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Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?

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Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Michael 10/21/18 7:34 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/21/18 7:53 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Michael 10/21/18 7:54 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/21/18 6:30 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/21/18 8:40 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Jinxed P 10/21/18 9:03 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Michael 10/21/18 9:27 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Jinxed P 10/21/18 10:44 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Ben V. 10/21/18 10:21 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Michael 10/21/18 11:02 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Ben V. 10/21/18 11:01 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Michael 10/21/18 11:12 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? curious 10/21/18 12:59 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/21/18 1:30 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Michael 10/21/18 2:07 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/21/18 2:17 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? J C 10/21/18 5:05 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/21/18 7:09 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? J C 10/23/18 1:05 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/23/18 6:46 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/23/18 7:14 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/23/18 7:36 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Jehanne S Peacock 10/23/18 9:11 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/23/18 8:44 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/24/18 4:38 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/24/18 5:50 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/24/18 7:15 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? shargrol 10/24/18 8:31 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/24/18 9:14 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/24/18 10:29 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/24/18 2:49 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/24/18 8:47 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/24/18 10:21 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? J C 10/21/18 5:09 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/21/18 5:52 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? J C 10/21/18 6:32 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/21/18 7:04 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? JP 10/22/18 10:10 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/21/18 6:43 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? J C 10/21/18 7:20 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Andromeda 10/22/18 6:02 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/22/18 9:20 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/22/18 8:40 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Todo 10/22/18 7:21 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Lars 10/22/18 3:14 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Jehanne S Peacock 10/23/18 8:17 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Todo 10/25/18 2:59 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Lewis James 10/23/18 5:07 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Kim Katami 10/26/18 10:21 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Chris Marti 10/26/18 10:39 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Kim Katami 10/26/18 11:17 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Tashi Tharpa 10/26/18 11:21 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Kim Katami 10/26/18 12:07 PM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? spatial 10/27/18 7:45 AM
RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right? Kim Katami 10/28/18 3:16 AM
Forget everything about anatta and Buddhist nomenclature, I am talking about the good old "Ego" you mean when you use the word when talking to your in-laws.

The guy is obviously extremely full of himself, right? Watch any few videos of his and you quickly learn how he:

- is a language master who learned Japanese and Chinese in his teenage years just to get a grasp on Buddhism
- studied advanced mathematics so he can come up with grade-school level genius analogies like "S=PxR"
- has of course created his own system

The most hilarious and ridiculous thing I have read this year is his "Author's preface" for his book "The Science of Enlightenment", though. First of all, he refers to himself in the 3rd person. Classic ego-douchebag move right there.  But then he goes on to refer to himself as "hard-nosed researcher" who of course could have written the book for other genius-level mathematicians and "scientists" out there but sadly had to dumb it down for all us idiots and write it as "Shinzen the Dharma teacher".

It gets even better, though, check this quote out:
"It is perhaps even possible to derive those equations from first principles the way Navier-Stokes is derived from Cauchy continuity. In such fields, distinctive “flow regimes” are typically associated with relations on the parameters of the equations, i.e., F (Pj) → Q, where Q is qualitative change in field behavior. By qualitative change in field behavior, I mean things like the appearance of solitons or the disappearance of turbulence, etc. Through inverse methods, it may be possible to establish a correspondence between the presence of a certain parameter relation in the equations modeling a field in a brain and the presence of classical enlightenment in the owner of that brain.(...)"

That's just comical. Has this guy ever actually published a proper peer-reviewed paper where he actually applied advanced mathematics to meditation/neuroscience?
It's just laughable Technobabble without any real substance behind it.  Very important for his branding and marketing and Mr. Science-Meditation-Guy, though, I am sure. Might as well use the law of gravitation to illustrate how the presence of a giant Ego is pressing me down.

Maybe if I pay $5.99 for each of his 75 "talks", I will change my mind. No wonder he went secular and had to found his own thing. Because those ain't got nothing to do with good old Buddhist ethics.

Imagine creating your own system and website, smiling blissfully and having a group of loyal devotees called "Shinheads". All in all, you gotta have a huge Ego to pull it all off.

What do you guys think? ;)

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 7:53 AM as a reply to Michael.
Did you begin this rant on an in-breath or an out-breath?

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 7:54 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Do you like evading questions with questions?

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 8:40 AM as a reply to Michael.
What do you guys think? ;)

I think there's ego in every single one of us, including those who teach how to reduce the effects of the ego. I also think that Shinzen Young has been a great teacher to a lot of people. His "Science of Enlightenment" recorded book was a great boon to my very early practice. I've met Shinzen Young in person and I've heard him speak to live audiences in person. At no time have I thought of Shinzen as having a huge ego. But... to each his own.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 9:03 AM as a reply to Michael.
Michael:
No wonder he went secular and had to found his own thing. Because those ain't got nothing to do with good old Buddhist ethics.

Imagine creating your own system and website, smiling blissfully and having a group of loyal devotees called "Shinheads". All in all, you gotta have a huge Ego to pull it all off.

What do you guys think? ;)


Siddhartha Guatama (The Buddha) made his family and friends call him "Lord Enlightened One", created his own system, smiled blissfully and had a loyal group of devotees called Buddhists. 

The Dalai Lama has people call him "His Holiness". Go to any Buddhist monastery and people will bow and act subserviant to the head monks. 

Perhaps, you are right, and having a 'giant ego' is necessary to have the confidence to pull off being a teacher to a large number of people. Or maybe one attains a giant ego as the result of having a lot of people look up to you. It's probably a bit of both in an upward spiral.

Either way, the important takeaway you should get from any teacher is, "Do these teaching benefit me? Do they work?" Whether or not the teacher has what you think is a giant ego, might not be at all important to those questions. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 9:27 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
I agree with you about the Gotama and the Dalai Lama. It's hard to say what was really going on back then as far as the Buddha in concerned but I read his "biography" by Karen Armstrong a short while ago and you are right: He presented himself as "the guy". The guy, that arrives every 32000 years, the Samma SamBuddha, teacher of supreme enlightenment.


I think it is very important to tear those higher-than-life figures down from their pedestals once in a while. Not literally, but for the sake of my own waking up, growing up and maturing as an equal. Well, of course I could also uplift myself, make my own .org system and Sangha and get my own devotees. Sounds actually nicer.

Look, it's not that important and of course there are far far worse figures out there in the spiritual world and let's not get started on the mundane world. What works, works, I agree.

I still think there is some benefit in pointing out egoic tendencies in teachers. Not for them but for oneself. Helps to calibrate the compass and the expectations. It's about standing on your own feet.


Edit: Oh and with the "Buddhist ethics" part I was refering to how unifiedmindfulness.com is set up as a full-fledged business to make some of that sweet MONEYYYYY emoticon

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 10:21 AM as a reply to Michael.
Sometimes the things we perceive in others that bother us a lot is a classic case case of shadow projection. Meaning, issues we have in us that we do not want to admit to consciousness, we either see in others or, when we see others have it (whether the perception is true or not), it bothers us to the core. 

So you can ask yourself, why is this bothering you so much (what you perceive in Shinzen Young)?

Unless we are directly affected by a teacher's behavior, there is no reason to be bothered by whatever ego they may have. Easier said than done though. I get bothered by all sorts of things I shouldn't. 

This shadow projection may not be your case but it's worth being mindful of the possibility. 

Best wishes in your practice.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 10:44 AM as a reply to Michael.
Sure, there is benefit in pointing out 'egoic tendencies in teachers. But for your own awakening, better not to feel the need to tear anyone down, but to understand why people are the way they are and have a compassionate understanding.

Instead of looking at it as - "Look at this jerk, and how great he thinks he is!"

A more helpful view would be - "Human beings have a natural tendency when they have a group of followers to become overly confident in themselves. We see this in every industry -- Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Jesus, politicians, gurus. It might a relic of our evolutionary past. Some kind of 'alpha male' thing. If Shinzen really does have a big ego, I'm not surprised given how many people like him, it would be hard not to have an ego when he has been so successful as a teacher.

Or perhaps, simply attributing a 'big ego' to him is too simplistic. Maybe he has a lack of insecurity, which manifests itself to me as having a big ego. How would I act if I was truly secure with myself and didn't give a fuck about what anything thinks of me? What is it about myself that is so disturbed by his 'ego'? Could it be some insecurity within myself?"

Also, I can't blame western teachers for making money. How else are they supposed to eat? Buddhism only survives in the east because they have a system where as in Thailand, 95% of the country is Buddhist and people support the monks through food and donation, often being told by monks that they will accrue good Karma and have a better rebirth if they do so. 

Of course, you are correct to be wary of teachers who seem to be in it for the money (above making enough to live) because you don't know if they are marketing false goods for the sake of the sale. So be skeptical, but don't just assume because someone is making money that they are a charlatan. 




RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 11:02 AM as a reply to Ben V..
@ Ben V.
Of course it has to do with me. I mean, it's not a huge issue for me; I felt compelled to start this thread after I saw his website and read the intro of his book. I also saw videos of him over the last couple of weeks which I mostly enjoyed. But it's not like I am losing sleep over it.

The reason why it has to do with me, I already have described in the above post. It's finding your own way. "Kill the Buddha if we meet him", right?
There was something that rubbed me the wrong way about him and I wanted to find out, what it was.

I think most "spiritual seekers" are familiar with the feeling when you are disillusioned by a teacher or guru. It can be frustrating, it might even be fearful or depressing if you were really invested. But it also freeing and most importantly of all, it gives the responsbility back to you. It makes you grow up. That's why it is important.


------

Edit: Oh and I don't blame teachers who make money, either. But I still can't help to infintely respect teachers more, who have a regular job or business and for whom the practice is not intertwined with earning money.

But in the case of UM and Shinzen, the way the websites are set up and all the different programs and like I said 70+ 60 minute "teachings" for 5.99. I don't like it. The way Dharmatreasure for instance has set up their stuff seems more skillful and good to me.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 11:01 AM as a reply to Michael.
Ya well said. I had a friend who was very devoted to the Dharma in Sogyal Rinpoche's organization. When the scandals started kicking in like a flood, she gave up everything, completely demoralized. I think the best attitude is like picking fruits from a tree, pick what you need and leave the rest. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 11:12 AM as a reply to Ben V..
Yes, that was a shit show. I saw the movie "Little Buddha" two years ago and googled a bit afterwards. At first I found it nice that there was a real Tibetan monk playing a monk in the movie and then I found out that he was the famous author of the "Tibetan book of living and dying" and then I found out that... he is a massive prick to say the least.

This structure of being a teacher dependent on the work of your students is inherently problematic and flawed in my opinion. The purest and most honest way to me is how I, Daniel Ingram and probably most people on here do it: "just get a job you bum!"

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 12:59 PM as a reply to Michael.
Hi Michael, I remember reading that preface and all the stuff you are talking about.  But I guess there are two components here - who he is (including how he writes), and then how we react to him.  The noble eightfold path frees us from our reactions - it quitens the mental grabbing after formations and evaluations that creates the cycle of suffering. 

Anyway, I learned stuff from his book and was pleased that I read it.  But equally it is good to have these discussions, to share perspectives, and to keep going on the journey together. 

Is there sombody else whose writing style you prefer?

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 1:30 PM as a reply to curious.
So maybe we can talk about ethics and what's fair or unfair when it comes to relationships with teachers of Buddhism. Is it fair to call them unethical when they charge for their services? Is it fair or unfair in today's society to expect more or less of teachers who teach Buddhism for a living as opposed to those who have a regular job and teach Buddhism on the side?

Just asking...

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 2:07 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
@curious.

I mostly like how Shinzen writes, maybe with the exception of the intro I mentioned. What I also need to say here that we/I always tend to put higher standards to people more dear to us. Shinzen of course isn't Sogyal, he isn't Gurdjieff, he isn't Andrew Cohen or any of the countless other frauds.

I feel like he could be more honest, though. I think Culadasa has an edge on him in that regard.

@Chris Marti:
I wouldn't call him unethical in a general sense, more related to traditional Buddhist monastic values.

Personally, I have no problem in principle paying for books or courses or teachers. For instance how Culadasa offers retreats or teacher training programs. The way unifiedmindfulness is set up is rubbing me a bit the wrong way. It all looks like the websites of those people who sell "revolutionary ebooks for just $98 instead of $698". But again, it's not a huge problem, it's not we are talking about a Yellow Fever outbreak here.
Like I said, though, I personally hugely respect people who simply earn their money with a normal job. I equally respect places like the Zen monastry Antaiji, who try to be self-sustained as much as possible and work in the fields a lot but also rely on begging/givings.

Satsang teachers with their devotees who fulfill their every wish and keep them in a nice cozy cocoon -> red flag for me. Can't take those gurus seriously.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 2:17 PM as a reply to Michael.
Michael:

@Chris Marti:
I wouldn't call him unethical in a general sense, more related to traditional Buddhist monastic values.


But he's not a monastic. Is it fair to hold him to those standards of ethics?

And someone who makes their living off of teaching doesn't really have much choice but to operate as a business, and a well-run one at that if they don't want to starve or go homeless. I enjoyed his book The Science of Enlightenment, but admit the marketing of Shinzen's stuff turns me off. However, I'm obviously not his target demographic. So while it might not appeal to me, that doesn't necessarily make it wrong.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 5:05 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
> And someone who makes their living off of teaching doesn't really have much choice but to operate as a business

To the extent that this is true, we can conclude from this that it is unethical to make your living off teaching.

However, there are other choices besides operating as a business, such as joining a monastery or other nonprofit organization intended for the support of teachers, or by living off of donations (I mean actual donations, not payment for teaching disguised as "donations.")

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 5:09 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
So maybe we can talk about ethics and what's fair or unfair when it comes to relationships with teachers of Buddhism. Is it fair to call them unethical when they charge for their services? Is it fair or unfair in today's society to expect more or less of teachers who teach Buddhism for a living as opposed to those who have a regular job and teach Buddhism on the side?

Just asking...

In my view, yes, it is fair to call them unethical, because the payment of money distorts the relationship and alters the teaching. Tibetan gurus who encourage their students to think of them as perfect are similarly unethical, even if they don't charge.

I don't expect more from people who don't have a regular job - whether a teacher has a regular job or not, they shouldn't take money for teaching the dharma.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 5:52 PM as a reply to J C.
In my view, yes, it is fair to call them unethical, because the payment of money distorts the relationship and alters the teaching. Tibetan gurus who encourage their students to think of them as perfect are similarly unethical, even if they don't charge.

Well, for me if I receive something of value in return for the value I provide it's not unethical as long as it's not illegal. I've run into lots of folks in various dharma communities who agree with you and think it's unethical to ask for money in return for teaching dharma. I'm left wondering why. If I'm begging for food to stay alive and teaching dharma in return, I'm exchanging value for value - food for dharma. If I'm maintaining a monastery by taking up collections and teaching dharma in my monastery, I'm exchanging value for value - money to maintain my monastery for the purpose of teaching the dharma.

Also, how does accepting payment (let's assume any exchange of value) for teaching dharma distort the teaching?

Maybe someone here can help relieve my confusion.

emoticon


RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 6:30 PM as a reply to Michael.
Michael:
Do you like evading questions with questions?

Sorry, I shouldn't have been snarky like that. Not helpful. I just don't see the point in attacking a teacher like this. What about the clear, simple and direct side of his teaching (it's definitely there)? Have you put that stuff into practice, tried it out for yourself? Many people find it very helpful. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 6:32 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
The donations are voluntary gifts and not in exchange for anything.

A good example of how payment distorts the teaching is the pragmatic dharma teachers who take money and overdiagnose people as "technical 4th path." It creates incentives to misdiagnose.

There's a great cartoon of two gurus at the top of a mountain, one labeled "wisdom" and the other labeled "validation." Many climbers with fancy gear are fighting each other to get to the "validation" guru, while only one climber is trying to get to the "wisdom" one.

There will always be more of a market for validation than for wisdom. There will always be more of a market for teachers who say things are easy than for teachers who talk about how hard it is. If your living depends on people paying you to teach, it will be difficult to avoid the temptation of subtly, or not-so-subtly, distorting the way you teach to attract and keep more students.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 6:43 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
In my view, yes, it is fair to call them unethical, because the payment of money distorts the relationship and alters the teaching. Tibetan gurus who encourage their students to think of them as perfect are similarly unethical, even if they don't charge.

Well, for me if I receive something of value in return for the value I provide it's not unethical as long as it's not illegal. I've run into lots of folks in various dharma communities who agree with you and think it's unethical to ask for money in return for teaching dharma. I'm left wondering why. If I'm begging for food to stay alive and teaching dharma in return, I'm exchanging value for value - food for dharma. If I'm maintaining a monastery by taking up collections and teaching dharma in my monastery, I'm exchanging value for value - money to maintain my monastery for the purpose of teaching the dharma.

Also, how does accepting payment (let's assume any exchange of value) for teaching dharma distort the teaching?

Maybe someone here can help relieve my confusion.

emoticon

Over the years, I've been happy to support dharma teachers and organizations by making financial contributions, paying hourly fees for one-on-one instruction, buying books, tapes and programs, etc. It actually feels good to do that--it's dana, the practice of generosity. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 7:04 PM as a reply to J C.
There will always be more of a market for validation than for wisdom. There will always be more of a market for teachers who say things are easy than for teachers who talk about how hard it is. If your living depends on people paying you to teach, it will be difficult to avoid the temptation of subtly, or not-so-subtly, distorting the way you teach to attract and keep more students.

We can always assume the worst about people. I haven't had many personal experiences with teachers who exhibit this kind of behavior. Not everyone is that corruptable or influenced by purely monetary gain. Some people are actually motivated by more noble goals, like doing something to help others, to advance the cause of dharma. There really are honest, legitimate, and truth-telling people with real integrity teaching dharma.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 7:09 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
> And someone who makes their living off of teaching doesn't really have much choice but to operate as a business

To the extent that this is true, we can conclude from this that it is unethical to make your living off teaching.

However, there are other choices besides operating as a business, such as joining a monastery or other nonprofit organization intended for the support of teachers, or by living off of donations (I mean actual donations, not payment for teaching disguised as "donations.")
Care to explain your conclusion a bit more thoroughly? I don't follow.

I will admit that my strong personal preference is for dharma that is freely-given or by dana because I think it's cleaner. But other practitioners have found that type of thing helpful. And so I'm trying not to be overly judgmental about it even if it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/21/18 7:20 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
How is an exchange of money for teaching time or books generosity? That seems like an odd way of putting it. When I go to the store and buy a candy bar, is that generosity?

This confusion of what dana or a donation is is another problem with charging for teachings - people want to get their money's worth. People don't want to give too much away. People are reluctant to share on the forums what they paid hard-earned money for. Note that none of these issues come up with true dana, which is a one-sided gift with no strings attached and nothing expected in return.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/22/18 6:02 AM as a reply to J C.
A Jewish friend of mine says "You shall not use the Torah as a shovel to dig with" is the Talmud's way of saying you should never earn money from spiritual teachings. Every scholar in the Talmud had a day job, often as manual laborers. There's something about that which appeals to me quite a bit. I think that's actually the coolest things about the DhO and related forums--experienced practitioners helping others learn totally free of charge, without even a personal brand to promote. It's a beautiful thing. 

That being said, I still don't think it's for me to judge what other teachers are doing unless they are exploiting or abusing their followers. Lately I've been thinking how difficult and limiting it must be to be a for-fee teacher. I love the freedom to be able to follow my inner compass wherever it points, regardless of how marketable the direction might be. When it's your livelihood, there must be tremendous pressure to keep your life and practice conventional enough to have wide appeal to a large audience. There mere thought of squeezing myself into a box like that makes me die a little inside.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/22/18 7:21 AM as a reply to Michael.
My two cents:
Having a big or giant ego is defintely not a problem,
Selling books and talks is not a problem either.

The important questions are:
Does he know what he is talking about ?
Is what he says helpful?
Does he coerce people, overtly or covertly, to buy his stuff or become followers? Are people free to move away anytime they choose ?

Disclosure:
I personally have a scientifically oriented mind and found Shinzen's stuff immensely helpful.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/22/18 9:20 AM as a reply to J C.
Note that none of these issues come up with true dana, which is a one-sided gift with no strings attached and nothing expected in return.

I completely understand that there's a difference between charity and selling but I'm not sure your formulation of dana is quite right. The expectation is that a monastery will be there for you if you need whatever the monastery has to give - blessings, preserving and teaching the dharma, sanctuary, and so on. I think exchanges of value take place in a lot of contexts but we don't recognize them as such because they're not "paying for directly" style transactions.

That, no doubt, is the economist in me coming out emoticon




RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/22/18 8:40 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
https://goo.gl/images/BWWR57

Attaching lucky money to the money tree at a Thai temple...

These are not black-and-white issues. These women could be giving the temple money without any expectation of receiving anything, worldly or unworldly, in return--not even merit. They could be attaching the money to the tree purely out of devotion and the most stainless dana imaginable. 

OR...it could be because they want their new restaurant to make $1 million.

You can give dana to a retreat teacher with a heart full of resentment, or you can be happy to do it--truly glad to contribute.

You can sell a dharma book purely as a means of keeping your own teaching going, or you can do it to try to get rich and buy a Tesla.  

The point is that what's really going on is situational, based on the intentions of giver and receiver. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/22/18 10:10 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:

A good example of how payment distorts the teaching is the pragmatic dharma teachers who take money and overdiagnose people as "technical 4th path." It creates incentives to misdiagnose.



If you don't mind me asking, what was the approximate time frame on this misdiagnosis?

My impression as a late-comer is that there was a first wave of pragmatic dharma enthusiasm around 2010-2015 when MTCB became more widely known and the DhO and Awake Network took off, followed by a few of Kenneth Folk's students themselves becoming teachers and diagnosing attainments.  It seems like there was a lot of widespread optimism that stuff like noting and going through the jhanas using The Witness would be enough for most people to make it to MTCB 4th path within a year or two with modest amounts of retreat time.  And from reading the practice logs from this period, it seems like that optimism was somewhat misplaced since most of the people who'd been diagnosed with "technical 4th path" in Kenneth Folk's lineage felt like the attainment was unsatisfactory and they were still dealing with residual dualistic agency.  A lot of them then went looking for other practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhism.  It seems like the aftermath of that caused Kenneth Folk at least to revisit his model of attainments.

To me this is less of a case of distorted incentives and more of a case of the natural human tendency towards overenthusiasm, kind of like the Dotcom bubble.  For a while it seemed to most people like dropping secrecy, focusing on carefully describing phenomenology, and sharing techniques broadly would revolutionize achieving enlightenment. I do think a lot of the enthusiasm is correct and that having all these forums as well as TMI/MTCB has been a big improvement -- but it's clear that the initial enthusiasm level was calibrated too high.  Daniel Ingram seems to have been a stickler for higher attainment standards throughout, so maybe you're right that a lack of financial incentive is helpful.

If broad overdiagnosis has still been going on in the last couple years in light of the practice trajectories that were seen in the earlier period, then that seems like a situation where teachers are just refusing to acknowledge the weight of the evidence, especially so if they're claiming to be using MTCB's path definitions rather than an alternative attainment mapping.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/22/18 3:14 PM as a reply to Todo.
Todo:
My two cents:
Having a big or giant ego is defintely not a problem,
Selling books and talks is not a problem either.

The important questions are:
Does he know what he is talking about ?
Is what he says helpful?
Does he coerce people, overtly or covertly, to buy his stuff or become followers? Are people free to move away anytime they choose ?


These things are related though, how can someone tell if the teacher knows what they're talking about, if there's a price tag obstacle to check out those teachings.

Recently I asked a question on a dharma forum, and was given a single line "read my book" response. Reading the book would have required buying it (all links I could find to free versions were dead, purchaseable ones worked). I've spent a fair bit of money over the years on books etc, but in this case it didn't feel right so I didn't. End result was that my question went unanswered (and it's entirely possible they did have the answer, but I don't know). If there was no price tag involved, I would know firsthand whether the teacher was qualified/helpful, and whether the answers in that book were what I needed at this point in practise. Because of the paywall, I know neither. That may not have been the intention of the teacher, but it was still the result.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 1:05 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
J C:
> And someone who makes their living off of teaching doesn't really have much choice but to operate as a business

To the extent that this is true, we can conclude from this that it is unethical to make your living off teaching.

However, there are other choices besides operating as a business, such as joining a monastery or other nonprofit organization intended for the support of teachers, or by living off of donations (I mean actual donations, not payment for teaching disguised as "donations.")
Care to explain your conclusion a bit more thoroughly? I don't follow.

I will admit that my strong personal preference is for dharma that is freely-given or by dana because I think it's cleaner. But other practitioners have found that type of thing helpful. And so I'm trying not to be overly judgmental about it even if it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

Hopefully we can agree dharma teaching should not be run like a business.

So if that's the only way to make a living off of teaching, then it's unethical to make a living off of teaching.

I do think other ways are possible, though.

Here's a good demonstration of the problems with charging for teaching: how many of the charging teachers currently post on the DhO freely? How many open themselves up for debate on whether they should charge? How many come here to have their attainments questioned and challenged?

Doesn't seem like a healthy situation to me.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 5:07 AM as a reply to Michael.
Is Shinzen confident in his teaching, as someone who's been practising and teaching for decades and decades? Yes.

Does Shinzen have a strong personality structure, with all the quirks, bad sides, and repetition that come along with that? Sure.

Is his community largely reinforcing of his chosen role as "expert teacher"? Certainly.

Does any of that really mean that he's a bad teacher who doesn't know what he's talking about? I sincerely doubt it. I mean, look at Daniel Ingram or Culadasa, they're not exactly meek or humble about their attainments and knowledge.

First off, the idea that someone with an "ego" can't be a good spiritual teacher is a very naive idea, in my opinion. "Ego" in the Western sense doesn't have very much to do with the "self" that Eastern spiritual practices talk about. As mentioned earlier, the Buddha himself had what appears to be a large ego in the sense of a personality structure. That's totally separate from insight into emptiness. In fact I'd argue it's completely necessary to have a strong sense of personality in order to imbue these teachings into the world. Very few will have the patience to listen to and practice with someone who has no charisma or outward confidence. It's a necessary part of doing this stuff, and I think all teachers recognise that in some way they have to "lie" and be conceitful (in the sense that any words formed about emptiness are distortions of emptiness) in order to entice students to actually do the work. To borrow from Michael Taft, it's one thing to "deconstruct yourself", and entirely another to "resconstruct yourself" in a way that brings value to other seekers, and that reconstruction will always have some tension or issue just due to the very nature of human experience.

In terms of charging for the dharma. It's pretty clear to me that Shinzen's work has a kind of reach that a lot of other 'pragmatic dharma' systems just don't have. Look at this forum and the TMI community, it's a small number of mostly young men with a particular 'academic' personality style. Shinzen's community is incredibly broad and reaches men, women, young, old from all walks of life. That's not to say these other communities don't have some of that, just that something in Shinzen's approach is attracting a wider, more diverse community which can only be a good thing. And I imagine at least part of that is because of marketing. They've decided that interfacing with modern consumerism is a necessary evil if this stuff is going to be accepted by a larger market, taken seriously by academic researchers, and brought into positions of power in the world. From my (admittedly limited) interaction with the UM community, I don't think anyone involved is getting rich in any way, in fact most people involved are volunteering their time and nearly everyone is doing other jobs and consulting separately to support themselves. Modern life is just expensive and they don't have the kind of "religious" structure in place to be totally separated from that. In terms of the value I've got vs the amount of money I've put into UM, it's tremendously good value. I could have easily blown that money on some gadget I'd never use or a few fancy meals out. The marketing is kind of odd looking and the pricing on some stuff does need some work, I get the impression that they're just targeting a slightly older demographic.

The overblown math/science stuff - yeah it gets a bit old. Shinzen's very up front about the fact that he's not a natural mathematician or scientist. As a kid/young adult he was admittedly terrible at that stuff. It's only with the concentration gained from dharma practice that he's learned it. So he's definitely an "amateur" in some sense and he plays up to it purely, I think, as a way to get people interested in crossing over dharma and science, of doing the work that he's been dreaming of on his behalf, because there are so few traditional dharma teachers who even make mention of the possibilities and value of doing that work (or even skepticism in some cases).

Like others in the thread I think it's very unfair to essentially watch a couple of videos and read a few pages of his book and then post all around the internet the implication that he's a fraud or bad teacher having not really practised his stuff or given it a chance. I understand your concerns though and I'm sure many have felt the same way.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 6:46 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Andromeda:
J C:
> And someone who makes their living off of teaching doesn't really have much choice but to operate as a business

To the extent that this is true, we can conclude from this that it is unethical to make your living off teaching.

However, there are other choices besides operating as a business, such as joining a monastery or other nonprofit organization intended for the support of teachers, or by living off of donations (I mean actual donations, not payment for teaching disguised as "donations.")
Care to explain your conclusion a bit more thoroughly? I don't follow.

I will admit that my strong personal preference is for dharma that is freely-given or by dana because I think it's cleaner. But other practitioners have found that type of thing helpful. And so I'm trying not to be overly judgmental about it even if it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

Hopefully we can agree dharma teaching should not be run like a business.

So if that's the only way to make a living off of teaching, then it's unethical to make a living off of teaching.

I do think other ways are possible, though.

Here's a good demonstration of the problems with charging for teaching: how many of the charging teachers currently post on the DhO freely? How many open themselves up for debate on whether they should charge? How many come here to have their attainments questioned and challenged?

Doesn't seem like a healthy situation to me.

Oh, I am totally in agreement with you that charging money for dharma can and does cause all sorts of problems and may well set up unhealthy situations more often than not. Commercial dharma ain't my thing, that's for sure, and personally I don't want anything to do with it. But I would not go so far as to make a blanket statement that it is necessarily unethical. Clearly, many students benefit greatly from these types of arrangements and so who am I to condemn it? Ethics is incredibly complex and I try not to pass a lot of harsh judgment on other tribes. 

Also, people who live in glass houses yada yada... I have little interest in coaching beginners. Could not the argument be made that as an experienced practitioner I should be doing more to make dharma accessible and available to beginners who have not had the benefit of the teachings I have received? I don't think so, but another might. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 7:14 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I think it's great that this debate gets revisited periodically. I can see both sides of the situation and I don't think either side has a monopoly on things. In my experience, word of mouth and reputation are very good signals to watch for when we evaluate teachers of the dharma, charging or not.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 7:36 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I think it's great that this debate gets revisited periodically. I can see both sides of the situation and I don't think either side has a monopoly on things. In my experience, word of mouth and reputation are very good signals to watch for when we evaluate teachers of the dharma, charging or not.

Yeah, word of mouth and reputation are helpful signals and then of course we must use our own sense of discernment. It would be nice if we could just follow a rule that charging is bad and free/dana is good, but the reality is much more complex than that and both ethics problems and solid teachers are on either side of the divide.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 8:17 AM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:


These things are related though, how can someone tell if the teacher knows what they're talking about, if there's a price tag obstacle to check out those teachings.

Recently I asked a question on a dharma forum, and was given a single line "read my book" response. Reading the book would have required buying it (all links I could find to free versions were dead, purchaseable ones worked). I've spent a fair bit of money over the years on books etc, but in this case it didn't feel right so I didn't. End result was that my question went unanswered (and it's entirely possible they did have the answer, but I don't know). If there was no price tag involved, I would know firsthand whether the teacher was qualified/helpful, and whether the answers in that book were what I needed at this point in practise. Because of the paywall, I know neither. That may not have been the intention of the teacher, but it was still the result.

Hi Lars, I'm not sure if you're referring to your question in this forum or somewhere else but if it was in the thread on post awakening practise here, then I'll just let you know that there is a free pdf also available and I have added a link to that thread so you can see if it answers yours question.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 9:11 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Often there is much free dharma material from a given techer freely available, so a truly interested person can see how they resonate with that particular teacher and if they want to eventually support that teacher. It's fine to give advise for people free of charge, and I see that happening a lot especially on forums such as this.
The issue with money comes about if a teacher is doing so much guidance and one-on-one instructing that there is no time to actually do another job. Also having a job the teacher would be compromizing their ability to spend time on teaching.
If I had to work for 9 hours a day and them come home to my family, whould I dare say to them that "No, I can't spend any time with the kids and the spouse because I have to do dharma teaching for the next 5 hours before going to bed?" How would that be reasonable?
And if the teacher was any good, would it really be appropriate that they only teach two hours a week when they could be directly benefitting people through dharma teaching full time, provided that they were allowed to charge for their time spent?

The teachings inthemselves are invaluable, so really you are not charging for the dharma but for the time you use that is away from your other responsibilities.

I am not a teacher but I find that it takes alot of time also from me if I try to truly and deeply answer sombody's question. I might spend 1 or 2 hours honing a really good reply. That is time I have to take away from something else. But honestly I do think also that everybody has a responsibility to try and make the world a little bit better. If you have solid practise experience and attainments, one relevant facet for that is guiding others to that path.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/23/18 8:44 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Jehanne S Peacock:
Often there is much free dharma material from a given techer freely available, so a truly interested person can see how they resonate with that particular teacher and if they want to eventually support that teacher. It's fine to give advise for people free of charge, and I see that happening a lot especially on forums such as this.
The issue with money comes about if a teacher is doing so much guidance and one-on-one instructing that there is no time to actually do another job. Also having a job the teacher would be compromizing their ability to spend time on teaching.
If I had to work for 9 hours a day and them come home to my family, whould I dare say to them that "No, I can't spend any time with the kids and the spouse because I have to do dharma teaching for the next 5 hours before going to bed?" How would that the reasonable?
And if the teacher was any good, would it really be appropriate that they only teach two hours a week when they could be directly benefitting people through dharma teaching full time, provided that they were allowed to charge for their time spent?

The teachings inthemselves are invaluable, so really you are not charging for the dharma but for the time you use that is away from your other responsibilities.

I am not a teacher but I find that it takes alot of time also from me if I try to truly and deeply answer sombody's question. I might spend 1 or 2 hours honing a really good reply. That is time I have to take away from something else. But honestly I do think also that everybody has a responsibility to try and make the world a little bit better. If you have solid practise experience and attainments, one relevant facet for that is guiding others to that path.
These are all very solid points. Countless hours of Shinzen are out there free on YouTube, SoundCloud, etc., and you can say the same thing for many, many dharma teachers. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 4:38 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
In the new Michael Taft 'Deconstructing Yourself' podcast, Daniel, makes some of the same points as Michael, JC and JP. He talks about certain pragmatic dharma teachers playing fast and loose with SE diagnoses in part to keep their paying students happy. These are complicated issues. If you're not going to become a monk and live in a monastery supported by local Thais or Burmese, how can you survive as a dharma teacher? You almost have to make it a part-time gig and just get another job.  

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 5:50 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
In the new Michael Taft 'Deconstructing Yourself' podcast, Daniel, makes some of the same points as Michael, JC and JP. He talks about certain pragmatic dharma teachers playing fast and loose with SE diagnoses in part to keep their paying students happy. These are complicated issues. If you're not going to become a monk and live in a monastery supported by local Thais or Burmese, how can you survive as a dharma teacher? You almost have to make it a part-time gig and just get another job.  

Yeah, people often have a strong need for validation and can put a lot of pressure on teachers in order to get it. If teaching is your livelihood and you're using the maps/models, that might make for a very bad combination especially if there is financial stress.

But it's got me thinking: obviously being an official, professional "Dharma Teacher" with capital letters and a personal brand is a weird kind of job to have if that's your entire career, right? How much more difficult does that make it to relate to laypeople with regular jobs? The non-monastic teachers/practitioners from whom I've learned the most have all had day jobs and that has been part of the appeal for me. I mean, a huge part of spiritual development is realizing that your entire life is practice and finding ways of working in all those environments. It's when we try to compartmentalize parts of our lives as "non-spiritual" and protect them from our practice that we get into big trouble, IMO. 

So while full-time professional non-monastic teachers might possibly be in the best position to teach certain concrete meditation skills effectively since they do it a lot, are they really the best people for providing spiritual direction and general guidance to committed lay practitioners? I suppose it's never good to pigeonhole people in what is a complicated dharma ecosystem, but I'm just trying to figure out which needs might be best served by whom and why... 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 7:15 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Dammit! You folks are making convincing arguments. How does one "stand out" amongst the thousands of dharma teachers? You'd have to develop a brand (i.e.; uniqueness of some sort) and a trail of success (students who will provide testimony for your methods).

Hmm.....

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 8:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
It's kinda funny, my own mind gets hung up in these debates on what qualifies as "the dharma". 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 8:47 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
 I suppose it's never good to pigeonhole people in what is a complicated dharma ecosystem, but I'm just trying to figure out which needs might be best served by whom and why... 
Complicated dharma ecosystem...yes. 

And this is a good thing. I'm reminded of what I read recently in Altered Traits, a review of scientific inquiries into meditation written by Daniel Goleman and Richie Davidson. 
In the book, they describe the truly incredible results they documented when scanning the brain of Mingyur Rinpoche. When they asked him to do certain things on command, like compassion meditation, the readings were off the charts in a way they had never seen before--all kinds of unexpected gamma oscillations, etc. 
They estimated his lifetime hours of practice at about 42,000. He comes from a family of dzogchen masters, started at the age of eight and was such an adept the senior monastics put him in charge of leading three-year retreats at a very young age. His grandfather was said to have been a cave yogi who logged something like 62,000 hours of lifetime practice.

I think we want an ecosystem that includes people like this. B. Alan Wallace called them 'Olympic athletes of meditation' and made the point that nobody begrudges the activities and committments of actual Olympic athletes.

To your point, though, would a cave yogi be the best teacher for someone trying to get through a cluttered and difficult householder life?  
Idealistic meditators in their 20s gunning for SE and high attainments might want to consult with the Olympians. As we age, maybe highly integrated and practical teachers like Tara Brach are a better fit. Of course, another approach is to try to learn from a lot of different animals in the ecosystem.   

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 9:14 AM as a reply to shargrol.
... what qualifies as "the dharma".

Yeah, we can see just from conversations here on DhO that "the dharma" can be defined as "what I teach" and not something more idealized or comprehensive. On the other hand, "the dharma" can be defined as any kind of mind-related training, like MBSR, for example, upon which there is a great debate.

Thanks for adding that consideration. I agree that it's a complicating factor.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 10:21 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
Andromeda:
 I suppose it's never good to pigeonhole people in what is a complicated dharma ecosystem, but I'm just trying to figure out which needs might be best served by whom and why... 
Complicated dharma ecosystem...yes. 

And this is a good thing. I'm reminded of what I read recently in Altered Traits, a review of scientific inquiries into meditation written by Daniel Goleman and Richie Davidson. 
In the book, they describe the truly incredible results they documented when scanning the brain of Mingyur Rinpoche. When they asked him to do certain things on command, like compassion meditation, the readings were off the charts in a way they had never seen before--all kinds of unexpected gamma oscillations, etc. 
They estimated his lifetime hours of practice at about 42,000. He comes from a family of dzogchen masters, started at the age of eight and was such an adept the senior monastics put him in charge of leading three-year retreats at a very young age. His grandfather was said to have been a cave yogi who logged something like 62,000 hours of lifetime practice.

I think we want an ecosystem that includes people like this. B. Alan Wallace called them 'Olympic athletes of meditation' and made the point that nobody begrudges the activities and committments of actual Olympic athletes.

To your point, though, would a cave yogi be the best teacher for someone trying to get through a cluttered and difficult householder life?  
Idealistic meditators in their 20s gunning for SE and high attainments might want to consult with the Olympians. As we age, maybe highly integrated and practical teachers like Tara Brach are a better fit. Of course, another approach is to try to learn from a lot of different animals in the ecosystem.   

So in order to navigate this complicated ecosystem as a practitioner, you really have to know what you want out of practice. And that's going to be highly variable depending on the individual and their stage of life/practice. And that navigation will be further complicated here in the West by the fact that dharma teacher bios don't typically contain any useful information about what they really have to teach, as Daniel points out. And also that most beginners have no way of knowing what is truly possible with meditation, especially in this internet age of McMindfulness where there is so much misinformation.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 10:29 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
... what qualifies as "the dharma".

Yeah, we can see just from conversations here on DhO that "the dharma" can be defined as "what I teach" and not something more idealized or comprehensive. On the other hand, "the dharma" can be defined as any kind of mind-related training, like MBSR, for example, upon which there is a great debate.

Thanks for adding that consideration. I agree that it's a complicating factor.

Absolutely. And how's this for a situation to make clear just how unclear it all is: let's consider a practitioner for whom MBSR was a sort of gateway drug to deeper practice. Does that person's MBSR count as "dharma"? I think you could successfully argue that it was, even if it wasn't for another individual who took exactly the same course but never took it any farther. How many people get their start in the dharma just from wanting to suffer less in the conventional ways, through soft entries like something they saw on Oprah or gym yoga? Does it "count"?

I had a thought the other day, really more of a crackpot theory: in Thailand, everyone is a Buddhist and they believe in magic and ghosts and all sorts of things that we consider to be superstitious and silly here in the West. But for them, it plays a very real and important role in their lives. It works! And making merit, visiting temples for blessings, getting sak yant tattoos, etc. not only enriches their lives but it helps support the temples so that monastics can do their thing.

.... Here in the West, it isn't magic that sells. It's psychology. So psychology is the new magic.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/24/18 2:49 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Or drugs. Good drugs.

emoticon

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/25/18 2:59 AM as a reply to Lars.
As a practitioner from a poor third world country who gets ALL his information from the internet (FREE), I do certainly understand your frustration at paywalls.

Despite that I can say that it is my experience that any teacher worth listening to has a lot of free stuff on the web. If a teacher do not have enough free stuff available and his only answers is "read my book" which happens to be behind a paywall, I say just ignore him (as you rightly did).

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/26/18 10:21 AM as a reply to Michael.
Andromeda:
Tashi Tharpa:
In the new Michael Taft 'Deconstructing Yourself' podcast, Daniel, makes some of the same points as Michael, JC and JP. He talks about certain pragmatic dharma teachers playing fast and loose with SE diagnoses in part to keep their paying students happy. These are complicated issues.  
Yeah, people often have a strong need for validation and can put a lot of  pressure on teachers in order to get it. If teaching is your livelihood and you're using the maps/models, that might make for a very bad combination especially if there is financial stress.
How can a teacher validate something that is not there, in a way that makes the student convinced? I don't get it. Maybe more people asked their money back, that is publicly told?

Years ago I joined this 3 day Shinto ritual in Japan. It was arduous and while I understood the meaning and effectiveness of the practice, I didn't at all appreciate slightly sadistic-macho features some of the senior instructors had. They were "assisting" us novices by slapping or hitting our shoulders. By the second day, the skin peeled off...
On the third day, during a training session, I was taken into a separate room, filled with men with funny hats who did some fervent prayers. After they finished, I was told that I had been "reborn". I can still remember the faces they had when I was told this, like it was supposed to make me convinced. I watched these priests around me in utter disbelief, trying to smile. They also told me to keep it a secret and not tell that I had been taken to this secret ceremony. That was the moment when I decided to leave the place, where I had lived for a while. I was escorted back to the training hall where other trainees were doing the practice.
At that point I realised each of us novices had been taken to the secret room one by one, and I assume they also had been told that they were "reborn". I wonder if any of the others believed that bullshit. I knew it was bs because nothing in my mind had changed.

In the 80's there were letter correspondence courses for getting black belt in karate. Some folks realised they can sell people complete bs and take their money. I bet it looked scary and convincing at home in front of the mirror to wear that belt but was rather painful if they ever got into a real fight. Too bad that attainments can't be tested like fighting skills.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/26/18 10:39 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim --

How can a teacher validate something that is not there, in a way that makes the student convinced? I don't get it. Maybe more people asked their money back, that is publicly told?

I think what the others are saying is that the student is seeking validation when approaching the teacher with self-diagnosed stream-entry. This puts some pressure on the teacher to agree, maybe not the first time, or even the second time, but eventually. If the teacher is not really qualified to diagnose the condition or if their only source of income is collecting teachers' fees from students, then there could be pressure to acquiesce and tell the student, "Yes, you are a stream-enterer now."

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
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10/26/18 11:17 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Kim --
How can a teacher validate something that is not there, in a way that makes the student convinced? I don't get it. Maybe more people asked their money back, that is publicly told?
I think what the others are saying is that the student is seeking validation when approaching the teacher with self-diagnosed stream-entry. This puts some pressure on the teacher to agree, maybe not the first time, or even the second time, but eventually. If the teacher is not really qualified to diagnose the condition or if their only source of income is collecting teachers' fees from students, then there could be pressure to acquiesce and tell the student, "Yes, you are a stream-enterer now."
I see. Quackery. Weak and shameful, harmful too.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
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10/26/18 11:21 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
[quote=
]Kim --
How can a teacher validate something that is not there, in a way that makes the student convinced? I don't get it. Maybe more people asked their money back, that is publicly told?


You have to understand, Kim, in the Theravada world, the aftereffects of the subjective (non)experience of stream entry are presented as varying wildly. Even a mainstream teacher like Joseph Goldstein speaks of it this way. I recently heard a talk in which he explained that it varies from students barely noticing cessation--it happens as a tiny, quick blip--to yogis who come away from cessation completely rocked, with cool bliss waves, the sense of having their bodies remade at a cellular level, etc.

SE is also routinely described as having a certain anticlimactic quality. 

Because of this, almost anything can pass as SE. "It sounds to me like, based on your phenomenological report, you attained stream entry but didn't even notice it," the teacher says. 

You might have a yogi who routinely experiences 'head snaps' in practice, followed by a rushing-roaring internal sound that comes up quickly. This could be explained as a moment in which the yogi just fell asleep for a second and then recovered, or described as a meaningless neurological phenomenon, or categorized as a cessation occuring as part of an insight cycle. This is why Daniel places such an emphasis on being able to test and verify. 

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/26/18 12:07 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
[quote=
]Kim --
How can a teacher validate something that is not there, in a way that makes the student convinced? I don't get it. Maybe more people asked their money back, that is publicly told?
You have to understand, Kim, in the Theravada world, the after effects of the subjective (non)experience of stream entry are presented as varying wildly. Even a mainstream teacher like Joseph Goldstein speaks of it this way. I recently heard a talk in which he explained that it varies from students barely noticing cessation--it happens as a tiny, quick blip--to yogis who come away from cessation completely rocked, with cool bliss waves, the sense of having their bodies remade at a cellular level, etc.

SE is also routinely described as having a certain anticlimactic quality. 

Because of this, almost anything can pass as SE. "It sounds to me like, based on your phenomenological report, you attained stream entry but didn't even notice it," the teacher says. 

You might have a yogi who routinely experiences 'head snaps' in practice, followed by a rushing-roaring internal sound that comes up quickly. This could be explained as a moment in which the yogi just fell asleep for a second and then recovered, or described as a meaningless neurological phenomenon, or categorized as a cessation occuring as part of an insight cycle. This is why Daniel places such an emphasis on being able to test and verify. 
A dharma teacher should be able to say, see, that. But I know many don't.

Whether one shoots the paper target with an airgun or a shotgun, it makes a noticeable hole. If one misses the target, there is no hole, although one has the experience of having shot a gun. It is a very different experience to shoot these two guns, and descriptions of these experiences can vary depending on gun and shooting history of the person but... a hole is a hole.

Open Heart Bhumi Model doesn't have this above mentioned problem. All stream entries, kenshos, awakenings or whatever have the same basic characteristic of a hole in the energy body, specifically the center behind the eyes. The hole can be small or big, and the verbal descriptions may differ, but like we say in OH, a hole don't lie. Regardless of the size of the hole, a shift occurs in the mind and therefore is a game changer. 

In my exp it is clear what is and isn't a shift.

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/27/18 7:45 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
Open Heart Bhumi Model doesn't have this above mentioned problem. All stream entries, kenshos, awakenings or whatever have the same basic characteristic of a hole in the energy body, specifically the center behind the eyes. The hole can be small or big, and the verbal descriptions may differ, but like we say in OH, a hole don't lie. Regardless of the size of the hole, a shift occurs in the mind and therefore is a game changer. 

In my exp it is clear what is and isn't a shift.


Are you saying that if I can finally untangle this knot right behind my eyes, then that will be, indisputably, stream entry (this has been my suspicion, since all suffering seems to lead back to that point, but I don't really know)? This seems extremely concrete. Is this actually true? Why, then, is there so much confusion? Why don't meditation instructions seem to take this into account?

RE: Shinzen Young has like... a giant ego, right?
Answer
10/28/18 3:16 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Kim Katami:
Open Heart Bhumi Model doesn't have this above mentioned problem. All stream entries, kenshos, awakenings or whatever have the same basic characteristic of a hole in the energy body, specifically the center behind the eyes. The hole can be small or big, and the verbal descriptions may differ, but like we say in OH, a hole don't lie. Regardless of the size of the hole, a shift occurs in the mind and therefore is a game changer. 

In my exp it is clear what is and isn't a shift.

Are you saying that if I can finally untangle this knot right behind my eyes, then that will be, indisputably, stream entry (this has been my suspicion, since all suffering seems to lead back to that point, but I don't really know)? This seems extremely concrete. Is this actually true? Why, then, is there so much confusion? Why don't meditation instructions seem to take this into account?
One thing that I forgot to mention in relation to the center behind the eyes and its opening (hole), is that it when a shift happens (not only the first shift), it can be seen from the eyes, detected from the gaze. In rinzai zen, masters do that, i.e. verify or falsify kenshos by looking at the eyes. Eyes tell a lot.

I don't recall if any of my students would have verified their awakening with a theravada teacher, after I had verified it. A chan teacher has, but I don't think a theravadan has. So in that sense, myself not being a theravada teacher, I don't have authority to say. However, I know a bunch of theravadans with varying path verifications, who all had the first or more bhumi centers open. 4th path, MCTB or traditional, without exception (so far) are 6 bhumis (1-6) open.

>if I can finally untangle this knot right behind my eyes, then that will be, indisputably, stream entry

Yes, I'm more than 99% on that. When that knot comes up, just be aware of it. That's all that is required. Eventually that knot/bubble will burst. If you need a more specific context/instructions, here.

>This seems extremely concrete. Is this actually true? Why, then, is there so much confusion? Why don't meditation instructions seem to take this into account?

When traditions, that are considered authority on the subject matter, have been saying for hundreds and thousands of years that it is difficult, rare and that there is no one size fits all technique for it, you get what we now have culturally: utter disbelief that it is possible to wake up mechanically. However, this belief is false. There is and has been techniques that generate awakening for centuries but they have been hidden away in Tibet, guarded by secrecy. Hence the confusion and lack of progress in buddhist culture. I have discussed this in detail in my book Awake!, pg. 75, available for free.

These cultural traits from old traditions are a bigger blind spot than I ever expected, even here. I've been writing on this forum for 4 years actively, presenting instructions, data and statistics, but close to none have looked into it, as far as I am told, so there you go. Some people (not on this forum) even get highly emotional when they meet with this information. I've even gotten pissed off emails from some unknown buddhist teachers because their views are so biased.

Nonetheless, there it is. Try and see for yourself.