Freeman shows off his Buddhist side

Bobbie would be the better one to untangle the threads of Richard Freeman’s latest “Ask the Experts”, but I think she’s down the rabbit hole of some other writing, so I will have to try. (Think more Jon Stewart’s Moment of Zen than the Dalai Lama’s.)

Here’s Freeman (I usually try to give just a part of it, to encourage your heading to his site, but this one is hard to disentangle — see the above):

What’s the best way to dis-entangle bodily sensation from the consciousness aspect of prana-shakti — in order to avoid becoming egoically identified with the physical and/or subtle body?

– Beth

If you look at bodily sensation as being composed of separate, individual segments and things, then the vijnana will create images and stories about those bodily sensations and in that creation it is creating a theoretical observer (the ego) who is attracted to or repulsed by those sensations. This leads to identification with the body, which is a miserable state founded in confusion.

The proper practice is to watch the sensations arise and fall and to watch any tendency to wander away from those sensations in thinking. Some schools would say that bodily sensation is empty of self. Other schools would say that bodily sensation is prana, which is shakti, which is empty.

– Richard

That emphasis on “watching” is why I suggest that Richard is showing off his Buddhist side; of course, there must be some irony to “showing off” a Buddhist nature. (There’s also some irony to this feature being “Ask the Experts” for similar reasons.)

As I roll his answer around a bit, I’m finding a couple of paths out of it. One is the “simple” Buddhist line I suggest in the above paragraph: If you just watch what’s happening, you won’t get attached. (Sounds similar to Krishna’s entreaties to act without concerns for the results.) Then there’s another, which describes bodily sensation as not something from which one need not be disentangled. If it is empty of self or is prana, then what is there to avoid?

The stumbling point, the potential trouble, isn’t with the body. It’s with whatever is thinking it needs to avoid becoming entangled with the body.

Richard may have slyly answered the confusion behind the question. Maybe?

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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