Photo: ‘Expanding Awareness’ by Ulrike Mai – Pixabay

In the readings for the current advanced Full Presence Mindfulness FPM course it talks about the need for a new vision of knowledge, a new expanded awareness. In my private discussions with TSK students, one long-time student, Hayward, succinctly suggested, “The new knowledge Rinpoche writes about [in ‘Dynamics of Time and Space’, Chap. 25,] is the knowing of knowing.”

Rinpoche writes on p. 245…

“As human beings, we have a wealth of experience that we can draw on to activate knowledge. Yet often we seem to ignore experience in favor of the surface contents of our thoughts, the identities disclosed to the senses, and other structures we impose on what arises.” [Our teacher, Jack Petranker points to this as ‘The Tyranny of Content,‘ the title of our course.]

Beneath this preference for the presupposed, a strong tension or fear operates, a sense that if we let go of the accustomed, we ourselves will disappear. Motivated by a naked wish to survive, we conduct forward a driving restlessness, never allowing ourselves to sink into our own being. As a counter to this view, consider the possibility that there is nothing to disappear.

Rinpoche also points out on p. 247…

It also seems possible to engage knowledge more directly. Instead of insisting on perception, we can develop visions of knowledge. Instead of relying on thoughts, we can cultivate the lightening of awareness. Instead of making knowledge into a servant, we can see it as provider.

There are questions we can ask and observations we can make that encourage the mind to embody knowledge as the inwardness of an unfolding inquiry. How did our present situation develop? What is the past that gave rise to it? What are the specific structures and attitudes that bar us from greater knowledge? What happens when we do not own what is known? When we do not abandon direct experience for wishes, fears, and expectations? (emphasis added)

Once these questions become real in our experience, we can extend them into each situation. Each moment can become a gateway to the knowledge that is already available—within mind, within experience, within each structure that we conduct.”

I find these questions to be magical. They question the self; they catch it off guard. The self doesn’t like having its tools, language and stories, used to confront its own tyranny of content. The self is shocked into silence. It’s the same when you find your ‘self’ immersed in mental stories of desire, anger, or anxiety, and you suddenly ask: ‘Who is angry?’ or ‘Who is afraid?’ or ‘Who desires?’ The self is momentarily silenced. What is that experience of silence? How does it feel? A doorway to ‘boundless availability’? Is it knowing the knowing? Try the ‘self’ inquiry and see what opens for you… “Who is…?”

About David Filippone

David Filippone has been a student of Tarthang Tulku’s Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) vision for over twenty-five years. For the past fourteen years, he has studied TSK and Full Presence Mindfulness with Jack Petranker, director of the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI). He also participated in programs offered by Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Center. David curated the CCI Facebook page for five years, which is often TSK-focused, and he currently serves on the CCI Board of Directors. The CCI Facebook page can be found at the following link... https://www.facebook.com/CenterforCreativeInquiry/
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  1. David Filippone says:

    In Dynamics of Time and Space, p. 247, Rinpoche writes: “to engage knowledge more directly. Instead of insisting on perception, we can develop visions of knowledge. Instead of relying on thoughts, we can cultivate the lightening of awareness.” I was wondering what he meant by ‘visions of knowledge’ and ‘lightening of awareness’. I found the following passages helpful from the book ‘Visions of Knowledge’:

    When concepts open to imagination, the fruit is the special lightness of speculation. Speculation has its own dynamic, not confined by concern with what is and what is not. It can commence with no particular goal in mind and proceed without conforming to a process whose structure has been mapped out in advance. If it does not fall into the trap of ungrounded verbalizing and abstraction, in the end it can arrive ‘somewhere’ after all.

    Free to speculate, we do not need to specialize or specify. We can entertain the possibility of knowledge not based in existence; not even linked to what is true or false. The subtle space of speculation makes available to imagination the opportunity to discover light as the source of knowledge. The lightness’ of its questioning lets insight shine forth and feed back, cognizing itself.

    Though nothing is specified, a process of illumination enlightens appearance. Light goes into space awareness, and knowledge makes, acts, engages, and manifests. The energy of light becomes a truth we can rely on. Newly knowing, we can live light, engaging appearance as the illumined directness of lightening.” VOK p. 59-60

    • David Filippone says:

      Jack Petranker replied from another source, copied here…

      “Thanks for sharing this. I’m fond of this passage, because it suggests that a purely mental activity, such as speculation, can lead knowing; that it offers its own “subtle space.” I guess the fact that the book is also called *Visions of Knowledge* is a clue. :)”

  2. David Filippone says:

    Hayward said in an email: “Awareness has the quality of clear light. We cannot see it directly, only reflected, as it illuminates all sensory experience and content of mind.

    As I read this I softly sift it through my remembered experiences: The sense-making apparatus exploring associations… the ‘things’ of my life. Something like trying to fathom ‘nothing’. And while I can’t quite ‘thing’ awareness, or ‘nothing’ for that matter, I seem to be able to remember a feel or flavor of the “sensory experience” that went with specific content of mind. That ‘clear light’ feel of unbounded openness, a hint of clarity when mind-chattering is silenced, at least in micro-second flashes. I’m reminded of this pointing out instruction from the first TSK book…

    “The ‘knowingness’ which we seek to expose is rather subtle, and is initially difficult to distill from the rigid structures of ordinary experience. Exercises can help break up these structures, allowing ‘knowingness’ to shine through; but we must also have a way of recogniz­ing ‘knowingness’ when it is exposed momentarily.

    As a way of comprehending something of the flavor of ‘knowingness’, consider whether you have ever been listening to music or to someone speak when, alongside the ‘subject receiving input from object’ aspect, there emerged an elusive (but penetrating) understanding, significance, or clarity. Perhaps this significance was not ‘about’ anything, not even content-related in any obvi­ous way to the information being received.

    If you examine such an emergent facet, it might seem to be a balanced encompassing of the whole situation—not simply tied to your ‘mind’ or to the perceiver looking out over a perceived field. Attending to it further, you might find that this clarity or ‘understanding’ is not even tied to the one situation, but is a kind of door that is itself neutral—it can open in the direction of the situation at hand or it can open to other horizons. The subject-object unification and the doorway aspect of such an ‘under­standing’ may be what constitute its delightful feeling of incisiveness and sensitivity. ‘Knowingness’ is somewhat similar to this experience and can be discovered initially in a similar way.”

    TSK p.256 [emphasis added]

  3. Michael Gray says:

    I find my “awareness” to be silted over, like the steps leading up the beach in the photo, “Expanding Awareness”, that you have choosen to accompany your post. As a participant in the same course you are taking with Jack, I have been reading the DTS passages you quote every morning for the past week, starting from the beginning of the chapter and continuing into the first practice “Conducting the Vision”, until I reach a point where I can feel the stirrings of awareness, along with a desire to contact the being inside who feels grateful for that awareness. Then I lay the book aside and follow arising thoughts as if they were fruit whose juice is accessible in my experience more than in the photos that ordinarily pass through my mind.

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