Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT to Richard: Unfortunately, your method has not helped anybody to achieve this lofty goal to extinct the ‘passionate instincts’.
RICHARD: On the contrary ... the very reason why this flesh and blood body is actually free from the human condition (sans the entire affective faculty/identity in toto) is because of the identity in residence all those years ago (1981-1992) utilising the approach ‘he’ devised – a course of action which has become known as the actualism method – to full effect.
Incidentally, it was not a [quote] ‘lofty goal’ [endquote] ... it was a very down-to-earth, sensible, and practical goal. Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 89 (=Respondent), 10.9.2005
RESPONDENT to Richard: Not you, of course, the others (your former wife, Vineeto, Peter, No 66, and others). As long as your method does not get them beyond what Buddha’s method does, I don’t see your claims justified – that your method does what we don’t have any evidence that it does what you claim it does.
VINEETO: Not so. The actualism method has already got me far ‘beyond what Buddha’s method does’, and any other spiritual method for that matter. In a relatively short time (about 2 years compared to 17 fruitless years on the spiritual path) I gained a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow, which allows me to feel carefree most of the time and to be considerate of others at all times.
This virtual freedom from malice and sorrow is not only a delicious way of experiencing life whilst still remaining a feeling being, it would also mean, with an eventual global spread of happy and harmless people, an end to human conflicts and an end to what can only be described as the human malaise. I am under no illusion that this will happen in my lifetime but I am well pleased that I made the effort.
After all pragmatic claims require pragmatic proofs.
RESPONDENT [quotes himself]: ‘Buddha taught a technique called ‘mindfulness’ (and most likely the technique was very different 2500 years ago than today) which had as an aim to stop instinctive and affective behaviour whether for good or bad.
I don’t see how what you achieved with Richard’s method is ‘far beyond’ that.
VINEETO: Buddha’s mindfulness is based on dis-association and dissociation in order to nurture the transcendent ‘Self’ or ‘Being’ whereas the actualism method diminishes both good and bad feelings and fosters the felicitous/ innocuous feelings thereby diminishing both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as ‘Being’. For starters, being blissfully removed from the world via denial, transcendence and dissociation is a world of difference to happily (and harmlessly) experiencing this moment of being alive in the world as-it-is with people-as-they-are.
For you to claim that Mr. Buddha taught a technique aimed at stopping one’s good ‘instinctive and affective behaviour’ as well as one’s bad ‘instinctive and affective behaviour’ is mind-boggling – you wouldn’t like to reconsider your claim perchance?
RESPONDENT: You retrained yourself as to reduce the effects of your feelings, instincts and passions upon your behaviour.
VINEETO: Your reading of the website has been somewhat superficial because the actualism method is clearly not a re-training ‘to reduce the effects of your feelings’ – the actualism method results in abandoning one’s beliefs in anything meta-physical, mystical and spiritual – upon closer inspection they are all recognized as silly for being obstacles to being happy and harmless.
Haven’t you noticed that a fact that you know as a fact does not trigger any malicious or sorrowful feelings when questioned whereas each and everyone of one’s beliefs when questioned by others immediately brings a whole range of defensive, aggressive and doubtful emotions into play. With no beliefs to defend or uphold the very arising of all those feelings supporting and/or defending one’s beliefs, be they spiritual, metaphysical, religious, political, cultural, philosophical or whatever, simply disappears. Eliminating one of the major causes of feelings such as righteousness and/or indignation means that one is more able to be happy and harmless. In other words – no cause, no effect.
RESPONDENT: For example, in the past you might have gone mad screamed if somebody had spoken to you in derogative language. Nowadays you might not even ‘feel’ the insult, or if you still feel the insult you feel it much less than before, which enables you NOT to act based on the feelings of insult.
VINEETO: Yes, following Buddha’s method I would have merely retained myself not to feel insulted by staying cool, remaining aloof and acting superior.
Whereas with the actualism method, when and as a feeling arises, I neither repress nor express the feeling but apply attentiveness to the fact that I am feeling melancholic, annoyed, bored, frustrated and so on with the aim to get back to being happy and harmless as soon as possible. Being attentive in that way I find the trigger that set me off feeling that way in the first place, in order that I can find the root cause of the feeling’s onset and clearly seeing the root cause is also the end of it.
To give you an example – the other day No 88 wrote that ‘Vineeto, being of German origin, is so responsive to it, makes me suspect otherwise’. I actually had to ask Peter to explain what No 88 meant by this because when I used actualism to inquire into all the reasons that caused me to being malicious and sorrowful, insulted and angry, I had to, along all the other aspects of my social identity, also dismantle my German identity and its associated range of feelings, beliefs, attitudes and cultural/historical encumbrances.
Think about it – if all the Arabs and Christians, Jews and Palestinians, Hutus and Tutsis, Chinese and Americans, English and Irish, Greeks and Turks, Prussians and Russians, Greenies and world-traders, vegetarians and omnivores, hawks and pacifists, left wingers and right wingers, and so on would stop feeling themselves to be of a particular creed, of a particular nationality, of a particular tribe, of a particular social, political and/or philosophical group, then they would have no need whatsoever, no matter what anyone says, to feel insulted on grounds of their nationality, creed, convictions and beliefs – that would be the end of all the wars and feuds and conflicts on the planet.
VINEETO: You wrote something to Gary the other day that seems to be a misinterpretation of what I wrote, so I couldn’t resist ‘butting in’. The misinterpretation is in the second part of this post but I am making a general comment at the start.
RESPONDENT: I realize that ‘nipping it in the bud’ could be interpreted as either suppression, or as you say
The latter is what I intended, and your description jibes with that. As an example, the other day I had an angry moment, and I popped off at someone in an inappropriate (aka violate common consideration for others) manner. The moment swept me along, so there was little I could do to ‘nip it in the bud’, but the following feelings of embarrassment and shame I was able to ‘nip in the bud’. They arose, I recognized them, then got back to being H&H.
VINEETO: In the process of becoming happy and harmless, my main focus was on becoming harmless, i.e. ceasing being aggressive or angry towards others. In this case investigating my feelings means that I examine what triggered my eruption of anger, what caused me to up my defences, what is it that I am being defensive about and what part of my identity felt threatened and therefore caused me to react aggressively.
Once I am able to isolate the issue in question, then the next step is to clearly look at all aspects of this particular area of identity, be it an authority issue, a gender identification, professional pride, a certain belief or worldview or any other cause that made me react in an aggressive or inconsiderate manner. The difference between maintaining a social or spiritual moral code in order to keep a lid on outbursts of anger and the process of actualism is that in actualism I am changing my behaviour by incrementally removing the very triggers for feeling irritated, annoyed, resentful, threatened or aggressive.
To achieve this, I not only have to ‘recognize’ the arising feeling as a feeling, but I have to search for and identify the part of my identity associated with the feeling – ‘me’ as a woman, ‘me’ as a national identity, ‘me’ in my professional or work role, ‘me’ as a partner or family member, ‘me’ as a social identity with a particular philosophy, culture, religion or worldview, etc, etc. Unless I recognize, examine and finally incapacitate the part of my identity who feels offended and therefore responds offensively either covertly or overtly, there will inevitably be a similar harmful response in the next similar situation.
As for ‘feelings of embarrassment and shame’ – those feelings quickly became redundant as I incrementally succeeded in ridding myself of malice and sorrow. As an actualist, I set my sights higher than merely keeping the lid on my instinctual aggression by living by the rights and wrongs of some moral or ethical code. Actualism is about becoming free of malice and sorrow via a process aimed at ‘self-immolation – it is not about controlling one’s malice and sorrow via a process aimed at ‘self’-perpetuation.
The process you seem to be describing as ‘they arose, I recognized them, then got back to being H&H’ has a striking resemblance to the method of Vipassana. This Buddhist ‘watching practice’ is based on the understanding that ‘who’ you really are is your ‘consciousness’, ie. a disembodied, desensitized ‘watcher’, dissociated from unwanted emotions and thoughts
In Vipassana, ‘watched’ anger eventually passes away, not because you understand its underlying reason and origin but because you become the watcher and distance yourself from your anger and merely watch it run its course. In the same way you can distance yourself from any feeling or emotion without ever having to investigate the substance of your ‘self’ – it’s instinctual core. To really face the fact that anger is ‘you’ in action, and that ‘you’ are the only cause and reason of anger arising, is the first and essential step to doing something practical about bringing an end to this emotion instead of merely witnessing it and waiting for it to pass away.
Actualism is not a method of passively monitoring, watching or observing one’s feelings – actualism is a method of actively investigating the origin of those feelings and thus rocking the very core of one’s identity.
RESPONDENT: So, ‘nip it in the bud’ doesn’t imply suppression, just an acquired skill in processing the emotions as they arise. As Vineeto discussed in another thread, it’s not necessary, or even useful to pump this through the grist mill every time, just recognize it as another manifestation of a fairly well understood response. Of course, there needs to be a check on this process to ensure that this categorization is not self-deception, a red herring.
VINEETO: I take it that the thread you are referring to is from my recent post to Gary –
When I said ‘after sufficient exploration into the human condition’ I was referring to several years of actively dismantling and intensely exploring all aspects of my identity – an identity that was clearly seen and recognized in numerous ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiences as being an all-pervading yet non-actual ‘presence’. Such pure consciousness experiences are vital to the intent to investigate one’s identity because only in a PCE can I see, by the very comparison of ‘my’ absence, what havoc ‘I’ am continuously causing by ‘my’ very presence and what confusion, diversion and cunning ploys ‘I’ am inventing in order to stay in existence. The comparison of a PCE to ‘my’ normal life as an identity within the human condition also gives me the confidence that when I am ‘nipping feelings in the bud’ I am not repressing, ignoring or side-lining a ‘precious’ part of my identity.
I remember you said that you no longer subscribe to spiritual practices but given that spiritual values and practices pervade human society like odourless vapour, an investigation of potential hangovers might still be of use. In case you are interested, some years ago there were several discussions on The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list about the topic of Vipassana in distinction to actualism – Vineeto, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 4, 5.4.1999 and 16.4.1999, and No 7, 24.4.1999, 2nd question, Richard to No 4, 10.9.1999 and No 7, 23.8.1999
VINEETO: And now to your second question.
VINEETO: Vipassana has to be seen within the whole context of Buddhism to understand its intentions and implications. Vipassana is the particular method to reach to the Buddhist’s highest goal – Nirvana. The idea in Vipassana is to become conscious of the sensations in the body, of the ‘stress’ of the sensations, feelings, desires, attachments etc. in order to extract one’s self from those stressful feelings. You are supposed to learn consciousness in order to become the Consciousness, thus removing your ‘self’ from the content of what you sense, feel and think. Have a careful read through the following discourses on ‘feelings’ and ‘mind’ from the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10; PTS: MN i.55) and you might understand their emphasis. You will also note that Buddhists don’t make a distinction between sensations and feelings.
Essentially, they say, that you are not the body, not the mind, not the sensations, not the feelings. They say you are the ‘soul’, you are Consciousness. This is 180 degrees opposite to Actual Freedom. In Actual Freedom you are the flesh and blood sensate and reflective body only, no ego, no soul.
But, if you get lost with their many words of going round and round and round then you know that the method is just to hypnotize oneself out of one’s normal way of thinking and feeling to end up in a pleasant drug-like state of no-mind, somewhere else, numbing one’s intelligence as well as one’s feelings and sensations. Spiritual practice is to numb your feelings and emotions while for actual freedom you need to dig into them, feel them, explore them, investigate them and trace them back to the root instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
In the above article the expression of ‘not clinging to anything in the world’ is the give-away. The whole meditation consists of turning away from something considered ‘unwanted’ to something considered ‘wanted’ – which is a moral evaluation of good and bad. The whole Buddhist religion is a very moral code of ethics.
Here is a bit more of Mr. Buddha’s teachings of how to get out of their physical senses and retreat into an imagined reality or fabricated peace and tranquillity. Of course, practicing Vipassana is like being drugged by an overdose of pain killers – when you don’t feel anything, see anything, hear anything, it is kind of peaceful – I would rather call it numb and dull! And then, removed from the world of physical senses there are no limitations to the full range of imagination – one imagines being peace, light, love, compassion – take anything from the ‘feeling-shop’ whatever you want, nothing is actual anyway.
Can you see the intense effort that goes into changing one’s sensitivity, and into fiddling with the perception of the senses. Everything perceived in the physical world is considered stress and bad, and one has to work hard to dis-associate oneself from it. And yet, they want to call it ‘choiceless awareness’! Give me a break!
Now, back to Richard’s expression:
You see a flower, you become conscious that you see the flower; you become conscious of its form, colours, smell, moving in the breeze and then you become conscious of the delight of your perception, of you being able to see, smell and know about it too. You are conscious of your being conscious. That’s it.
When the Human Condition is in operation, when ‘I’ interfere in the pure seeing of the flower, there is evaluation, feeling, choice, complaint, desire, hope, sadness, anger, etc. You can slowly, slowly become aware of all those emotions in operation, interfering and destroying the pure delight of living in this perfect universe. This ‘I’ is nothing but feelings, beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions, filtering everything that you see, hear, smell, touch, taste and think. When you dismantle the ‘I’ by examining everything that is not actual then you can be here, in this moment, in this place, eyes seeing, ears hearing and brain thinking. Everything else is but a passionate fantasy and imagination.
VINEETO: Ah, Buddhism, the most heady of the religions, maybe also the most removed from everyday life ... and you wonder if they know about pure consciousness experience?
RESPONDENT: Dear scholars :)
I have asked a group the question what is the Dzogchen definition of mind?
And the following was returned to me. I can’t seem to make any sense of it. Especially how a human being comprehends a nature of mind (sems-nyid), which exists beyond time and conditioning. Is this Dzogchen mind the same as the pure conscious experience of Actual Freedom?
Anyone’s help would be greatly appreciated.
VINEETO: For an intelligent, practical, down-to-earth human being to try to comprehend ‘a nature of mind (sems-nyid), which exists beyond time and conditioning’ is a contradiction in itself, because such a mind exists only in passionate imagination or in wishful thinking, particularly in the desire to be immortal. The ‘ground of being’ that the Buddhist glossary in your quote talks about is merely another name for God, one’s immortal soul, one’s innermost being, etc. As a mortal flesh-and-blood human being, I die when I die and my intelligence or mind dies with the rest of my body. The mind, the functioning of the brain in action, is firmly locked in this moment of time – it is only ‘I’, the psychological and psychic entity, who exists out of time and, being fearful of death, believes the fairy tales of an existence ‘beyond time’.
Therefore ‘Dzogchen mind’ can never be the same as a pure consciousness experience. A PCE is a sensate-only experience when the ‘self’ is temporarily absent. For a more detailed definition you can have a look in the library. It is the ‘self’, this alien entity inside the flesh-and-blood body, who desperately wants to believe in a life after death, an existence ‘beyond time’ and an imaginary freedom outside of the ‘limitations’ of the material world.
You quoted –
Reading the last paragraph makes it obvious, that the definition of ‘mind’ in Buddhist understanding is an imaginary energy, another name for God or the ‘ground of being’, established with the phantasmagorical power ‘to bring all thoughts and phenomena into manifestation in consciousness through its latent energy’. Whereas ‘mind’ in the world of people, things and events where we humans live, simply means the human brain in operation, and it has an astounding capacity both for sensible thought and for silly passionate imagination.
However, I don’t intend to comment any further, because I am not a scholar. What I know about and what I can comment about is why and how I have extracted myself from the world of ideas, concepts and fervent belief and how to live in the actual world of sensual delight and sensible thought.
When I read the text I was reminded of my university days when the communist and socialist students were expounding their very scholarly theories of how society should be run. I studied the first chapter of Marx’s bible, the Manifesto, and then gave up. Looking for other ways to assess the validity of the proposed theories, I checked out how the communist students were in their relationships, how much success they had in their political activities, how their relationship was to the working class that they allegedly represented. All this gave me a pretty clear picture that what they were proselytizing did not work, neither in their own lives nor in other people’s lives. Further, the more I learned about the putting into practice of communist belief in various countries, the more I was convinced that the theory did not work.
The same measure of investigation I applied to feminism, humanistic therapy, marriage and Christian belief. Strangely enough, with Eastern mysticism, particularly Sannyas, I was completely blind as far as the practicality of the teachings was concerned – in my own life, the life of the teacher and in the lives of the people of India, where Eastern mysticism had been on-going for thousands of years.
What I am saying is that I decided that I did not have to learn or understand all the theories in order to assess their validity, I did not have to trot my way through the seemingly endless possible theories, philosophies and concepts that human beings can invent – and Eastern philosophy and mysticism is particularly designed to be mind-bending and thought-twisting.
Now, it does not make any sense to me why people are often quite practical in terms of their livelihood, safety, comfort and pleasure, yet when it comes to religious values and spiritual belief, all those practical and sensible assessments are blatantly abandoned. Why? Why don’t we demand from our beliefs what we want from our cars – that they should work?
VINEETO: Your description that ‘consciousness itself became conscious’ and ‘‘consciousness’ has taken over completely’ is a common and garden description for the Eastern mystical altered state of consciousness aka enlightenment. Given your statement that ‘‘I’ and ‘Self’ are very much alive’, your entity is indeed very much alive and kicking, now identifying as ‘me’ being ‘consciousness’, which is exactly what Richard described having lived between 1981 and 1992. A diagram on the Actual Freedom website quite accurately illustrates this process of blowing the ‘self’ into huge proportions via the process of spiritual transformation. You may notice in the illustration that in the state of enlightenment Evil (the bad emotions) is still present only sublimated beneath the Good (the good emotions) – and plenty of genuine reports from enlightened people have confirmed this to be factual. Your description that the undesirable emotions are ‘‘overruled’ and thus dominated’ is quite accurate – they are definitely not eliminated.
KONRAD: This exhibits a misunderstanding of Buddhism. Within Buddhism the concept of ‘evil’ does not have meaning as a force in its own. ‘Darkness’ is, according to Buddha, absence of light. In the same manner: ‘evil’ is ‘absence of knowledge’. You give a typical western interpretation of Buddhism, and thus miss the very things they actually have discovered.
VINEETO: I have studied and practiced Eastern mysticism for seventeen years and I know what ‘they actually have discovered’. I have swanned around for three days in an altered state of consciousness with all the hallmarks of enlightenment and therefore I know by my own experience that in enlightenment Evil still underpins the Good. Evil is not a concept or the ‘absence of knowledge’, as Buddhists and Advaita-ists fondly believe, but the animal instinctual passions of fear and aggression that are only sublimated, not extinguished, in favour of the aggrandized passions of nurture and desire. What you like to call a ‘typical western interpretation of Buddhism’ is in fact the understanding that one gains from a pure consciousness experience when both the impassioned morals and ethics of the real world and the impassioned beliefs of the spiritual world are seen for what they are – illusions and delusions.
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