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Oct. 1st, 2003

whew.....homework was a bit more challenging this week and i've fallen behind in my reading and studying, but i managed. :)

1 "If there is no feeling there can be no experience of the object." Why
is discernment not enough to know the object? Is feeling not prone to misguide
us, leading to prejudice, attachment and aversion? Would we be better off
without feeling?

2 How do you feel the object-ascertaining mental factors operate when
trying to do a shiné meditation or an analytical one.

1. Discernment is individual. Given a group of people and one object, each will discern the object differently. Therefore, if object knowing were based solely on discernment, there would be few common objects in the world and all would be open for debate and miscommunication regarding objects. What a confused world it could be! One may take something as simple as an apple and place it on a table (and, just what is a table?) in front of a group of people with only discernment to identify the apple. We have no contact - we have never before touched an apple or held one in our hand. We have no feeling - we have never tasted an apple. We have never smelled an apple pie as it cools on a windowsill. We have no training during which someone would have explained to us what an apple looks like, tastes like or that it is a fruit which grows on a tree. We lack intention that would lead us to the next step that an apple is to be eaten. Without attention we are unable to tell the apple apart from any other round, red object we may have stored in our memory. What would be the difference between a partially deflated round, red ball we watched children toss around in the park and our apple? We would not be able to tell. We would not even know the apple is an edible fruit. All we are able to note of the apple is that it oddly resembles a round shape and the color red. Even this red roundness is based only in relation to objects of which we have a memory of being round and red, "it is round like a ball losing air, and red like a hot coal." Strip all but discernment related to this apple and all we have a roundish, red, useless object on a table.
Feeling is very prone to misguide us. Again, as simple as an apple. We judge it based on the feeling of our tastes. We love the apple because it tastes good; we hate the apple because we disagree with the taste of it. The intent of feeling guides our actions with the apple. We take and eat it, or we walk away from it. Is this not the same we do with people because of feeling? We can summon up all the compassion in the world for someone we care about, but it is a struggle to do so with a stranger, even more so for someone with whom we are not fond.
We would not be better off without feeling. Compassion, at its root, is a feeling. Everything we do is motivated by feeling. Though there are very negative feelings, jealousy and revenge, for example, they are often balanced by positive feelings. Yet, a complete lack of feeling has been shown to be very harmful indeed.

2. It is only with awareness of and understanding the object ascertaining mental factors can one set the mind completely upon meditation of either sort and remove any obstacles. I am going to take shine meditation, during which our concentration is one-pointed and keeps the mind simple and peaceful. I believe they operate in this way:
a. aspiration: Why are we shine meditating? We are developing a path to liberation. We aspire to follow this path. The aspiration leads us to find a quiet place to sit and begin.
b. appreciation: At the moment we have a choice to sit and meditate, to do the dishes, to go for a walk, to watch television, to read....to do a hundred things. It is appreciation for what the shine meditation can do for us that encourages us to sit and meditate rather than choosing to do the dishes at that moment.
c. recollection: This is what causes us to return to meditation. Perhaps we have only done it once, but remember how we felt. We remember the peace and inspiration it gave us, so next time we are given time in which to do something we return to meditation.
d. concentration: We sit to meditate. What keeps us there? What focuses our mind to stay there instead of hopping up to do the dishes? Concentration fixes our mind and keeps it from wandering to those other things we could be doing, a conversation we had earlier, or even the sound of the rain outside our window. This, for me, is the most difficult part and one I have yet to master! However, without it, even if small at first, meditation would be impossible. Shine is one-pointed - it is all about concentration.
e. intelligence: "to examine the object's characteristics and determine its value" - only intelligence can trigger decision. Upon meditating we may have all the above, but without including intelligence there is nothing to keep us there. We would be unable to decide to meditate, to aspire toward the reasons for meditation, to appreciate the benefits, to recollect the meaning and method, or to understand exactly why we concentrate.


don't fear death
melissa muses (or maia, you choose)


wandering does not make you a "gypsy."
why would you call yourself
after those who have no home?
long skirts and hoop earrings
do not make you a "gypsy."
why do you call yourself after
those who have no clothes?

"gypsy" is pejorative. please don't perpetuate the stereotype. educate yourself on what it really means to be a "gypsy" in this world.

Who are the Roma?

Decade of Roma Inclusion

Dženo Association

European Roma Rights Centre

Roma Balkans

Roma National Congress

Romani World



Rroma Media Network

Soros Roma Initiatives

Studii Romani

The European Union and Roma

The Patrin Webjournal: Romani Culture and History

Voice of Roma
World Bank Roma Initiatives

Have a Happy Day! :)

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