Jump to content

Neti Neti Question


Nowt
 Share

Recommended Posts

When doing the neti neti practice we in essence see that everything we are aware of cannot be who we truly are as we are aware of "it". 

 

Ultimately, we're left with a void, an emptiness, where everything that we were aware of has been seen through. 

 

The void is just that. But we are still aware of that void and therefore the void or emptiness is still not what the seeker is looking for.

 

When everything has been "neti netied" what's left? 

 

Has anyone had the experience of just hitting that brick wall or blank void? How to investigate the void? Where to go next?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

"Ultimately, we're left with a void, an emptiness, where everything that we were aware of has been seen through. "

 

Is it though? 

 

Self-inquiry is a classic. There's also koans where the student holds a koan, like "What is THIS?" in their mind, possibly for a lifetime. A lifetime koan. 

 

Here's Mooji's take on it: 

 

 

People investigate THIS. And depending on their concepts, interpret it different ways. Some see total emptiness and even the emptiness is empty. Arianna Reflects says there is nothing -- not even illusion (though in later talks she talks of illusion so i dunno). Others see Brahman, God, or Buddha Nature. 

 

I don't like the term "Emptiness" or "Void" as people can get stuck and become nihilistic. In Zen, emptiness is also called called Fullness or Suchness. Words. How can the Absolute be put into words? The third turning of Buddha's dharma wheel were the yogacara teachings pointing to a truth beyond words. 

 

I like Mingyur's Rinpoche's quote, "Emptiness is not nothing. Instead it is this fantastic void sea of infinite possibilities."

 

So in short, there's different perspectives and words here. 

 

"Has anyone had the experience of just hitting that brick wall or blank void? How to investigate the void? Where to go next?"

 

Where you go depends where you are now. My .02 is don't panic, don't be afraid, and don't be nihilistic and be wary of putting too much into your own concepts and framework (although what I'm saying is also a framework and concept). But in practice, it's not beneficial to think one is a God-Man, fully enlightened, or make any special claims. It's up to you what you do and where you go, but there's also deepening your realization, stabilization, and integration. Adyashanti says it takes 5-10 years to do this. 

 

My tip for people who've had an eye-opening, profound awakening here, is to relax and try something different -- usually something to do with the body is often good: hiking, gardening, yoga. Be kind to yourself. There's two good books here, Adyashanti's End of Your World, and Kornfield's After the Ecstacy, the Laundry. 

 

Edited by Aware Wolf

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” ― The Buddha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Aware Wolf said:

I don't like the term "Emptiness" or "Void" as people can get stuck and become nihilistic. In Zen, emptiness is also called called Fullness or Suchness. Words. How can the Absolute be put into words?

 

That's a much better way of putting it. I couldn't think of another way of saying it to be honest, but that suits "it" way better. 

 

It's not like there have been any sort of "enlightening" experiences as such or the "seeing" of anything, it simply just feels like that, like "where the hell do we go now that you've exhausted everything". There's a "knowing" that's revealed through the Neti Neti that isn't anything objective, but certainly there. There's a tendency on my part to then try and get to the source of the knowing then and that just seems impossible. 

 

I had a couple of what I would probably call "experiences" a year or two ago, but I made the mistake of then trying to get those back, which I've read and been told is a mistake. 

 

Appreciate the tips on the books too. I actually have the Adyashanti book that I downloaded on Audible ages ago but never got the hear and so I'll jump right into that.

 

Some AMAZING advice there though. I really appreciate it. There is a feeling I think amongst many that as a "moderator" of a site like this that you know the answers which couldn't be further from the truth (pardon the pun!)  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Nowt said:

 

 

It's not like there have been any sort of "enlightening" experiences as such or the "seeing" of anything, it simply just feels like that, like "where the hell do we go now that you've exhausted everything". There's a "knowing" that's revealed through the Neti Neti that isn't anything objective, but certainly there. There's a tendency on my part to then try and get to the source of the knowing then and that just seems impossible. 

 

 

 

It can feel that way.  I might put it all in a different light going forward:

 

Is it impossible to get to Source? What happens if you sit with Source? What happens if you lightly and kindly investigate Source? 

 

There's checking questions zen masters ask students who solve these koans. Questions might be: "What color is Source?"; "What happens to Source when you die?" 

 

What's interesting to me is that people who have solved What is This? or the Mu koan (and didn't just look up the answer on the internet) -- usually react similarly. They giggle. It's a funny question. They are able to give a good answer. 

 

I like this quote from Tenzin Palmo. Once you have realized the nature of mind, you're ready to start-- to START -- to meditate. 

 

I'm surprised by all the myriad Youtube nondualists who continually spout off "There is no Self". It's not wrong. But with neti-neti -- one may realize that indeed there is no CEO self. But there is something there. There's personality, memory, binding, and continuity. There may be no self (as we thought there was), but if an AI was programmed with yours or mine personalities (or a new one) -- it would be the most amazing discovery ever. That's hardly nothing, is it? With quiet reflective sitting we can look at this amazball. And not just sitting -- look at your mind while eating a pizza -- look at all the synapses going off. The consciousnesses of sight, smell, taste, cognitions. People brag about high mystical Jhana states, but eating a slice of pizza is just as much a mystical experience. As a zen master told me, Emptiness is a Mystery and that mystery is graciousness

 

 

 

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” ― The Buddha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Nowt said:

There is a feeling I think amongst many that as a "moderator" of a site like this that you know the answers which couldn't be further from the truth (pardon the pun!)  

We should've gone for the "Janitor" title.  😂

 Youtube Channel    Website

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Aware Wolf Again, thankyou. Really insightful. 🙏

 

I think my problem is my concepts and ideas of what I'm looking for. I had those experiences and am chasing those, plus listening to too many of the non dual teachers on YouTube in the hope that someone is going to deliver that magic one liner that's going to solve the whole riddle. I know that's wrong as well which makes it so much more infuriating!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Nowt said:

@Aware Wolf Again, thankyou. Really insightful. 🙏

 

I think my problem is my concepts and ideas of what I'm looking for. I had those experiences and am chasing those, plus listening to too many of the non dual teachers on YouTube in the hope that someone is going to deliver that magic one liner that's going to solve the whole riddle. I know that's wrong as well which makes it so much more infuriating!


I like listening to many nondual teachers on YouTube. 

 

Samaneri Jayssara has a good Youtube audio on the Zen oxherding pictures. I like it quite a bit. They talk about Kensho (awakening), and Kensho can evidently happen pretty early according to Zen. The third picture, finding your ox. In Mumon Yamada's commentary, later pictures, he talks about giving up Kensho. Kensho is nothing special, he says.  Although like a lot of things zen masters say -- it paradoxically is pretty special. A lot of Japanese zen people throw a party when they solve the Mu Koan. But Kensho does have to be given up. 

 

I had a good experience working with the Mu koan with a zen master. After doing it, I told the master, I regretted in a way solving Mu as it was fun to look at Mu. He told me that it didn't prevent me from sitting with Mu in the future and doing Mu practice. 

 

I think the Mu Koan or Joshu's Dog  is applicable towards what you're talking about. I think it's a good description of doing inquiry (although there's an emphasis on force and I'm not sure that's required). I mentioned looking at Source with a light touch and with kindness. Maybe that's an option too? 

 

 

Joshu's Dog

A monk asked Joshu, a Chinese Zen master: `Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?'

 

Joshu answered: `Mu.' [Mu is the negative symbol in Chinese, meaning `No-thing' or `Nay'.]

 

Mumon's comment:s To realize Zen one has to pass through the barrier of the patriachs. Enlightenment always comes after the road of thinking is blocked. If you do not pass the barrier of the patriachs or if your thinking road is not blocked, whatever you think, whatever you do, is like a tangling ghost. You may ask: What is a barrier of a patriach? This one word, Mu, is it.

 

This is the barrier of Zen. If you pass through it you will see Joshu face to face. Then you can work hand in hand with the whole line of patriachs. Is this not a pleasant thing to do?

 

If you want to pass this barrier, you must work through every bone in your body, through ever pore in your skin, filled with this question: What is Mu? and carry it day and night. Do not believe it is the common negative symbol meaning nothing. It is not nothingness, the opposite of existence. If you really want to pass this barrier, you should feel like drinking a hot iron ball that you can neither swallor nor spit out.

 

Then your previous lesser knowledge disappears. As a fruit ripening in season, your subjectivity and objectivity naturally become one. It is like a dumb man who has had a dream. He knows about it but cannot tell it.

 

When he enters this condition his ego-shell is crushed and he can shake the heaven and move the earth. He is like a great warrior with a sharp sword. If a Buddha stands in his way, he will cut him down; if a patriach offers him any obstacle, he will kill him; and he will be free in this way of birth and death. He can enter any world as if it were his own playground. I will tell you how to do this with this koan:

 

Just concentrate your whole energy into this Mu, and do not allow any discontinuation. When you enter this Mu and there is no discontinuation, your attainment will be as a candle burning and illuminating the whole universe.

 

Has a dog Buddha-nature?


This is the most serious question of all.


If you say yes or no,


You lose your own Buddha-nature.

 

 

 

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” ― The Buddha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So to speak, ‘going into’ more minute details may be fruitful…. Cracking the knuckles and giving my best here… 🙂 

6 hours ago, Nowt said:

When doing the neti neti practice we in essence see that everything we are aware of cannot be who we truly are as we are aware of "it". 

I can experience the neti neti practice / exercise… I in essence can see that everything I am aware of cannot be what I truly am, as I am aware of “it”… but we can not. 

In the vein of ‘shaving off’, ‘getting to the source’… “we” is another “it”. So…  also neti neti the ‘we’, and any ‘it’. (In neti neti fashion) I also can not be, any assumption or presumption, that there is, an it. I can not be any thought, idea or notion at all. I can not even be an orientation or indication of any thought. 

6 hours ago, Nowt said:

 

Ultimately, we're left with a void, an emptiness, where everything that we were aware of has been seen through. 

Again, neti neti wise… I can not be we, I can not be a void or emptiness, I can not be what is, has been, can be or could be seen through. 

6 hours ago, Nowt said:

 

The void is just that. But we are still aware of that void and therefore the void or emptiness is still not what the seeker is looking for.

 

When everything has been "neti netied" what's left? 

Unthinkable fullness. 

6 hours ago, Nowt said:

 

Has anyone had the experience of just hitting that brick wall or blank void? How to investigate the void? Where to go next?

I can not be experience. I can not be investigation. I can not be what is said or thought to investigate. I can not be anywhere or somewhere (to go). I can not be what goes. 

3 hours ago, Nowt said:

It's not like there have been any sort of "enlightening" experiences as such or the "seeing" of anything, it simply just feels like that, like "where the hell do we go now that you've exhausted everything". There's a "knowing" that's revealed through the Neti Neti that isn't anything objective, but certainly there. There's a tendency on my part to then try and get to the source of the knowing then and that just seems impossible. 

I can not be enlightening experiences. I can not see. I can not be an it / a thing or anything,  which feels. I can not be a you, and I can not be a you which exhausted any thing. 

 

I know the thought, source, is a thought. I know that ‘knowing’ can be recognized as a thought… yet, this is not the knowing of the thought. The knowing of - is not a thought. I know of this experience of thoughts - but I do not know of a knowing, which is not myself. I, knowingness, know of the thought, myself. I do not know a knowing, which knows this. Knowing / knowingness, is knowing these thoughts; I, myself, source, knowing, awareness.

 

Knowingness is knowing of the thoughts - anything, anyone, etc.

Is anything or anyone knowing, of knowingness? 

That can not be, as still, knowingness is always most prior. 

Put another way, just a different pointing word - whatever, whoever, etc - awareness is aware of. 

As an initial pointing… there is nothing prior to knowing / awareness. 

And yet, nothing (no thing, not a thing) is knowing, knowingness, awareness, aware. 

3 hours ago, Nowt said:

 

I had a couple of what I would probably call "experiences" a year or two ago, but I made the mistake of then trying to get those back, which I've read and been told is a mistake. 

Knowingness / awareness… is knowing, is aware of… the thoughts - I had, I would, I made, I’ve read. 

No thing is knowing of, aware of… the things - (thoughts are things) - I had, I would, I made, I’ve read. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not even a knot,

Once every thought,

Heavy bags dropped, 

Nothing here to see,

All has been mopped.

 

Clear the mirror,

It will shine,

So bright that it doesn’t, 

So light that it is gone. 
 

So, 

Might never have,

Ever been all along.

 

🌳🌾🌊

 

🤍🧠👀

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Aware Wolf said:


I like listening to many nondual teachers on YouTube. 

 

Samaneri Jayssara has a good Youtube audio on the Zen oxherding pictures. I like it quite a bit. They talk about Kensho (awakening), and Kensho can evidently happen pretty early according to Zen. The third picture, finding your ox. In Mumon Yamada's commentary, later pictures, he talks about giving up Kensho. Kensho is nothing special, he says.  Although like a lot of things zen masters say -- it paradoxically is pretty special. A lot of Japanese zen people throw a party when they solve the Mu Koan. But Kensho does have to be given up. 

 

I had a good experience working with the Mu koan with a zen master. After doing it, I told the master, I regretted in a way solving Mu as it was fun to look at Mu. He told me that it didn't prevent me from sitting with Mu in the future and doing Mu practice. 

 

I think the Mu Koan or Joshu's Dog  is applicable towards what you're talking about. I think it's a good description of doing inquiry (although there's an emphasis on force and I'm not sure that's required). I mentioned looking at Source with a light touch and with kindness. Maybe that's an option too? 

 

 

Joshu's Dog

A monk asked Joshu, a Chinese Zen master: `Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?'

 

Joshu answered: `Mu.' [Mu is the negative symbol in Chinese, meaning `No-thing' or `Nay'.]

 

Mumon's comment:s To realize Zen one has to pass through the barrier of the patriachs. Enlightenment always comes after the road of thinking is blocked. If you do not pass the barrier of the patriachs or if your thinking road is not blocked, whatever you think, whatever you do, is like a tangling ghost. You may ask: What is a barrier of a patriach? This one word, Mu, is it.

 

This is the barrier of Zen. If you pass through it you will see Joshu face to face. Then you can work hand in hand with the whole line of patriachs. Is this not a pleasant thing to do?

 

If you want to pass this barrier, you must work through every bone in your body, through ever pore in your skin, filled with this question: What is Mu? and carry it day and night. Do not believe it is the common negative symbol meaning nothing. It is not nothingness, the opposite of existence. If you really want to pass this barrier, you should feel like drinking a hot iron ball that you can neither swallor nor spit out.

 

Then your previous lesser knowledge disappears. As a fruit ripening in season, your subjectivity and objectivity naturally become one. It is like a dumb man who has had a dream. He knows about it but cannot tell it.

 

When he enters this condition his ego-shell is crushed and he can shake the heaven and move the earth. He is like a great warrior with a sharp sword. If a Buddha stands in his way, he will cut him down; if a patriach offers him any obstacle, he will kill him; and he will be free in this way of birth and death. He can enter any world as if it were his own playground. I will tell you how to do this with this koan:

 

Just concentrate your whole energy into this Mu, and do not allow any discontinuation. When you enter this Mu and there is no discontinuation, your attainment will be as a candle burning and illuminating the whole universe.

 

Has a dog Buddha-nature?


This is the most serious question of all.


If you say yes or no,


You lose your own Buddha-nature.

 

 

 

What does Mu mean? Also what exactly is the koan here? Is it just if a dog has Buddha nature? It says if you say yes or no you lose your own Buddha nature but didn't the zen master in the story say no?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Kevin said:

What does Mu mean? Also what exactly is the koan here? Is it just if a dog has Buddha nature? It says if you say yes or no you lose your own Buddha nature but didn't the zen master in the story say no?

 

Ah. Good point. 

 

The practice of looking at Mu in this koan means looking at Emptiness or Buddha Nature.

 

It's clear from sutras that all sentient beings have Buddha Nature. So why did Joshu reply "Mu"? Was it just to shock the monk asking? Is this a game? Why would a monk ask such an obvious question anyway? Why ask about a dog's Buddha nature? Is this koan about a dog? Perhaps the monk was asking about finding his own Buddha nature. How to realize it? That's a question a monk might ask. 

 

If this is the case, "Mu" -- is a great pointer. Or it could be if the monk is open to it. 

 

There's another koan, another time,  where Joshu is asked again if a dog has Buddha Nature and Joshu says yes. There's a book, The Book of Mu, with chapters on this koan. Sometimes No, sometimes Yes -- what's going on here?

 

If you're looking for firm ground you won't find it in Mu. There is no have or have not. A dog is Buddha Nature. 

 

 

 

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” ― The Buddha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By clicking, I agree to the terms of use, rules, guidelines & to hold Actuality of Being LLC, admin, moderators & all forum members harmless.