William: When I passed through the excruciating pain point, I felt like a dead calm
——– Sharing on the 2-day retreat (2R5) from June 14th to 15th, 2014
0613 Preparative sessions：
Before the two evening sessions after checking in to the retreat, Teacher Jeremy askedus what the main purpose of this 2-day retreat is. I replied with guilty conscience, lacking of any confidence, “To get enlightened within the retreat period.” So,the teachersaw throughthisguilty conscience immediately,encouraged us further toincreaseeach student’s doubtin mind, and inspired our eagerness to find what our true nature is? With this attitude, heexpected us to clarify our goals of the 2-day retreat and face the practice in this 2-day training without wasting any time! And he said, “Just keep practicing in this way, and someday there will be an answer coming up naturally! “After these two sessions, he still reminded us to continue doubting even when we slept.
On the morning of the first day, I got up early and had full vitality, so I decided to practice in the classroom. In the first two sessions before breakfast, I doubted in an intense way and I could increase the feeling of doubt steadily. Although I could enter a more stable state faster, Teacher Linda still helped me to adjust my posture in the third sessions. And then she shouted at me, “ASK!! …What is no self..? Obviously there is an ‘I’, why not you ask?” After that, I was shocked that my doubt was fragmental, not lasting as a continuous stream at all. I was disturbed by the shouting, and then my doubt was interrupted. I had to pick it up and regenerated it again. Then the long-missing leg pain came back to me from the third session, and in the later part of this session, I began to struggle with my leg pain until I was anemic to handle it.
During the break, Teacher Linda reminded me, “You’ve paid too much attention to your body sensations and the surrounding again. If you always doubt in an intense way (in order to grab on your doubt), you will get tired easily, and then feel drowsy. You thought you were stable and concentrated, but you actually dwelled on drowsiness. Your doubt doesn’t always have to be so strong! Sometimes, it is just a subtle feeling, but the point is that you need to focus on doubting continuously. When your leg pain makes you tremble and sweat, right at this moment, you should ask, “Even my legs are so painful, how come there is no self?”…How come right at this moment, I am no self? …What is no self? … This is a truthful doubt on the real situation you face, and then continue to doubt!”
I practiced accordingly. When I swallowed my saliva, I doubted on it. And then I could feel my doubt increasing even more. When I got leg pain again, I also doubted on it truly and clearly. Suddenly I felt so strange; I obviously felt that there is an “I” suffering. How come my true nature is no self? …What is no self? I could strongly feel that…”How come there is no self?” …What is no self? …Suddenly I let go of the pain, all my attention was paid to my continuous doubt.
After lunch, Teacher Jeremy hoped everyone to be “down to earth” again, to be honest, and to be truthful to our doubts. That is because we do not know what no self is originally. He also said, “Stay here! Be on the ground! Just stay at this moment!…No matter what you encounter, face it right at the moment. Do not run away! Be brave. Do not run away! Where can you go? Let go the persistence to your bodies and do not overprotect yourselves. You should not be deceived by your bodies or disturbed by your postures.”
Facing such a serious and strict incentive, I had to “move my chess piece above”, focusing on my doubt even harder. It made me think of the last 3-day retreat, I reminded myself again, “When the pain comes, let the pain kill me! Let me stay here. I just wanted to know what no self is.”… So I dealt with my leg pain forthright. When the point of extreme pain came to me, I felt I was almost dead. At that moment I doubted on it. I passed through the excruciating pain point to the relatively stable state, and then I focused my attention on the doubt continuously. Sometimes when I was not mindful on my doubt and disturbed by my body or outside environment, and just right at this “one thought moment”, in a flash of thought, I fell from heaven to hell and suffered my leg pain again.
I was not sure whether the teacher noticed my body shaking, unstable, and sweating. Teacher Jeremy reminded us again, “If you lose you doubt, just regenerate it! Face it. Don’t run away! …” So I practiced doubting to and fro between heaven and hell till the evening. When I passed through the excruciating pain point, I felt my mind waslike a dead calm. But in reality, I just got a temporary relief from getting rid of thetangled pain. It was like that just taking a breath, swallowing saliva, or in a flash of thought, I was coming alive to the state that I wish I was dead. I instantly fell into hell and climbed back up again. I remembered it was only one session that I could meditate smoothly until the bell rang. My doubt kept going up and down, to and fro. I realized one thing and one thing only. Just face it bravely, dealt with it, and focus on the doubt continuously, I can get out of this tangle.
At last, Teacher Jeremy said, “The ‘I’ who decides not to be afraid, not to run away, and to face everything bravely at the moment is no self! That is no self!… So strange? Apparently there is an ‘I’ making a decision. There is an ‘I’ existing!! How come this ‘I’ is called ‘no self’?” Others are just … “I”?… but why can’t we perceive “no self”? Why does this seem different from what we knew before? But that’s it! It is called “no self”!
In the first two sessions before breakfast, I found my doubt became deeper. Teacher Jeremy reminded us, “You need to doubt attentively to reach ‘one mind’ state. At the same time, you should be able to observe and be aware of the most subtle unprecedented conflicts and contradiction that you have never seen!” But when I tried to follow the instruction, suddenly I found a few more fragments of delusion flashing in these two sessions. I truly wondered how so? …
While we were walking outdoors after breakfast, the teacher reminded us to discover our own meditative problems. If we have any questions, we should go ask them. So I asked Teacher Jeremy, “Why do we have to concentrate on doubting at this point, and we also need to be able to observe at the same time?.. Is this still focus on one point? It was difficult to understand.” Teacher Jeremy replied, “What is the main point? The main point is still “What is no self?” and you do not know what no self is. All external things are just interferences.” I seemed to understand a little bit at that moment and recalled that Teacher Linda once mentioned in class “focus continuously, and be conscious of everything.” But the point is still to focus on the doubting continuously. After the break, Teacher Jeremy continued to guide us, “Actually, it is impossible to control our mind. All you can do is focus on the method. All of the interferences are just interferences. You just don’t attach to anything around you and keep doubting!”
After continuing practicing according to the teacher’s guidance, I had more clear feelings of the doubt. I understood why we should practice in this way. Furthermore,I could focus on my doubt more clearly. The method is also more than aware of interferences. When my doubt was interrupted by something, I could take this interruption to be more aware of an “I”. If so, how come there is no self? What is no self? And then I could continue or even increase my doubt. On the other hand, when my doubt wasn’t interrupted by other things, I would just keep on doubting. When my doubt dropped, I just picked it up and kept concentrating on my doubt. When I met the pain point, I went through it again. With this attitude, my doubt will be really linked together.
Before the afternoon sessions, I knew that time was running out. I had to utilize the rest of the time and tried my best to doubt! Teacher Jeremy said, “Eventually, there will be nothing for you to depend on at the end of life. When there is nothing to depend on and to cling to. What is our true nature?” He hoped us to take off the words “what is no self?” and to try to doubt for nothing intently and continuously, and to see what would happen?
So I continued with the teacher’s guidance to deepen my practice. I almost didn’t explicitly ask the question this time. I only felt my doubt go deeper and strong whenever I came across anything. At the end of the first session in the afternoon, Teacher Jeremy pushed us and said, “At this moment! There is nothing to depend on. What did you see?” I asked myself intensely, “What? What? What on earth is it?” I was aware that my eyelids couldn’t stop twitching quickly all the time. I still wanted to know what it is. After a short break, I drank water quickly, and went back to my cushion as soon as possible. I couldn’t wait to find out the answer. Time was going to run out. I thought, “What is that? What is it in the end?”…Before the end of the last session, Teacher Jeremy still pushed us and said, “Say it! What is it in the end? What did you see in the end?!” I felt like it was the same as the final sprint. I kept asking, “What?! What is it in the end?!”, until the bell rang.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t see anything in the end! Finally, I felt the doubt seemed to spread to all over me. (But the teacher said I was actually confused in the end) The only thing I knew is that I still do not know what no self is. I doubted many subtle things. I doubted the whole life.
What influenced me the most in the 2-day retreat is that no matter what I encounter, I need to face it bravely. I shouldn’t be afraid or escape! I shouldn’t attach to my senses. Even if I was attached to my senses again, I should let it go. Just be focused on doubting, and understand that all of the interferences are just Interferences. I encouraged myself not to worry what will happen or what the situation I may encounter. The only thing I need to do is follow the method and move forward. With determination, I will be able to deal with the situation I will encounter in my practice in the future.****check more Student’s Sharing****