Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Impermanence, Memory, and Knowing

JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
edited April 2015 in Meditation

If I have a memory then how is that 'knowing' impermanent. I remember things from 20 years ago. If they are gone how come they can manifest here in my memory? I guess it is like how can I look at a painting I did 20 years ago right? But it might be an interesting question that others might have thoughts about. It's more to it than just a painting because a painting is just like this physical thing but a memory can be quite extensive. It is similar to things you never notice are amazing such as how you can speak and comprehend language.

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Memory is an interesting thing @Jeffrey.

    I told my wife once that she was just a concept but she said that wasn't true. She is her memories.

    DhammaDragon
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    An interesting set of concepts placed in juxtaposition @Jeffrey...

  • howhow Veteran

    @Jeffrey
    Not sure if I am understanding your viewpoint.

    Are not all memory's of any event once shared by different folks, experienced and recalled differently from each other? What about how all those memories for one individual change over time. Few things demonstrate the etherial nature of memory as convincingly as seeing how impermanence of our own knowing of anything is..

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2015

    @how yes memory is personal and the register of memory is not the same each time recalled as in it is impermenant. i was interested that something from the past was 'gone' for so long and all the sudden the memory appears. like you do a google search and something appears that you had not been thinking of for a long time that linked in to something from your past. it is totally gone for days or hours or years. and then it comes right back. like you had a hobby and haven't done it for years and then the interest is back. at the same time it changes. i haven't played an actual game of tennis in maybe 15 years and one day I decided to hit serves for fun. i went out on the court and i couldn't toss the ball straight up anymore **! at the same time a different time i was with my cousin and her husband and we passed time shooting baskets at their hoop. it was amazing i hadn't played in maybe 10 plus years and I could still sort of put my mind in 'the zone' and make a pretty decent amount of shots.

    ** was it my body that couldn't toss the ball up anymore? my mind? both?

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Maybe our body / muscle memory has its own preferences?

  • howhow Veteran

    @Jeffery
    It does seem that with time, meditation releases the memory's of whatever one has **ever **hung onto or pushed away to be re experienced again from the meditative perspective and that those memories do feel like they were all held in various different locations throughout ones body.

    ElizlobsterHamsaka
  • @Jeffrey said:
    If I have a memory then how is that 'knowing' impermanent. I remember things from 20 years ago. If they are gone how come they can manifest here in my memory? I guess it is like how can I look at a painting I did 20 years ago right? But it might be an interesting question that others might have thoughts about. It's more to it than just a painting because a painting is just like this physical thing but a memory can be quite extensive. It is similar to things you never notice are amazing such as how you can speak and comprehend language.

    Memories are impermanent and also unreliable.

    “What I love about the study is how it communicates something that memory-distortion researchers have suspected for some time, that perhaps no one is immune to memory distortion,” said Patihis.

    http://science.time.com/2013/11/19/remember-that-no-you-dont-study-shows-false-memories-afflict-us-all/

  • What's interesting to me is not saying it is changing or in flux. What is interesting is something out of the past manifests in me or my senses. It doesn't matter if it is less than accurate, fleeting, and unreliable. What I am finding interesting is just that in the notion of time something from the past all the sudden 'pops up' in the present.

    Hamsaka
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I get old memories "bubbling up" from the depths in meditation sometimes.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I get old memories "bubbling up" from the depths in meditation sometimes.

    Yes, exactly.....but the thing with me and this mindfulness / meditation thing, is that I'm looking at these arisings in an 'improved' way, IYKWIM.

    Incidentally, I don't think it's helpful, in a manner of speaking, to contend that our memories are unreliable...we need to be able to trust our own minds / emotions / and just perhaps it's important to remember the 'flavor' of the memories. And yeah, memories are impermanent because WE are impermanent, but some claim we go on, in some way, but no one knows for sure what it's all about.

    Jeffrey
  • howhow Veteran
    edited April 2015

    @silver
    Are you sure of what you think you need to trust?

    I think we only need to trust that our minds and emotions, like our memories , to be no more, no less, than just more phenomena passing by.
    &

    we need only trust our memories to be as unbiased as our attachments will allow.

    So... either we develop the clarity to see them for what they are through some transcendence of our own attachments or we will continue to sit within the ego's theater, only able to see the reruns of whatever has made it beyond it's editing department.

    lobster
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @how:

    Pretty sure. Buddha became and was enlightened, but that didn't preclude him from making full use of his intellectual prowess and memories etc. I do think mind gets a bad rap from not being fully understood. I think there's a surprisingly large amount of superstition (I like to say stupidstition) only because there's no scientific way to put a bead on what exactly is or are, our minds and there's just way too much conjecture about what mind actually is. I think it encompasses a whole lot more than what we think it does. It's not our brain, the brain is the physical part.

    I saw Buddha deal with all sorts of people and literally brought them to their knees via his intellect in discussing the problems with them. One is forced to use their intellect when it comes to speaking or writing.

  • There is some interesting discourse about finding what the mind is directly in the stories of Milarepa and a shepherd boy who became his disciple.

    http://madhyamavani.fwbo.org/3/mind.html

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    I like the quote (I think it originated with Alan watts, but am not certain) that to remember something is just to regurgitate an undigested experience...

    So if you live and digest all the moments in your life, you won't have a belly ache at the end...

    ...\lol/...

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    There is some interesting discourse about finding what the mind is directly in the stories of Milarepa and a shepherd boy who became his disciple.

    http://madhyamavani.fwbo.org/3/mind.html

    I've read about 2/3rds of it (it's pretty long!) and the interactions and the stories help demonstrate that no matter what the mind is -- we have to find out this kind of stuff for ourselves, but we have to do it - or not. And from my vantage anyway, no one else can tell anybody what mind is - or memory.

    Btw, there are lots of clever turns of phrase, but it still can't prove anything about mind or memory or anything else for that matter. And once again - there are lies, damn lies and statistics. Science, too, has its pet anecdotes.

  • Yeah I just read the story and part of the interpretation. I do think that they didn't have 'the right answer'. The point is that you have to have a whole lot going for you to actually break through to understanding. For me when I read the words I get a vibe but then it doesn't help me understanding anymore on the cushion or in daily mindfulness.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 2015

    @how said:

    I think we only need to trust that our minds and emotions, like our memories, to be no more, no less, than just more phenomena passing by.
    &

    we need only trust our memories to be as unbiased as our attachments will allow.

    Indeed.
    I feel @federica has said much the same. Perhaps with a different psychological emphasis.

    Existing exclusively in 'The Now', means largely transcending the past and future. I am aware that memories or dreams of future potential are just interpretations of processing.

    Interpreting rather than allowing, is part of interfering with mindfulness that @how mentions a lot, if my memory serves me well ... ;)

    Even living in the present moment if predominantly dominated by judgement, the search for meaning, a strong sense of opinionated preferences etc is nothing more than an edifice of personal ignorance ...

    how
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @lobster said:Existing exclusively in 'The Now', means largely transcending the past and future. I am aware that memories or dreams of future potential are just interpretations of processing. Interpreting rather than allowing, is part of interfering with mindfulness that @how mentions a lot, if my memory serves me well ... ;)Even living in the present moment if predominantly dominated by judgement, the search for meaning, a strong sense of opinionated preferences etc is nothing more than an edifice of personal ignorance ...

    That interpretations of processing - s'good. Interpreting rather than allowing - another goody.

    But...doesn't all the rest of that stuff you mentioned in the last paragraph happen anyway, even for those who are seasoned in mindfulness, meditation, etc.? Does one live life on auto-pilot then? I wouldn't know - I'm not as good as ye!
    ;)

  • @silver the middle way does not vanquish the past or capacity for conjecture. <3

    Meditation and mindfulness lessens the dependence or importance of a self that misses the present experience because it monkeys around with intellect, delusionary imaginings, emotional conflicts, body and brain highs, lows and bland unfeeling states etc.

    We are not becoming Buddha the Zombie. We are becoming Buddha the Unborn.

    silver
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited April 2015

    You can’t say it’s the mind I experience in the present that goes for Refuge, because that’s gone in a split second. And obviously it’s not the past mind that does it either, because that went some time ago. And you can’t say it’s the future mind, because that doesn’t exist yet. Yet you can’t say it’s all of these either, because it’s not as though they fit together in a seamless continuity. That isn’t my experience either. o, dear Milarepa, what actually goes on? Please teach me how to realise the nature of my mind — I’m amazed and baffled at what I have discovered!’

    http://madhyamavani.fwbo.org/3/mind.html

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

    "Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: are memories 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."

    "So, bhikkhus any kind of memories 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.'

    "Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in memories.

    "When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.nymo.html

    Regards

    lobstermmo
  • @pegembara said:
    'So, bhikkhus any kind of memories 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.'

    Many thanks @pegembara. He sure was hardcore that reported Tathagata l wonder if he had off days? :3

    pegembarammo
  • GuiGui Veteran

    Memories are wonderful as long as you realize they are never what actually happened. =)

    lobsterpegembaradantepwmmo
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Gui said:
    Memories are wonderful as long as you realize they are never what actually happened. =)

    That's what I said....

  • howhow Veteran

    @Federica

    Are you sure it was not just what you were mistakenly thinking that someone else was not saying?

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I know what I think I said I thought, but I said what I was thinking everyone else was thinking they said, and thought they said it well, by thinking it....

    dantepwhow
  • @Gui said:
    Memories are wonderful as long as you realize they are never what actually happened. =)

    Good point.

    Consider also that if you remove the light, we are in the dark, or vice versa but these things are experienced very differently.

    The way we relate to the world is also dependent on our origins, experiences, biases etc.

    We may be colour blind or hear nothing but gloom, joy, indifference etc.

    Not only are memories constructed . . . so is our 'reality'.

    pegembara
  • @lobster said:
    Not only are memories constructed . . . so is our 'reality'.

    "Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."

    Rohitassa Sutta

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    Cessation of the cosmos?

    We have bombs for that now.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    He said that there will be a cessation of the cosmos. He never mentioned how it would end.
    And the method is immaterial. But end, it will.

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    Where do your memories go when you die? Seems as impermanent as everything else to me.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I've put mine in a little metal box and sent it collect to Fort Knox.

    They can afford it..... :tongue:

    Traveller
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited April 2015
    End of the cosmos?

    I doubt it.

    I'm guessing that's another misinterpretation. It doesn't seem like it ever began and it doesn't seem like it will end.

    The one thing that will never change is that there is change. A seeming end could only really be a pause.

    Impermanence points to change, not annihilation.
Sign In or Register to comment.