About Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani How “I” Became “No-one & No-thing”
“I” Am NOT “I Am.” “I” am “No-Self” “I am” the Experience of “Not-I Am”, Not-Two, No-Self, a Stream Entrant & Bodhisattva that is Not An “I” or “Thing”… it’s Only True Language is Silence…Everything and Nothing, the “via Negativa” method of analysis use by the Buddha is much more useful (All Analogies are inherently inaccurate, some are more useful than others) the method of “defining” by way of “defining” that which ‘It’ is Not” This, which has been pointed out by some great Expressions of the ‘Awakened Consciousness ,the mind in ignorance and attachment, conditioning ,Evolutionary Adaptations, perhaps, it is like a Boarder Collie, that is Hard-wired to Herd Sheep, the mind is wired to organize, to “make-sense” out that which it cannot actually do, it is like a complex algorithm, a computer Operating System, that turns “1’s and 0’s in to Anything and Everything” (Yet what you see on your computer is Not Real, if it was the Tsar of Russia, you would think…or not-so-much thing, in a conscious manner, but your inner “senses” know that “it makes no sense…this is a small ‘box’ or electrical engineered processors, it is simply an ‘Illusion’ OR false OR Imaginary representation of the Last Tsar: “it is not real.” The mind in it’s basic function (not just “Reptilian Brain” but the “Higher Cognitive Functions”) are doing something similar, more than “1’s & 0’s) and infinitely more depth and breadth,” by processing in an intricate, highly organized fashion… but none-the-less, the Tsar is Not Real, (Nor was “the original, actual person,” instead of Binary Coding, it is just the Five Skandhas / Khandhas in Pāli (literally: ‘five heaps” 1) Form, Corporality, Body, Physical, 2) is “Feeling” which can be bodily or emotional, but really, it’s the stumbles before the mind attaches “meaning” to it, and is of three kinds: attraction/pleassant, Aversion/Painful, or Neutral/Indifferent, 3) Perception, is the interpretation made by the one, or more of the 6 Sense Organs (Buddhism has Six Senses, nothing like ESP, but in addition to smell, taste, touch, sight, sound, is the sense of the ‘heart/mind’ or ‘mental impressions’ although also includes ‘feeling, in the emotional sense, not the “Feeling Skandha, or #2: of “I Like, I Don’t Like, I Don’t Care” 4) Mental Formations, or Volitions, the Pāli states there are 50, but as all enumerations are somewhat arbitrary (12 Nidanas could be made into 24, or 6, or 15, but the particulars are the kind of things that vary from School-to-School, and on the Full-Spectrum, with infinite possible enumerations, the significant aspect is the Volitional, some Skillful, some Unskillful, some “lofty” are the “Will/Volition and could be elaborated in for a log time, but this is just an outline) & 5) Consciousness group, is divided in 6-groups, one for each Sense organ…This is the Object of the Mind, the sound, is hear (sensed by the ear, the Hearing Consciousness corresponds to, so when you hear “the Statue of Liberty, the sense translates sonic vibrations into neuronal stimuli, and the brain, the Parietal Lobe, the memory slustor of Neurons ,and in youre mind you see the image of the Statue of Liberty…that Statue, is as Real as the Tsar, which is as Real as Me, and You!
This is what a Ego is created to identify with these 5 factors, constantly changing, flowing streams of dharmas, dhammas (Phenomenon) that coalesce into this “self”…. but in Five Skandhas, A Brain, Consciousness attempting to organize, Configure, Sort and Formulate Stimuli, But for the Organizing Stimuli, a “Point of Reference” is Established, it is Arbitrary and Not-Real, It is what “forms, from Formlessness” and in this “effort” to “Make-Sense” from that Which is One, The ILLUSION is this “Arbitrary”, False, “Point of Reference”, and “Audience for the Illusion” and the “Illusionist” are the Same. This “Benchmark” or “Point of Reference” Projects the “Formations” of Stimuli, onto the Illusion of “other”… The Ego is this Reference Point, and What is “Projected” is the SAME Stimuli, Organized for Interpretation, that which is Unconceivable, so in “Ignorance” and Attachment, The Self and Other Dichotomy is Created…Both Self and Other, are the Same, and the Perception or Conception of Self and Other are 2 Halves of One Illusion…ALL Are Preceded by Ignorance and Attachment, the 12 Nidanas, the “Tibetan or Buddhist Wheel of Life” are ALL Concepts, and All Inherently Not-True, The “Map is Not the Territory”…Some are More useful than others, and This Analogies, These Concepts , Or THESE words, this “Explanation is Not True…But these are the “Best Illusions, the Truth resonates with This. The Buddha is Purely and Simply (Not a Person) The Most Perfect of All Illusions. (In the true beginning of the “Enlightenment Process” one might imagine that moving closer to Nirvana, the Experience might be life “The differences between this 5 Skandhas, No-Self See the “narrowing of distance” from “this place of Transcendental Insight” (not a Person or a PLace), to that place of Supreme Enlightenment (Again, No Person, NO Place) It is the “point” at which Vision Clarifies ,and “seeing” What “I” am (No-Self) and “where ‘I’ am” on the Path (No Path…Any/All Concept, that one sets too much meaning, or Reality, in or upon, the more Useless it is. Handle It Like the Most Precious ofFlowers, Grasp It Tightly, and it is Destroyed, and Useless, Keep Grasping, and it is No longer a “Tool”…it is a “Hinderance”
“I” Do Not Exist…who is typing “I do not exist”? and who is reading it?
“I am” ŚUNYATA, “Emptiness,” “The Primal Void.” I am Everything and I am No-thing. “I” am ”You”, and “You” are “Me”. I am in every aspect of the Universe, and the Universe is in every aspect of me. Quite Literally, There is No “I”… No Independent, Intrinsic, Separate ‘Self’, I am, as you are (but after 20 years of setting up the “fertile conditions”, and years or chipping away and the ossified structure/concept of Me… that “Me” died 2 years ago, the One Real Bodhicitta Arose, the ego vanished, (It Completely Vaporized, no thoughts, no words, no me, no things, no thing, no-thing, nothing, Empty, Empty of Independent “Self” is FULL of Non-Conditioed, this Emptiness is Fully of Everything, ..but, when i say everything, the mind produces a flood of “rings” sounds, ideas, feelings, images, stars and collar systems, big and small, but that is Duality ,that is Something, thus the Negativa, the Nothing, Emptiness, and Clearly (it cannot be conveyed, it can only be experienced directly)…it does not matter if I am the greatest write, it cannot be conveyed, the mind has no “store house” for concept-less experiences.
So, why bother trying? That’s what the clear sense was..do not try, nothing to convey, nothing to add to, or remove from. It is PERFECT! It is Perfect, although, back into a time and dualistic explanation, for several Months, that was the Non-Dual Abiding Consciousness. But Karma-Vipaka, and events unfolded which made it clear: Insight is Only the Beginning!” The Vision is Here and Now, but so many, many, MANY previous Karmic and conditioning was established, the brain still, although free in many ways, and would not sleep or get tired for about 4 or 5 months (literally, no hyperbole). I then delve into intensive work, and realized “Childhood Traumas” were affecting my actions, I was FAR FROM FREE, Just Intensely Aware. The once Rock Solid Ego, has begun DISSOLUTION, with Transcendental Insight, I experienced “Emptiness of Absolute Reality, Non-Duality, these 5 Skandhas that = Me. I have been Integrating and Assimilating…learning how talk and what words mean, and Everything and Anything Possible, I don’t Know Anything, other than This Experience, This experience is now…
The continual Now, (Flow, Samadhi, Complete Absorption, in the what may appear as a minute detail, is Exploding with EVERYTHING, with No-thing, Emptiness, the Primal Void is EMPTY OF Self & Other, of Subjective-Objective Dichotomy and that sums it up! Pure Awareness. PURE-CONSCIOUSNESS!! A “Living Bodhisattva” (which is Not I, not a Person, It is Activity Expressed, a Spontaneous, Effortless, Flowing Activity Absent is a Person, This is the SAME as a Stream-Entrant (Another Way of Describing the Same Event, Activity…The Different Schools of Buddhism are Describing the SAME “Thing” a Non-Thing…No-Self, Now-Dual Awareness, This is the Experience, different “Schools of Buddhism” developed in response to Emphasizing certain Facets of One Diamond! I was Trained in Ecumenical Buddhism, Emphasizing the Unity, Commonality of the Various Schools, Since The Moment I died, and Began This Experience of Egoless-ness Activity, I went Back to the Suttas, Sutras and Tantras, to see what was “Correct” and Now KNOW they are All The Same, in Essence, they Emphasize Aspects of the Experience (Breaking the first Three FETTERS to Enlightenment, Arising of Absolute Bodhicitta, Insight into the True Nature of Reality, Knowledge & Wisdom of Things As They Really Are” All Fit Perfectly, Describe the Experience Perfectly, The Pali Canon, Soto Zen Shunyata, Śūnyartā, Vipassana, Dzogchen, Mahamudra: “Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness,” the Ariya Puggala, The Bhumis…(NOT 10th Bhumi, Not a Non-Returner, Not SATORI (I WILL WILL TALK WITH MORE Chan, Zen, Thien, Kuan Etc (I read the books, I understand the DT Suzuki, Suzuki roshi, When I talk with a Awakened Master, then I can say something (That is Neither Here, Nor there) The Point is THIS IS NOT NIRVANA, NOT NIBANNA, NOT BODHI, Not Extinguishing Attachments, NOT Purification of All Karma, Nor Perfection of Wisdom, Perfect-Vision, Not Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi…VERY FAR FROM, NOT THE END…The Beginning of The End, Effective Going for Refuge is now REAL Going for Refuge,
[Sorry for the Chaotic State…from the Time this Blog was Started, to six months ago, 3 months ago, 1 month, 3 weeks, 1 week, 3 days, yesterday, earlier Today…NOW (Three Months is more LIVING than I did the 3 years prod. I am engaged with life, 16 hours per day, a least, or pure ,focused, effortless-effort, Action, Skillful Means, So this “About Me, which I do not blog a lot anymore, I talk, or email those too far way, but this was a way to reach people (I explain why I “came out of the spiritual closet” later in, and elsewhere, but the overwhelming outpour of Skillful Energy, and (yes, the ego can come and go, sometimes more pronounced, but it is quite literally: “A Shadow of its formal “Self”…Actions Speak Louder than Words, and if it is words, Mostly it with another whole, heal;thy, genuine, honest, openminded/hearted human being, and we connect6 profoundly, and the activity is…I would not be ANYWHERE, or “ANYONE” in Time odr Space, other than Here, Now, “Me”…NoSelf is not an annihilation, it’s Assimilation, Integration, and Synergistic. I am “No-Self” and more of a laughing, loving, personable, interesting, clear ,radiant Heart/Mind….the “personality” of No-Self is far MORE Charismatic, more of a spontaneous, flowing “being” than ten thousand versions of “me” when I was a ME! It is Not Self-Annihilation, it’s Full-On-Being-All. (period) [This was updated, up tp this point, on oct 15, 1013. I am not updating anymore. If you want to chat por anything, leave a reply, I am on Twitter @GharmamitraJeff, and Facebook and Google Plus at Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani
I have been a full-time “Spiritual Seeker” for ≈ 21 years, and found the Buddha-Dharma over 16 years ago, in Missoula, Montana. Since then I spent several years living in semi-monastic community for men working towards Ordination in the Western Buddhist Order/Triratna Buddhist Order, and the supporting communities. I worked for several years in Team-Based Right-Livelihood Businesses, and basically would eat, sleep, drink and study the Dharma and practice meditation; spending a couple of months per year on retreat.
I am more of a meditative yogi than a Dharma Scholar. Although i am a very qualified Buddhist Teacher, my talents in meditative states of absorption is where I really began to see my practice “take-off!”
Almost two years ago, exactly, I experienced Stream Entry/Stream Winning/Arya Puggala/ Broke the first 3 Fetters to Enlightenment/Experienced Real Insight into the True Nature of Reality/Experienced Emptiness, or Śunyata/Emptiness, Became, quite literally/technically, “a modern-day, living Bodhisattva.” This event is the main impetus behind all of my teachings, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Insight Attained is the impetus behind my Life’s Work, and is discussed at length here-in. My reasons for sharing this event are to “share the good news” with others, that Real Awakenings DO, in fact, occur, and you don’t have to be a Monk or Lama, Tulku, Dharma Heir, or Bhikkhu, Bhikshuni, or Zen lineage holder to Live/Experience or Attain (There are 2 Major points marked-off on the Path to Nirvana, One is Attaining Supreme Enlightenment, Nirvana/Nibbana, and the Other is Stream Entry (The point at which regressing is not possible, the “weight has been shifted” the Tipping-Point, the Critical Mass Achieved and so, with it comes these esoteric experiences, Transcendental insight, and all of these names and analogies for it. (I LIVED in Spiritual Community for many years, and dedicated my life to This Path, but on some level, I never actually believed that:”I” would experience it, and that’s partially because A) “I” Didn’t. B) “I” experienced the state the moment that: “I” ceased to exist.) The Path to Nirvana, that the experience described in the Suttas and Sutras is quite literal, It IS the Point of No Return, i that, it is Not like coming off a long retreat where the Experience slowly “wears off.” It alters one’s whole experience, and does not go away. The concept of a Critical Mass being overcome, of a Tipping Point being achieved is Totally accrete. “I” ceased to exist that day, and although I can still operate in this Dream, or Play this GAME as If it were “real/substantial,” the Truth is that THIS is an Experienced Not to be missed, and that I was Only able to attain it after finding one who had attained it, and taking pointers from him.
Now I am here to offer pointers to those that seek. Which brings me to the second reason I have “come out of the Bodhisattva Closet” is because of what I learned in 12-step recovery, that we don’t announce our annual sobriety anniversaries because we want to say: “Hey! Look at how Great I am!” No. The opposite is true, I never liked doing it, but my sponsor told me that I don’t do it for myself, I do it, out of gratitude for the Life I have been given, and mainly: TO SHOW OTHERS/NEWER PEOPLE THAT THIS REALLY DOES WORK!! So, after Waking Up to Realize that “I” Do Not Exist; “I” did not choose to make this BOLD Move and Statements (it is considered by many to be rather “TABOO” to talk about one’s own Spiritual Attainments, and I have felt that way, and was that way, and “I” still am THAT WAY.) But “I” ceased to exist at the end of 2011, and several month later, I realized what had actually occurred, and that it wasn’t something that was going to fade away, and that the Best THING “I” can do is Help Other to attain Stream Entry, because with it, with the Breaking of the First Three Fetters: 1) A belief in a separate Self, 2) Doubt, or lake of perfect Confidence/Faith, or Shradha ,Saddha in the TRUTH of the Buddha, the Dharma/Dhamma, and the Sangha, in particular the Arya, Ariya Sangha, which Stream Entry Marks as the entry point of the Arya , Ariya Sangha (or Community of Exalted Ones/Highest Community; consisting of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that have ever been, including the Historical Buddha and his Enlightened Disciples, or Arhats. 3) The loss of Attachments to any Religious Rites or Rituals (which isn’t as obvious, at first, as the other two fetters broken, but it is also what has allowed me to “Come Out of The Spiritual Closet” and Be Free and honest about this experience.)
As I said, my greatest impetus in doing this is to help those that are on The Path, especially those on the Buddha’s Noble Eight-fold Path, and have Realized for myself the benefit of attaining Stream Entry with the aid of one that had done so already, I KNOW that the advantages of this are HIUGE (The SAME Reason why the Buddha was able to guide SO MANY to become Arhats, or Enter Nirvana,or Nibbana, or Total Enlightenment AKA Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi – Supreme, unexcelled, perfect and equal enlightenment. The perfect wisdom which comprehends truth that is attained only by a Buddha, in contrast to the different grades of enlightenment attained by Bodhisattvas and Arhats in Sanskrit and Arahants in Pali. So that is why I am here, to help guide “YOU” in for a “Safe Landing” (Or “Safe Take-off” is probably a better metaphor.)
So feel free to use me like a step ladder; that is what ALL THIS IS ABOUT. The Other Great Realization that came with Stream Entry was/is the Realization (quite literally) like this: “Oh man! Are you Fricking Kidding Me?!?! THIS…THIS is What “IT” IS?! I’ve been bumping noses with this All-Along!” I couldn’t fathom just how Incredibly “simple” and in some ways: “the MOST Obvious “Thing” in the whole World! It’s been HERE ALL Along! I was SO CLOSE this Whole Time! (And since my “Coming Out or the Stream Entrant Closet” I have met Others who have experienced/continue to experience this reality, and they both said the EXACT Same thing: I Couldn’t Believe how CLOSE this has been the whole time! That’s It?! YES, THAT IS IT! Simultaneously the Most Profound and the Simplest thing I’ve ever experienced. It sounds pparadocical, and it is. If it doesn’t seem so, then you’re already familiar, or you’re not getting the message at all, most likely. It is Impossible to relate. The Law of Phsycis that govern this world are obsolete, language, Duality, Self-Other, Haves, Have Not…every method of conceptualizing in this Form Realm, or Rupa Kaya, are useless. Silence is the Only Language. But, these concepts are not radical, in a sense. Astrophysicist try to trace back to the Big bang, but all law of physics are nullified the closer to the event they try to get (which is close, but at a point, and this is similar, all that rules and regulates this world is nullified.
As the Buddhist story goes, it is like tadpoles asking a frog what life is like on land? Is it this? No. Is it that? No.
The Buddha explained it well. As best as could be, which is what is called “via negativa” I can’t say what it is, but I can can say what it is not.
Any concept is useless, but sometimes analogies and stories can help.
“I” have Experienced that what I call “me” is not Anything Real, but a constant Fluctuation of Impermanent, Flowing Phenomena….
It’s all just Smoke and Mirrors, a illusion to give the appearance of separateness.
I get into details in the blog, explaining as best as possible (which improves with practice) how No-Self can/would write and use innumerable personal pronouns, i.e.I, me, my, we, you, they, etc.
It does seem paradoxical, but, there is various ways to try to explain ,all of which are limited, all of which aren’t truly understood until the reader has had the same Insight.
I also get into explaining why there is no real differnce, not ultimately, between this school, and that school. I have read and studied, practiced Mahamudra, Dzogchen, and Soto Zen, and felt little to no resonance with the Theravada Orders that I had experience with.
After Awakening to No-Self, I have revisited many Suttas, Sutras, and Tantras, and now see clearly how each is desribing th exact same experience, only with various cultural and temporal, semantic variations, and how the old debate of the Arahant, Arhat as “seeking Enlightenment for selfish reasons” as proliferated historically with the view that Mahayana Bodhisattva Ideal is more Noble, for it “for the same of all beings” is ABSURD!
I KNOW that it is literally an impossible incongruity, all that follow the Noble 8-Fold Path, will follow just as the Buddha has outlined, and the Wrong-View, or the Illusion of Self is a natural by-product of the Essence of the Dharma, Dhamma, that leads from Samsara to Bodhi, and as one approaches Bodhi, the arising of Insight makes it impossible to hold the deluded view of separateness, and all who follow, who set the condition, the Law of Pratityasamutpada, Dependent Origination, or Conditioned Co-production, is Essence of All the Buddha Dharma, it is much like mathematics than any fluffy metaphysics. This arises dependent upon those conditions, cease those conditions, and the this ceases to arise. It is the foundation of karma, of The Four Noble Truths, it is was the “epiphany moment” of the Buddha’s Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi – Supreme Enlightenment.
No matter where in space or time one follows the Path, the law of dependent origination applies, just like math (only a very complex algorithm) 1+1=2, it’s an Absolute, not relative Truth. The same with the path to Awakening, and anyone that arrives at the Insight of Reality, the Transcending self to “No-Self” is also mathematical: 2 ÷ 0 = 0 No-Self, Emptiness, is 0, and applies the same. The reality of No-Self doesn’t just mean that there is no true “me” but also no true You, or computer, or, anything [insert the body of the Heart Sutra Here] the body of the Heart Sutra makes perfect sense, the preamble of the great Bodhisattva, Teaching the Buddha’s ‘greatest’ Disciple, was NOT written by the same “person” that wrote the body: Form is emptiness, emptiness is form…. That Wisdom Could Not then flip to a completely Dualistic, egoic perspective and condescend, which is obly possible from a dualistic, self and other belief, which is the Antithesis of what the Heart Sutra conveys perfectly.
I was taught my great Buddhist the history or how and why the schism formed (Basically it has do with linguistic semantics, the Pali language is very different in syntax, and grammar, and simply was misunderstood by later Buddhist, using Sanskrit, (So often the Pali Canon is translated as “Where in your mind does…” There is no “your” in the Pali, that’s added by translators to help make it understandable, and yet, reinterpreting the Enlightened teaching from the Mundana mind is fairly common, not just in various Buddhist translations, but the Pali Canon, has been also fairly well established from linguistic historians that things were added and removed. It did take several 100 years to go from the Buddha’s words, to the Pali Canon. Not that that should discredit all of the Dharma, but it does explain, certainly to me, how different people following the same path formed so many schisms, and also added animosity. THESE attributes are Not the Dharma. So, how is one to know what is the True Dharma and What is Not? As the Buddha advised in the Kalama Sutta, not to take the word of others, not to take ANYTHING on ANY sort of Blind Faith.
I certainly cannot convince anyone of anything. But I may be able to help us keep an open mind, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, the options are few fpor the Expert, but many for the beginner, this is the essence of Zen Mind, Beginners Mind.
The second Fetter is “Skeptical Doubt” and once broken, the direct absolute confidence int the Buddha-Dharma is the result. This is one wat of explaining how to be able to read through Buddhist Scriptures and KNOW what is True Dharma, and What is Not.
So, Don’t take my word for it, practice, use the tools, whatever form of Buddhism feels right, they all have the 4 Nobel Truths, The Noble 8-Fold Path, Ethics, meditation and wisdom (The 3-Fold Path) as well as various other Spiritual Faculties. Practice like your hair is on fire, set the conditions for the fruition of Insight, then you will Know.
🙂 😉 Thank You, TRULY for taking the time to get to know me, a little. And Always: With MINDFULNESS, STRIVE ON!!
- Welcome to Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani’s Video Blog 11/16/2012 (dhamamitra.org)
- Everyday Enlightenments – Satori: Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani’s Video Blog 21 Nov. 2012 (buddhistinsight.com)
- Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani’s Vlog #10: When the Student is Ready-The Teacher Will Appear (buddhistinsight.com)
- Buddhist Right Livelihood: Money, Jobs and The Dharma: How do we Integrate All ASpects of Life (buddhistinsight.com)
- MIND The GAP: Mindfulness, Meditation & Buddhist Path From Vision to Transformation, Video Blog (buddhistinsight.com)
- How The “True Buddha Dharma” is as Simple as it gets! (buddhistinsight.com)
- 2556 Buddhist Era or 2013 Common Era Both are ‘Equally Arbitrary’ (buddhistinsight.com)
- There Are No Enlightened People, There Is Only Enlightened Activity (buddhistinsight.com)
- MIND The GAP: Mindfulness, Meditation & Buddhist Path From Vision to Transformation, Video Blog (dharmamitra.org)
- Lewis Richmond: Is Meditation Narcissistic? (huffingtonpost.com)