Tree 2

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daka
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Tree 2

Post by daka » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:34 am

Tree 2

No one has ever seen a tree
A wiser man once said
To many people, not just me.
This sank into our head
Like a leaden stone of sorts
Or a woolly blanket fog
In a volley of retorts
Mired in mental bog

Me here, tree there
And space in between
And how do they dare
To teach the unseen?
This is the common worldly view
Of how things do exist
The gap between the things and you
Tough logic to resist

This confused complexity
Of how it all can be
Relationships in kind
Between the tree, the eye, the mind
It's not as simple as it seems
(something to do with dreams)

sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: Tree 2

Post by lizzytysh » Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:10 am

heartwarming to find you here, again, sean... with your highly imaginative offerings
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: Tree 2

Post by Byron » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:49 pm

daka, sean, am I correct in seeing this piece as a moment of thought about what is real ? Your signature alludes to the concept (if that's the right word)

We see, we hear, we smell, we feel, but, is that just a trick of the senses ? I'm not going to bring in the Matrix films as an example here. The ancient Greek philosophers pondered over the idea of existence in the here and now, as opposed to us living in a dream, and when we die, we actually wake up in the Real world.

When we dream, what we see, hear, feel etc., is totally real within that time we are dreaming. If we have a nightmare we wake up in a cold sweat. We have tasted fear and it was real. We give thanks that it was only a bad dream. Whose to say that our dreams are no more than a reflection on what we perceive as life in the hear and now, but our dreams, perhaps, are a way of the subconscious mind telling us that we have yet to awake from what we think is real. But it ain't. :shock:

So, your opening line carries a phenomenal amount of historic discussion, which can be an interesting and entertaining exercise in itself.

I hope I got this right. It certainly made me think about it again.

Thanks for the opportunity. ;-)
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Re: Tree 2

Post by Cate » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:16 pm

I'm seeing it similar to Byran - largely because I read Tree 1 first and connected them in my head.

I can see the leaf, I can feel the bark, I can taste the sap, I can smell it's blossom ... but these are all separate experiences that my mind mingled up together into one object. Like looking at a bunch of dots and seeing a face, I look at all these pieces and see a tree - or do I.

Nice to see you, hope you are well

x
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Re: Tree 2

Post by daka » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:20 pm

Hello to Cate and Lizzy and Byron...very nice to come across you again... I have taken a number of long holidays from the forum but deepening appreciation for Leonard and his recent album Old Ideas have drawn me back.

Just to clarify for anyone who is interested in the actual inspiration for the tree poems, I have cut and pasted an exerpt from a teaching given by my first teacher.


"...........Nobody has ever seen a tree. We do not perceive visual objects, we interpret them, we impute them, we create them. The sensory input of visual perception is not an object, but light. There is no object being illuminated by light, just light bouncing off something we can not see. We perceive objects through a complex force field of interpretation. All that we actually see are reflected photons from a photon source such as the sun or an electreic light bulb. Only photons from a source of light enter the pupil of our eye. The pattern of these photons is then projected upside down onto the retina by the lens in the eye. These photons then trigger a pattern of electrochemical reactions on the retina of the eye which in turn trigger a pattern of neurological impulses that are transmitted by the optic nerve to the optic lobe of the brain. At no time in this process is the actual object of a visual perception ever contacted. The existence of the object and all of the visual features attributed to it, including it's size, it's position, and it's relationships in space, are all inferred; they are based on interpretations; they are interpretations based on the experience of light. The so-called visual object is therefore just a pattern of energy, just a pattern of energy; where is it... on the retina, in the optic nerve, or in the optic lobe of the brain? What the object is, and how it appears to visual perception, it's actual nature and meaning is completely dependent on how that pattern of energy is interpreted.... and how it is interpreted is dependent upon what kind of being you are, for example a god, a human being, an animal, a hungry spirit or hell being. How it is interpreted is dependent upon what kind of retina what kind of optic nerve and what kind of optic lobe in ther brain you have. How that pattern of energy is interpreted depends upon your karma, your point of view, the size of you, the perceiver, and what you had or didn't have for breakfast.

No two people or beings perceive the same object Why, because the photons impinging on their retinas are completely different, and because how the photons impinge upon their retina depends upon many factors such as their point of view, their karma, what kind of beings they are. And so for example the size of an object depends completely upon the point of view of the observer; what appears to be enormous to an ant could appear quite tiny to an elephant. There are no external absolutes, even conventionally. And so, no one has ever seen an object; no one has ever seen a tree, they have just seen light reflected upon the retina. Therefore even if they were actually there objects could never be seen. From our point of view their existence can never be established by visual perception.

When we see a dinosaur at the movies what we see is only light reflected upon the screen. The dinosaurs that we see totally lack any independent self-existence from their own side; they are empty of inherent existence; there are no dinosaurs there, just light reflected upon the screen. In the same way, what we think we see outside the movie house is just light reflected upon the screen, the screen of our retina. The same applies to each of the other sense consciousnesses. Nobody has ever seen a tree, or tasted an apple pie, nobody has ever touched a piece of cloth or smelled a piece of cheese. Nobody has ever heard an airplane. These objects are interpretations made by coonceptual thought, completely creations of our mind; they are merely labels imputed to various experiences, mere name. Nobody has ever seen the world; the world is an inference, an interpretation, a concept, an idea, a label, a name; the world is a creation of our mind. We have no direct experience of the world, no objective evidence of the world, just the experience of sense data; the world is an interpretation of that sense data. The world is a series of inferences and interpretations that we make, a series of projections and hallucinations, almost all wrong. The world is a creation of our mind. Do you see a tree... do you see a tree? .. what you see is a pattern of light, and a pattern of light is not a tree... a pattern of light cannot perform the functions of a tree and a tree cannot perform the functions of a pattern of light. A tree cannot impinge upon your retina whereas a pattern of light ca,; and so when you see a tree there is no tree being seen; the tree is just a name inpouted by conceptual thought on a pattern of light. The tree and everything about it is just a creation of your mind, a creation of your conceptual thought. The same is true of the world and everything else in it. There is no world 'out there' that can be established as being 'out there' by any kind of perceptual process. The world is established mentally, by convention, it is established mentally, conventionally, through an agreed use of language; the world is established mentally by mere word, by mere name. Other than the name 'world' and 'tree' and a bit of light there is no world, there is no tree.

This is the meaning of emptiness. There is no independent self-existent world out there. There is no way to establish such a world independent of mind. The existence of the world is completely dependent on mind; therefore the world does not exist inherently. Even from a western scientific point of view when we see a tree we do not see a tree; we think we see a tree; we think 'tree' and then we think we are actually seeing a tree; we are just seeing a pattern of light which is not a tree; and in this basis we think 'tree'. This is how things actually exist; this is how things exist conventionally, mwere thought, mere name, imputed upon some valid basis of imputation. Other than the mere thought 'tree' and a valid basis of imputation (a pattern of light) there is no tree. The tree is neither the thought 'tree' nor the pattern of light, therefore in the final analysis the tree does not exist. Nobody has ever seen a tree. "

.............

When I realised the extent to which my mind was responsible for creating my reality I was very happy. I believe this view is very optimistic because there is hope. If the mind has no responsibility for the reality experienced then existence is futile, scary and potentially very depressing and distressing. Yes Byron there is a connection between my signature (lyrics of Leonard's) and this theme. I believe Leonard writes often about this theme and he understands it well. His song from the seventies (Ballad odf the Absent Mare) is a brilliant re-presentation of an ancient Zen Buddhist teaching expounding this philosophy.

Sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: Tree 2

Post by Byron » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:16 pm

Thanks for the cut and paste.
It has brought 2 ponderables back to my thinking.

As we grow from being a baby we begin to 'see' and 'hear' the 'world' around us. Taking the view as postulated by your teacher and his obvious grasp of the reasoning within it, could I take that view a step further and by linking his/your piece, bring another plank to it to build that view onto.

For arguments sake, imagine the very first time you saw a painting which was so beautiful that it blew you away. Its form and use of light, texture, depth and colour completely bowled you over. This was a moment to remember. (Remember 'remember' )
You had never seen anything so beautiful in your life before. So, for the sake of this argument, try to imagine the import and importance of the work of art in front of you.
Question number 1. How do you know it is beautiful ? Not only that, how do you know it is the most beautiful image you have ever seen ?

The second ponderable is as follows. Most of us will have come across this question already, but it still 'rings' ( Remember 'rings' ) with a truism, which is hard to counter. Here goes......when a tree in a forest eventually reaches its last day and slowly falls/topples/leans and hits the forest floor, while there is no creature ( man or beast ) within earshot...............

Question 2. Does it make a sound ?

I feel we can make a good case for saying that the reason we know the painting is beautiful, is because we have seen similar beauty before and been able to compare it to/with other beautiful images. Where ?

By the same token, we know the tree makes a noise because we have heard it before. Where ?

The thing of beauty is in the Real world, and we saw such imagery before we left that Real world to dream in this Life. We'll see it again after we die/wake up.
The tree didn't make any noise in this Life when out of earshot, but trees do make a noise in the Real world where we came from, and to where we'll return when we die/wake up.

Are we all part of a Dreamscape ? Eventually to return to your/my Real World ?
What on earth is happening when we fall asleep tonight and have dreams ? Is the mind drifting between 2 planes of existence ?

Years ago when I was a much younger man, I read the Book, 'The Ka of Gifford Hillary,'
His mind's senses left his body while he slept. He was conscious of travelling out of his body. Only to return when his body was rested enough to want to return to his world. The mind and the body are conjoined, but mayhap not for ever ?

What I do know is that we only use less than 10% of of the power of the mind. I read that somewhere. :idea:

By the way, I gathered this train of thought from ancient Greek philosophy. They had far more time to ponder upon this. No TV. No late nights out under electric lighting. Just the stars to gaze at and ask.........why ?
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Re: Tree 2

Post by daka » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:59 am

Hello Byron

your "Question 1"
Question number 1. How do you know it is beautiful ? Not only that, how do you know it is the most beautiful image you have ever seen ?


my opinion.....That "painting is as unfindable as the tree. That painting is a mere imputation by mind on a light show happening out of the eyes, into the eyes, and through an bioelectrochemical cerebral process projected onto a mind which then interprets subjectively. The painting that is seen does not exist anywhere. The reason it is seen by a person as so "beautiful" is the same reason that we see one person as "SOOOOO beautiful" (when we are in love for example) ... everyone does not see that person the same way and the reason is best explained by the concept of karma...potentials on the mind to experience good/bad/neutral when encountering (illusory) phenomena.

your "Question 2"
Question 2. Does it make a sound ?
my opinion....There is no findable tree, findable sound or findable forest .... only dream-like appearances to mind

Someone asked a famous lama once to explain the essence of Buddha's extensive teahings in a few words. He thought a minute and then said:

No self / no problem (... there is no findable "I" either!) ... this ups the anty, no?

That teacher who taught about the "tree" taught that there is nothing "no thing" "out there" ..... he then said "There is no "out there" out there.


Thanks for your interest in my favorite topic

sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: Tree 2

Post by Byron » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:32 am

If there is 'no self, is there 'no guilt' ? Is our existence amoral ?
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Re: Tree 2

Post by daka » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:30 am

Hello Byron

No time yet to give a considered response to your important question..will do so as soon as I can

cheers

sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: Tree 2

Post by daka » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:41 am

Hello Byron, I am finally getting back to your point/question.
If there is 'no self, is there 'no guilt' ? Is our existence amoral ?
First of all I would suggest that you take a peek at another thread which I believe is relevant:
a discussion of the line "...brief elaboration of a tube...in "Going home". I made a few comments about my interpretation of the song which I think is best understood within the phenomenology of a Buddhist view.

viewtopic.php?f=55&t=31183&start=60

What that lama meant when he said "No self / no problem" was... "no inherently existent self / no problem".
Saying that there is no self is incorrect actually because there is a self (the self that appears to our mind when we say "I", when we think about ourself, when we are falling off a cliff, when we are ashamed or embaressed). This self however is an illusion, a fabrication, ephemeral, not findable. The only self that exists is this illusory self so technically we must say that the self does exist but as mere appearance to mind. The point of that lama was that if we believe that our self exists in another way we have many problems and if we believe that it exists as mere appearance to mind we have no problems (because all of our suffering depends on that "I" manifesting. The more strongly the "I" manifests the deeper our suffering.

My understanding of "guilt" may be a little different to yours so let's discuss it a bit. I view guilt as a negative mind, i.e. Catholic guilt, Jewish guilt, parental guilt, judicial guilt (other-imposed). For most psychologists guilt is not something that is actually valued or encouraged. A healthy sense of shame (self-imposed) however is a different thing; it guides us, adjusts our behaviors, encourages an exhaustive post-mortem of the behavior in question, leads to a self-imposed decision to behave differently and can be seen as positive. Within psychology and Buddhism I found this important discrimination between the two minds. I have not seen guilt mentioned in Buddhism whereas a healthy sense of shame is mentioned and encouraged.

Back to your question, again, as with the interpretation of the song, it is best dealt with within a Buddhist framework of belief in karma and past and future lives. If one believes that this life is all there is and there is no belief in karma or future-life cause/effect consequences then one limits one's view to this one life, and this one "person" then guilt is very limited in it's scope, equally a healthy sense of shame will be limited. If however one believes that engaging in a negative action may have consequences for future lives (leaving karmic imprints on the subtle mind which travels from life to life) then a healthy sense of shame is appropriate and powerful if it is acted on with alterations in behavior.

Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on these themes

And, yes, the signature is one of Leonard's many Buddhist philosophical jewels littered throughout his lyrics. It does relate to the nature of reality.

I love Lama Leonard

He looks like an old beat/hippy hedonist headed for home but don't believe it for a moment; for me he is an emanation of a Buddha (maybe Buddha Milarepa), teaching a select group of modern disciples, like Milarepa in his cave. There is a book called The 100000 songs of Milarepa that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in Buddhism and Leonard. Milarepa was a Tibetan holy man who lived in a cave for years on the mountain; he would descend the mountain occasionally, visit villages and monasteries, and sing Buddhist teachings to people.

sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: Tree 2

Post by Byron » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:10 pm

The "I" that is 'I' became Death when the 'I' was conceived.

The egg from which 'I' grew, was planted in my mother by her mother when my mother was conceived. This natural thread of Life, is a fact, which has been scientifically proven and reviewed through academic peer study and research.

We are all a conundrum wrapped in a riddle on a turtle's back in an ocean of carbon compounds, beyond our capacity to understand our 'purpose.'
Those fortunate enough to experience the illusory pleasures of transcendental meandering, aren't given the credit they deserve in a world of capitalist values.

People put trust in paper and alloys, in order to run their lives. TRUST is an illusion. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours is its basis. Modern society floats on a raft made of paper and alloyed coinage. It seems very fragile ?

Exercising 'Mindfulness,' ought to be taught as a matter of course in modern society, in order to bring calm to our personal viewpoint of the world in which we all exist. I chose 'exist' deliberately because it could be said that most people live their lives in just such a way. Sad, but true ?

Is mankind 'going to Hell in a Handcart,' or does it seem that way to those who only see a glass half empty ?

I need a cup of tea. Time to relax....... :roll:
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Re: Tree 2

Post by daka » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:23 pm

Is mankind 'going to Hell in a Handcart,'
There are supposed to be six realms of existence: God Realm, Demi-God Realm, Human Realm, Animal Realm, Spirit Realm and Hell Realms; Mankind is already halfway between Heaven and Hell. Mankind cannot go to hell but it can become more and more degenerate with more resemblances of lower realms.

Buddhism is not a pessimistic view, it is extremely optimistic. There is a new book that can be downloaded for free as a PDF which is called Modern Buddhism and I highly recommend it as a modern presentation of the presentation of Buddhist views: http://www.ModernBuddhism.com

Cheers

sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: Tree 2

Post by Byron » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:45 pm

It could be more than a coincidence that the 6 realms have a pseudo-mirrored alternative in Dante's terrifying decent into the Inferno, led by a 'master' in the craft. (Rhetorical) Just a thought.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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