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"In the seen will be merely what is seen”

I’ve red this http://theeyeofdhamma.blogspot.com/2013/10/ditte-ditta-mattan-bhavissathi.html?m=1

I’m still not sure how I should apply & practice this in real life?

For an example, if I see some delicious food, instantly, craving naturally occurs and think “that looks yum”.

After that, with a tiny force, I think that, this is how my mind is trying to objectify the feeling and remind the example given on above post:

An example given is the image (or shadow) falling on water when one looks into a pond. We cannot interact with this image by touching or smelling and it appears when we look into the water and disappears when we move away. If we try to touch it we can feel the water but not the image.”

I’m really confused how to put this in daily life. Really appreciate if anyone could guide me..

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This topic is famously developed in Vajrayana's highest tantras such as Mahamudra and Dzogchen.

The point is to shift the focus of experience from the samsaric mind with its constant judgement of things in relation to ego and the values ego identifies with, e.g. "is this useful to me or worthless", "is this cool enough for me or too basic", "will this make me dirty in any sense", "is this spiritual or lowly material", "is this democratic", "is this stylish" and so infinitely on -- and towards experiencing the authentic quality of things on their terms, as they are.

So instead of "look at this beautiful sunset" - you just look, you truly look and see it all, without bringing your preconceived ideas and simplistic concepts such as "beautiful". Instead of judging a person as primitive or advanced (substitute any other category) you take them as a little mystery they are just like each of us.

You get the point, to see things as they are is to stop overgeneralizing our experience by limiting it to projection of what we know. It means to look with our eyes, not with our brains. It means to see the new and unknown, the unspoken, the inexpressible - instead of only seeing our own thoughts.

Samsara is a subjective realm made of our thinking. We feed and maintain it by dwelling on samsaric thought patterns, which can all be summarized as instances of generalization, stereotyping, and reification. We feed these by replaying them over and over in our thoughts. The practice of seeing things as they are is unmaking this cyclic feeding/sustenance and breaking through to the actual reality beyond our bubble.

When we do this we discover that reality has an extra dimension we never saw. Seeing this extra dimension requires allowing ourselves ambiguity of interpretation. Going beyond the stable ground of habitual interpretation allows us to walk that extra dimension. This is the freedom the Buddha has taught.

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  • Your answers are very liberating. (I’m mindful that I’m somewhat judging there as well). Took me a while to reflect on this answer. Could I please know what kind of meditation or any other practices you do?
    – Explorer
    May 26 at 21:17
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    Thank you. I started with Buddhism ~25 years ago. For decades I used to practice radical self-denying Mahamudra in Chogyam Trungpa's style. Then I did two years of regular Korean Seon (Zen) meditation. These days I don't practice anything other than atammayata which is essentially the practice we were talking about ^
    – Andrei Volkov
    May 26 at 21:49
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The Blessed One said: "There is the case, monks, where an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — perceives earth as earth. Perceiving earth as earth, he conceives [things] about earth, he conceives [things] in earth, he conceives [things] coming out of earth, he conceives earth as 'mine,' he delights in earth. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you.

"He perceives water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind ... beings as beings... gods as gods...Pajapati as Pajapati...Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Conqueror as the Conqueror ... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception ... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized ... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity ... the All as the All
MN1

There dots mean repetition of the formulae where one conceives of things about this or that present quality due to not having comprehended.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
SN 35.23

When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.
Ud 1.10

You shouldn't chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there. Not taken in, unshaken, that's how you develop the heart.
MN 131

"Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, perception is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Is feeling permanent or impermanent?...

"Is perception permanent or impermanent?...

"Are determinations permanent or impermanent?...

"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?" — "Painful, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Any kind of feeling whatever...

"Any kind of perception whatever...

"Any kind of determination whatever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"
SN 22.59

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Ven. Malunkyaputta elucidates the meaning of this phrase in SN 35.95 .

"I understand in detail, lord, the meaning of what the Blessed One has said in brief:

Seeing a form — mindfulness lapsed — attending to the theme of 'endearing,' impassioned in mind, one feels and remains fastened there. One's feelings, born of the form, grow numerous, Greed & annoyance injure one's mind. Thus amassing stress, one is said to be far from Unbinding.

Hearing a sound... Smelling an aroma... Tasting a flavor... Touching a tactile sensation...

Knowing an idea — mindfulness lapsed — attending to the theme of 'endearing,' impassioned in mind, one feels and remains fastened there. One's feelings, born of the idea, grow numerous, Greed & annoyance injure one's mind. Thus amassing stress, one is said to be far from Unbinding.

Not impassioned with forms — seeing a form with mindfulness firm — dispassioned in mind, one knows and doesn't remain fastened there. While one is seeing a form — and even experiencing feeling — it falls away and doesn't accumulate. Thus one fares mindfully. Thus not amassing stress, one is said to be in the presence of Unbinding.

Not impassioned with sounds... Not impassioned with aromas... Not impassioned with flavors... Not impassioned with tactile sensations...

Not impassioned with ideas — knowing an idea with mindfulness firm — dispassioned in mind, one knows and doesn't remain fastened there. While one is knowing an idea — and even experiencing feeling — it falls away and doesn't accumulate. Thus one fares mindfully. Thus not amassing stress, one is said to be in the presence of Unbinding. "It's in this way, lord, that I understand in detail the meaning of what the Blessed One said in brief."
SN 35.95

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What that passage means is don't add stories, filters, deluded perceptions to your raw sensory experience every moment. In other words, try to do the opposite of what deluded unenlightened beings do all the time.

In your example of pursuing food, the extra baggage being added, the stories, desire, plans to engage with more delicious food in the future, recollections about bad experiences of food, all just amount to unnecessary waste of energy and suffering.

Something more in line with Dharma, would be to see that your time on Earth is short, eating is a medicine we have to take everyday, and to take in enough nutrients to keep our body functioning properly so we can do our spiritual practice to end suffering.

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  • Thanks so much for this answer. It helped me understand the 1st answer better. This means we need to keep close attention momentarily. I started using labelling to keep up with that. Any techniques you recommend?
    – Explorer
    May 26 at 21:21
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    Nothing I can summarize in a tiny comment box :) Any number of popular meditation methods in the suttas will work, more important is to develop commitment and lifelong practice, every moment. Any audio talks and writings from thanissaro Bhikkhu will give you a great foundation: archive.org/details/Ven.ThanissaroEssaysAndTalksOnSamadhi
    – frankk
    May 27 at 15:44

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