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What is "uncertain"

JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

Ajahn Chah liked to say all things are impermanent and they are uncertain.

I'm assuming by "uncertain" he meant "empty".

Would that be correct?

Comments

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Empty as in Groundlessness yes...

    JaySon
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    You would probably know better than me @JaySon but hey, I'm learning so I'll take a stab at it.

    Could it mean that since everything is impermanent and since we are only living in the moment (not dwelling on the past or dreaming of the future) that everything in the future is uncertain.

    JaySon
  • 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

    "...Not always so"....

    JaySon
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @Tigger

    Ajahn Chah would say things like...

    Suffering that arises within you is both impermanent and uncertain.

    Happiness that arises within you is both impermanent and uncertain.

    Suffering is uncertain.

    Happiness is uncertain.

    All things are uncertain.

    Say "it's uncertain" and let it go.

    @Shoshin 's video, I think, is probably closer to what Chah meant.

    Nobody owns anything.

    Everything and everyone is empty of a separate self.

    TiggerKannon
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Everything and everyone is empty of a separate self.

    No-thing exists from its own side :)

    JaySonTigger
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    Ajahn Chah would say things like...
    Suffering that arises within you is both impermanent and uncertain.
    Happiness that arises within you is both impermanent and uncertain.
    Suffering is uncertain.
    Happiness is uncertain.
    All things are uncertain.
    Say "it's uncertain" and let it go.
    @Shoshin 's video, I think, is probably closer to what Chah meant.
    Nobody owns anything.
    Everything and everyone is empty of a separate self.

    That's a thinker for me, I'll have to think that one over and watch the video

  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    I understand that suffering and happiness is impermanent @JaySon since it won't last forever but how can it be uncertain. If I am happy or suffering arn't I certain that it I am feeling this way....again, probably over thinking it and using the word uncertain literally when I shouldn't.

    The only way I can wrap my head around it is future happiness or suffering. For example, I may think that something will bring me happiness (i.e. a sports car) but that may not be so. Anyway, like I said, I will need to contemplate this one.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran
    edited January 20

    @Tigger said:
    I understand that suffering and happiness is impermanent @JaySon since it won't last forever but how can it be uncertain. If I am happy or suffering arn't I certain that it I am feeling this way....again, probably over thinking it and using the word uncertain literally when I shouldn't.

    The only way I can wrap my head around it is future happiness or suffering. For example, I may think that something will bring me happiness (i.e. a sports car) but that may not be so. Anyway, like I said, I will need to contemplate this one.

    Yeah, I'm not sure I totally understand it.

    I think I understand it to a certain depth, though.

    Let's say suffering arises in you. If you say, it's impermanent and it's uncertain, to me that means you a) is not going to last, and b) it doesn't belong to you.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @dhammachick said:

    What is uncertain?

    My bank balance :bawling:

    Your bank account doesn't belong to you anyway. So who cares, right?

    persondhammachick
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Let's say suffering arises in you. If you say, it's impermanent and it's uncertain, to me that means you a) is not going to last, and b) it doesn't belong to you.

    Suffering arises when there are aggregates that cling, (ignorance is the sticky substance that causes them to cling) so it's more along the lines of a sense of "self" arises from the clinging of the aggregates which lays the groundwork for suffering to make its presence felt...which reinforces a sense of self ... and so the cycle continues....

    On the intellectual level it's easy for one to understand "impermanence" we all wish some things would last for ever, but at the same time we know it ain't gonna happen but it's when awareness goes beyond the intellect to the core of being, this is where awareness begins to work along side the aggregates freeing them up so to speak, allowing right of passage for the flow/change to continue uninterrupted....ie, freed from the sticky substance of ignorance...

    This is not to say a sense of self is not present, it's still there but does no longer plays a central role in the experience....On the outside looking in....

    JaySonTigger
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran
    edited January 20

    @JaySon said:
    Ajahn Chah liked to say all things are impermanent and they are uncertain.

    I'm assuming by "uncertain" he meant "empty".

    Would that be correct?

    -When he said "all things are uncertain" he meant exactly that... "all things are uncertain."

    lobsterTigger
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    thefreedictionary.com:

    Uncertain

    1. Not known or established; questionable: domestic changes of great if uncertain consequences.
    2. Not determined; undecided: uncertain plans.
    3. Not having sure knowledge: an uncertain recollection of the sequence of events.
    4. a. Subject to change; variable: uncertain weather.
      b. Unsteady; fitful: uncertain light.
    person
  • I actually think that you should look at the definition of the word uncertain - clearly something that is uncertain cannot be relied upon, cannot be known, and is not definite... yet this implies there is something which is certain and can be relied upon, known, and definite...

    So what he is really saying is that 'certainty' is just how you view something, and 'uncertainty' is just how you do not view something. Now transpose impermanence with uncertainty and permanence with certainty... Is such verbosity necessary or unnecessary for being?

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @JaySon said:

    @dhammachick said:

    What is uncertain?

    My bank balance :bawling:

    Your bank account doesn't belong to you anyway. So who cares, right?

    Does that count for the bills too? :awesome:

    Tigger
  • 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
    edited January 21

    @dhammachick said:

    @JaySon said:

    @dhammachick said:

    What is uncertain?

    My bank balance :bawling:

    Your bank account doesn't belong to you anyway. So who cares, right?

    Does that count for the bills too? :awesome:

    If you don't pay them, what's the very worst they can do? I mean, really, what is it....?

    I have a friend who hasn't paid her water bill for 6 years.

    They're not allowed to cut the water off, because it's an essential amenity and necessary for Life. Literally.

    I have another acquaintance who owes an electricity company over £1,000. His bill is from 4 years ago. He has since moved twice, and is now with a different provider.

    The original company has caught up with him, and is now chasing him for money and has threatened court proceedings.

    They can't cut him off; they're not his power provider any more, so that isn't going to happen.
    He's as poor as a church mouse, has been unemployed for 7 months, is 63 years of age, so they won't have much chance of getting any huge payout from him. It will have to be at a ridiculously low amount per month, but he's willing to do THAT. If they send in the bailiffs - he has absolutely NOTHING of any value for them. His most valuable possession is an 8-year-old flat-screen TV which sold off, would fetch about £20.00.

    So what's the worst that can happen? Sending him to prison? No court will ever do that, it's just not an appropriate course of action for that amount of money.

    And if a householder dies, the amenity supply companies all too often have bills that will not be met, as the estate will not consider them a priority listing.

    So, not pay the bills?
    What's the worst they can do, really?

    (I often used to ask myself that, when times were once dire and bleak: "What's the worst that could happen?" I found it helped me put things into perspective.... Even if things were 'Uncertain' one thing was for sure. I could still breathe in, and I could still breathe out. )

    JaySonShoshin
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran
    edited January 21

    I write ads for a living. Since becoming a serious meditator, I've noticed my ads have gotten worse and worse because I care less and less about whether they pay out or not.

    (If you don't like advertising... Hey, failed novelists have to make a living somehow).

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @IronRabbit said:

    Just burst the bubble and expose the dream......

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @IronRabbit said:

    You know, I think that makes the most sense in the context of Ajahn Chah's teachings.

    "Uncertain" seems easy to understand until you've read a book like "Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away" by Ajahn Chah.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    _All states of mind, happy or unhappy, are called arom. Whatever they may be, never mind - we should constantly be reminding ourselves that ''this is uncertain.''
    This is something people don't consider very much, that ''this is uncertain.'' Just this is the vital factor that will bring about wisdom. It's really important. In order to cease our coming and going and come to rest, we only need to say, ''This is uncertain.'' Sometimes we may be distraught over something to the point that tears are flowing; this is something not certain. When moods of desire or aversion come to us, we should just remind ourselves of this one thing. Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, whatever appears is uncertain. Can't you do this? Keep it up no matter what happens. Give it a try. You don't need a lot - just this will work. This is something that brings wisdom.
    The way I practise meditation is not very complicated - just this. This is what it all comes down to: ''it's uncertain.'' Everything meets at this point.
    Don't keep track of the various instances of mental experience. When you sit there may be various conditions of mind appearing, seeing and knowing all manner of things, experiencing different states. Don't be keeping track of them3, and don't get wrapped up in them. You only need to remind yourself that they're uncertain. That's enough. That's easy to do. It's simple. Then you can stop. Knowledge will come, but then don't make too much out of that or get attached to it.__

    personlobsterShoshin
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    In other words, my UNDERSTANDING of it is uncertain.

    personlobsterTor
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    To me it says don't ever think you've arrived. At an answer, at a realization, at the conviction that you'll make to the other side of the street in one piece, that you won't make it to the other side of the street in one piece. Be open to whatever comes, life is unexpected, resistance is futile.

    JaySonnamarupa
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @person said:
    To me it says don't ever think you've arrived. At an answer, at a realization, at the conviction that you'll make to the other side of the street in one piece, that you won't make it to the other side of the street in one piece. Be open to whatever comes, life is unexpected, resistance is futile.

    Living with uncertainty in every moment feels strange. But liberating somehow.

  • @Will_Baker said:

    I'm assuming by "uncertain" he meant "empty".

    Would that be correct?

    -When he said "all things are uncertain" he meant exactly that... "all things are uncertain."

    Tee Hee!
    Are you certain? ... we need to go a bit Tao ...

    Certainy is rigid. Uncertainty encompasses certainty but is unsure of this. In other words doubt is a way of knowing, beyond duality. It is empty of affiliation. :)

    JaySonpersonWill_Baker
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Certainy is rigid. Uncertainty encompasses certainty but is unsure of this. In other words doubt is a way of knowing, beyond duality. It is empty of affiliation. :)

    It's uncertain...

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    In all seriousness I think lobster's answer is as deep as this understanding of uncertain is gonna get besides the direct experience of it.

  • 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

    Life is like a shopping trolley; You go partly where you want to, and partly where the damned thing takes you."

    (You'd think by now, with all the advances we have made in Science, Physics and Energy, that they'd have figured a way of creating a trolley that could go in a straight line, and to steer the way we want to, without risking life, limb, torn trapezii and upper back injury... but no.
    We still get to struggle with the damn things and the fuller they get, the more herculean the power required to get them round the store, though the check-out, to the car, unloaded, and back to the trolley bay.

    Anyone want a metaphor for 'Uncertain'....?!)

    JaySon
  • The past cannot be recalled, but the present is available. Uncertainty should not be grasped at.

    TiggerShoshin
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    Your bank account doesn't belong to you anyway. So who cares, right?

    @dhammachickk said:
    Does that count for the bills too? :awesome:

    I'd like to sign up for that too!

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

    Hey, how about a hover trolley? :chuffed:

    Tigger
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @namarupa said:
    The past cannot be recalled, but the present is available. Uncertainty should not be grasped at.

    The problem is usually grasping at an illusion of future certainty.

    lobster
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    I'm really liking this uncertainty thing. Now I need to know nothing.

    Tigger
  • @SpinyNorman said:

    @namarupa said:
    The past cannot be recalled, but the present is available. Uncertainty should not be grasped at.

    The problem is usually grasping at an illusion of future certainty.

    Its everything. People will grasp at the mystery of it as well.

    JaySon
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @JaySon said: Now I need to know nothing.

    JaySon
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited January 24

    Ajahn Amaro on uncertainty.

    JaySon
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Uncertain = you can't grasp and expect stability/permanence/happiness.

    lobsterTigger
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