is the basic space of phenomena. There is nothing to achieve or seek within the context in which nothing needs be done. Since effort and achievement are not other than their natural state of basic space, whence could effort come? To what achievement could it lead? Since there is no object to seek, nothing to perceive in meditation, no state to achieve, nothing that comes from anywhere else, and no coming or going, there is equalness - dharmakaya. This spontaneous perfection is found within the basic space of the supreme sphere of being. - Longchenpa.
4) Practices cloud Over Already Pure Wisdom Clarity.
No practise is needed because all practice and methods are further interferences with the direct perception that recognises itself. Any intentional effort or subtle form of practice blocks this clear natural unfolding of wisdom insights.
If consciousness is busy with thought mind and its mental arisings, the space is not empty enough to allow room for the Wisdoms insights to arise from primordial emptiness. Wisdoms arise instantly when mind is fully absent.
As long as consciousness is occupied with mind and energetic mental events, the cognitive space is not empty enough to allow room for the Wisdoms to arise from the Mind Of Clear Light. The Wisdoms arise instantly when the mind is fully absent.
The complete emptiness of the mind is the moment of Wisdom's appearance.
1) Wisdom does not need to arise, it is already present. To try to do something in order to make it arise is part of the illusion you described.
2) This presentation is biased:
it talks about: not seeking, not doing, not acting, not perceiving, not becoming, not making effort, not adding, not attaining, not gaining, not existing …
but it doesn’t talk about not non-seeking / abandoning, not non-doing, not non-acting, not non-perceiving, not non-becoming, not non-making effort, not non-adding / subtracting, not non-attaining, not non-gaining, not non-existing.
From the point of view of the Middle Way free of all extremes & middle,
there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do / add in absolute terms,
nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do / subtract in absolute terms,
just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth.
To grasp at only one side of these dualities is to miss the point.
Reality / Enlightenment is beyond dualities like: existence vs. non-existence, accepting vs. rejecting, affirming vs. negating, seeking vs. abandoning, doing vs. not-doing, becoming vs. not-becoming, acting vs. not-acting, perceiving vs. not-perceiving, knowing vs. not-knowing, thinking vs. not-thinking, conceptualising vs. not-conceptualising, causality vs. acausality / spontaneity, making effort vs. letting it go, cause vs. effect, past vs. present vs. future, adding vs. subtracting, etc. To favor one side of these dualities is to miss the whole point.
"Engaging in mental activity is called "distraction" in Dzogchen.
But "attempting" to not engage in mental activity is also "distraction"."
-- Jackson Peterson
From: How and Why the Non-Meditation, Non-Practice Approach of Dzogchen Works -- Lobma Be
Nothing to do / add, nothing to not-do / subtract.
Buddhist non-practice is also a waste of effort.
Everything, good or bad, pure or impure, is already the self-arisen unchanging timeless primordial awareness / the Ground. And this Ground is non-dual.
Enlightenment is not about doing this, not about not-doing it, not both together, not neither. Whether we do it or not is just perfect. We cannot force enlightenment. We just need to directly realise the true nature & dynamic of whatever is happening here & now to become totally free from all illusions, conditioning / karma, to directly perceive / realise our already present buddha-nature, the already Pure land around us.
"My practice is a practice that lacks any duality.
I practice the heart-essence of everyone
As being the Bodhicitta
I practice that my own mind
Is primordial Buddhahood."
"I meditate that the totality of the apparent world Is sentient.
I meditate that my own mind is primordially a Buddha.
I meditate that the entire totality
Of the outer and inner vessel and contents
Is the reality of the Bodhicitta.
We must meditate that all the Dharmas
That appear and that are possible
Are without any duality."
From: The Tantra on The All Good One That Brings Together The Roots Of The Magnificent Sky
From: Natural Bliss - Five Tantras of the Space Section
Translated by Christopher Wilkinson
Free of being caught by anything at all ~ Padampa Sangye
In a state of emptiness, whirl the spear of pure awareness;
People of Tingri, the view is free of being caught by anything at all.
– Padampa Sangye
from the book "The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most"
Mind is full of habits.
habits consume energy.
Tremendous energy is needed
- to break the shackles of deluded perception.
Negative habits - comparison, envy, resentment, grasping,
addiction, competition, self pity, gossip, anger
- all of these consume the most energy.
Positive habits produce energy.
- Love produces the most energy.
Impartial love, great tenderhearted affection for appearance
- this is the fount of energy.
Change negative habits to positive habits
- in order to go beyond all habits.
Beyond all habits mind is free.
Not free from or free to – just freedom.
- Freedom as a state of Being.
Beyond habits body - embodiment, enworldment is love.
Not love of this or that - just love.
- Love as a state of Being.
Without changing negative habits to positive habits
there is no such thing as freedom, enlightenment, liberation, wisdom.
Without going beyond habits altogether
- even positive habits becomes bondage
- whose frustration becomes negative habits.
Practice in of itself cannot bring enlightenment
- but only those who practice become enlightened.
Changing negative habits to positive habits
- cannot in and of itself bring liberation.
But only those who change negative habits to positive habits
- ever go beyond all habits.
Anything else is just fantasy, the conceit of conceptual frivolity.
~ Traktung Khepa
There is no wisdom higher than present mind itself ~ Ponlop Rinpoche
The mistaken ideas about the essence arise from fixated attachment that solidifies the present mind as being negative. You believe that noble and positive wisdom will be attained only if present mind is relinquished. This is a mistaken idea in the Mahamudra tradition, because there is no wisdom higher than present mind itself.