What is pure attention?

We are seeing the folly of thinking that we know another? And being aware that they think that they know us?

We can’t deny the things we can know about others because we all have qualities and traits that are inherent and acquired

I agree James - having an awareness of the fact that we cannot generally see clearly because our seeing is distorted by images is probably already a big deal.

For me, this raises the question of where intellectual understanding ends and some kind of deeper understanding which impacts on our perception and understanding of the present begins. By talking about how preconceived images of the people we are closest to prevents us from seeing these people clearly, do we sometimes actually see more clearly?

This rings true for me Dan.

Experience is always a very personal subjective projection. (thats the conclusion I’m leading up to)

And I’ll start by saying Yes, I think we might (see more clearly - or at least a slightly bigger picture)
By realising that I am living a reality that is in fact a highly subjective projection (produced by my brain, based on past experiences) I am freed from a rather narrow experience, and find myself in a more complete/wider experience.

But! says the annoying sceptic : “its projections all the way down!”
Even the clever me who is now seeing clearly, must not be confused with some static truth. This too must pass.

Hi Douglas. If what you say above is correct, it suggests that there’s not really much point engaging with K’s teachings as they will have little impact on any of us.

Dear Sean, surely that is not the only possible conclusion?

What is your conclusion based on? What is the presumption motivating this pessimism?
Why would the understanding that experience is projection have no impact? What understanding is actually required for freedom from our conditioned reality?

What I was saying Douglas is this - sometimes after reading K or talking here, I find my mind to be a little sharper, more aware. For example, I may have been reading K talk about “the art of listening”. The next day, I might find myself listening with more attention and my mind not wandering off so much when I’m listening. As far as I can see, you are saying that this may not actually be the case. Is that right?

The reply I just posted on the ‘Observer/Observed’ thread is the same one I would give here. I think you need to make clear, Douglas, this (Hoffmanian?) view that you continue to promote with respect to all discussions concerning thought and observation/perception, because I feel this is not clear to other people and is an impediment to clear communication.

If you don’t want to set up a separate thread to investigate it, then maybe you could articulate and investigate either here or on the ‘Observer/Observed’ thread, so that we can finally resolve the confusion?

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This is a key question, but I don’t know if one can do it justice in one or two lines. It sounds like a distinct thread topic in its own right. Maybe you could start a thread on this issue?

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Nope. I actually said that

Your premise (as I understood it) resonated with me, I felt in agreement with the idea that merely being open to the the concept of awareness, most probably opened a door to awareness.

I was merely adding the idea that this was a continuous process of moment to moment freeing, rather than a final, everlasting state of enlightenment.

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Ah, I picked you up wrong then Douglas. Sorry about that.

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Even in our everyday life, having this information about the foolishness involved in running away, rather than staying with the ‘contents of consciousness’, puts us in a different ‘stance’ (observer is the observed) toward what is happening inside us. Doesn’t it?

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Hi Jame,

I think K want to say that, pure attention is a mind can know clearly but not need to activate to know. For example, When I’m in front of you and I wave my hand, you can know I wave my hand , you do not need to think to know this action.

According to Zen Masters, When we hear the question “ What is pure attention ?” and we look for the answer, then our mind activate and it can’t realize pure attention. Pure attention, we can practice it by mediation. In that practice, there’s no practice because mind doesn’t do anything ( also doesn’t try not doing anything). It’s difficult to practice it because mind often want to do something since we live so long with thought.

I think a simpler way into the question of pure attention is to ask ourselves whether we can look, perceive, listen, to something with all the senses fully awake.

Total attention implies, for me at least, an attention with all one’s mind, heart, body and senses. If these are lacking, then attention will be merely something mental, driven by our thinking - and so very very partial.

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If “pure attention” and “total attention” are synonymous should we decide which on to use in this forum? I ask because K used the phrase, “complete attention”, and if “pure” and “total” are synonyms here, so are the phrases, “pure attention”, “total attention”, along with the old stand-by, "complete attention.

I remember when the phrase “perfect pitch” was used for people who were musical enough to know what any note was upon hearing it. Nowadays though, it’s called “absolute pitch”.

Perhaps I could suggest, Inquiry, before making pure/total attention into yet another intellectual pseudo problem, you could give what attention you actually do have to finding out if you can observe yourself or anything in this world without immediately projecting your words and thoughts onto it?

As you’ve said, we only need two seconds of pure awareness, and as I’ve said, I have those two seconds like everyone else, before my “words and thoughts” pop up. I’m not disputing that we all have that much freedom.

This sentence contradicts itself. What are you wanting to say? That two seconds are sufficient, and you are content to spend the rest of the 24 hours completely lost in verbalising and thinking?

What do you want from life goddamit Inquiry? Just be a machine that repeats the same thing day after day after day until you go senile? Wtf!

Correction: I meant to type “I’m not disputing”…