[Buddha-l] What is direct experience?

lemmett at talk21.com lemmett at talk21.com
Sun Feb 6 13:14:14 MST 2011

Hi Erik,
Thank you for the sweet reply. I haven't digested it yet but wanted to jump in and say that while I certainly can't talk for all people who have had schizophrenia (etc.) I do think that one's relation to reality is a complex one even when psychotic. I would *guess* that parts of reality remain quite distinct and clear - though twisted up by the rest of the stuff you have, as well as perhaps any resulting difficultly relating to others. 

> some will insist that some experiences are self
> revelatory, but 
> this probably means an open invitation for a lot of
> metaphysics

assuming you mean psychotic experience... well yes i have read that psychosis can lead to a fascination with metaphysics but then so can taking philosophy 101 and i think that you can underestimate the potential for ironic engagement by severely ill people. well anyway, i would certainly say that there can be unhelpful even fake religious experiences but then i do think that, well just to take an example

"... witnessing so many teachers who have passed through numerous koans or otherwise have had their realization "certified," but who nonetheless present as unbalanced and sometimes even unhealthy people underscores the wisdom..."

this does grate for me. i do not know or pretend to understand any intricacies of the Buddhist ideas on madness and mental illness but then should i take every political gesture of the upper classes at face value? i don't know.

i hope that this does not seem at all offensive - i am not the most articulate person i know to be honest!!
i am happy to post this though and hope it *is* welcome


--- On Sun, 6/2/11, Erik Hoogcarspel <jehms at xs4all.nl> wrote:

> From: Erik Hoogcarspel <jehms at xs4all.nl>
> Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] What is direct experience?
> To: "Buddhist discussion forum" <buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>
> Date: Sunday, 6 February, 2011, 19:54
> Op 6-2-2011 20:09, lemmett at talk21.com
> schreef:
> > thanks erik! someone mentioned in this old discussion,
> that they were uncomfortable with the analogy between
> psychosis and direct experience. can i try to explain a
> little? not got so much to say but - isn't it possible for
> psychosis to bring out experiences like the luminosity of
> awareness or the "environment" ,in which case i did wonder
> how that can be differentiated from these "True" states of
> mind associated with Buddhism. hence the question... make
> sense? should i track down something by korzybski?.
> Hi Luke
> This is quite a sensitive subject because having this kind
> of experience 
> makes a person a member of the Buddhist upper class. So it
> depends a lot 
> on what you call an experience. In ordinary situations one
> expects that 
> having an experience includes knowing that you have it and
> what it is. 
> This makes it impossible for a Tibetan Buddhist to have an
> appearance of 
> Mother Mary or of the angel Gabriel but equally impossible
> for a Muslim 
> to have an experience of pure awareness. A person with a
> severe 
> psychosis probably has little reflective awareness of what
> he or she 
> experiences. It is like finding a key without knowing what
> it is for.
> Maybe some will insist that some experiences are self
> revelatory, but 
> this probably means an open invitation for a lot of
> metaphysics.
> Another point is if one can have such a special experience
> and still 
> remain the same mean old bastard. Is not personal change a
> prerequisite 
> for the truth of the experience? I think in Buddhism it is,
> because 
> advanced persons are traditionally defined by having less
> desire, hatred 
> and delusion than the average human being.
> In Buddhism there is little discussion about the quality of
> such 
> experiences, because one should not boast about it. But
> this doesn't 
> stop the rumours of course.
> I leave the question below to the specialists in the
> field.
> erik
> >
> > i did have another query to add while i'm bothering
> the list.
> >
> > what exactly is the existence of emptiness in
> Yogacara? i ask because my uneducated guess is that it is
> the essence of the separate teaching of the two truths for
> Zhiyi, what differentiates it form Madhyamika or the shared
> teaching. a pretty basic question maybe but i'm especially
> concerned with how it might effect a theory of truth or the
> status of conventional truths.
> >
> >
> >
> > thanks - and i'm glad to see that the list is still
> running some
> >
> >
> > luke
> >
> _______________________________________________
> buddha-l mailing list
> buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com
> http://mailman.swcp.com/mailman/listinfo/buddha-l


More information about the buddha-l mailing list