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Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion

Forum: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience

I figure the Dharma Battleground is as good a place as any for this. My view, just to make this clear, is that Richards 'Actual Freedom' is a misdiagnosed 3rd and 4th path accompanied by a unique 'view'

-Chuck

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/7/09 2:28 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
excellent idea for a thread.

i see actual freedom as something completely different from 4th path (except that it includes the aspect of no separation in perception).

to start with, does your current, every day experience of 4th path exclude these (and all other affective) experiences entirely and continuously, such that they never even begin to arise?

disquiet, disquietude, inquietude, uneasiness, nervousness, nervous tension, apprehension, apprehensiveness, sheepishness, shyness, timidity, timidness, timorousness, butterflies in the stomach, embarrassment, anxiousness, fretfulness, funk, jitters, blue funk, quailing, quaking, quavering, heebie-jeebies, appalment, worry, worriment, insecurity, anxiety, angst, alarm, agitation, palpitation, perturbation, trepidation, fright, affright, being scared, being frightened, being afraid, being spooked, fearfulness, awe, foreboding, panic, terror, horror, horrification, petrifaction or dread.

richard's report is that these - and all other - feeling do not arise for him at all (see http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-fear.htm at the very top), and that they ceased to arise entirely in one process that occurred during one day in 1992 (an account of which can be found at http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/abriefpersonalhistory.htm toward the bottom, in appendix 3), and have never returned in the 17 years that have passed since.. not even for a brief moment. no somatic charge whatsoever.

tarin

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/7/09 2:44 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
It's an interesting hypothesis, Chuck. It would help to explain some questions I have had. For example, why do the AF advocates insist that a self persists after 4th Path, or that there are two selves? These assertions are not consistent with enlightenment.

There's more to this story, however, as Tarin points out above. Here is a quote from an online discussion that Chris located yesterday:

> Upon recovering from this delusion, claims that his entire
> affective faculty disappeared completely. Since 1992 he claims to
> have experienced no emotions whatsoever, and has been assessed
> independently by two psychiatrists as being alexithymic,
> depersonalised, derealised and anhedonic. (The psychiatrists who
> diagnosed alexithymia verified his claim that not only was he unable
> to experience emotions, he did not exhibit any physical signs of
> emotion.)

http://www.bio.net/bionet/mm/neur-sci/2003-December/056413.html

Whether Richard is enlightened or not, his condition is pathological. It is by no means something to be admired, mimicked, celebrated, or aspired to, IMHO. As Haquan so eloquently put it, "you are going to mess yourself up in that endeavor." I hope that our readers will recognize a kooky cult when they see it and stay away. I realize that there will always be cults and cult leaders. And there will always be people who feel drawn to eccentric or anomalous personalities. Unfortunately, these things end up badly as often as not. Not so long ago, a man and a woman who claimed to be messengers from God managed to talk 37 people into dying with them in a group suicide.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven%27s_Gate_(religious_group)

This is just one example of how a seemingly sincere claim of "specialness" can cause a great deal of heartache. Play with cults at your peril.

Kenneth

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/7/09 5:03 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Tarin,
I would like to proceed slowly on this. We have had discussions in the past here at DhO about the difficulty of accurately communicating our subjective experiences. If we are looking at a state that is accessed after 4th path (Arahat) then we need to agree where we are coming from in order to even hope to have a workable starting point. In the page that I posted on Richard, he (as I see it) is stating that he was enlightened after the event of 1982. Further, he describes how he felt at that time in various ways. You state that you are an arahat. I state that I have been through 4th path.

Questions:
Do you feel we are all speaking of the same state (at least in theory). That is to say – are you, Richard, and I all speaking of arahat (defined as post fourth path) when we use these terms?

Do you relate to how Richard describes enlightenment in your own experience of arahat?

If not, how is it different?

I would say terms like 'anxiety' or 'fear' are experienced very differently in third vs fourth. So our starting point is very important when we start using these terms.

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/7/09 7:06 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Kenneth,
I don't think I would pass as 'normal' by western psychological standards. They wouldn't relate to my communing with rocks or trees nor could they relate to my experiences of self, time, reality, etc. I think this is a good topic – To what extent can an awakened person be considered normal by western standards of psychology?
Let's just look at what Richard says and try to get the context of those statements first. I really think we need to first look at our starting point – as in my response to Tarin.

-Chuck

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/7/09 9:49 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Author: AlanChapman

Tarin and Chuck, I think if this is done well, it will be extremely beneficial for everyone. Kudos for starting this!

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/7/09 10:17 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Author: AlanChapman

@Tarin: Just a quick query, if Richard does not feel any emotion whatsoever, how can the goal of Actualism be 'happiness'?

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 12:11 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Alan

There are many things grouped under the banner of happiness. Gratification, things going our way, being told we are loved, getting what we want, our dreams coming true, pleasure, joy, contentment.

Not all of those happinesses are the goal of actualism.

In a pure consciousness experience you can see for yourself that when sorrow is not, happiness is.
Likewise, when malice is not, harmlessness is.

Those qualities that are revealed are what Richard is getting at when he states the goal of actualism in that formulation.

Craig

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 4:01 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
One approach to this issue in general is not to look at what other people are saying about Richard but look at his own words and not just simple statements like "I don't experience emotion" or whatever (that was not a quote - just an example). Let's look for indications of how he lives. Obviously, he created a website and answered lots of questions. He certainly seems to be interested in helping others find this state. These are better indicator of his experience then simple statements that are being thrown around that just become the basis for arguments.

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 4:17 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Author: AlanChapman

Just so everyone knows, I wasn't trying to derail the conversation with that question. I was seriously interested.

Thanks for the detailed response Craig!

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 5:59 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
It certainly seems that if one has the sense that there is something left to accomplish on the spiritual path, then you probably aren't an arahat. What's incorrect about that statement?

The same for reacting to any portion of your experience with aversion, including a sense of self, or even "the feeling of being." If you want to get rid of the feeling of being, then there is something about your present experience that is unsatisfactory - you would rather it was a different way, no?

You know, I think the hidden duality here may derive from the idea that "the world is not illusory." Well it may not be illusory, but it ain't real either...

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 12:56 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hey

I think these are important points. Personally speaking, I found arhatship to be lacking. Now of course, you can say "well, maybe Trent didn't obtain it," and that's fair enough. Consider, however, that here are tons of other people saying the same thing, several of them on this site. Or, don't even take my word for it. Attain arhatship and then experience a bad breakup or something else extremely painful to your affective self and see how much suffering, aversion and etc you go through. It's a different kind of suffering than what is eliminated with arhatship, but it's suffering nonetheless. That's why it's so hard to explain the concept of "suffering" to people in regard to the 3 characteristics, in case you've ever tried and experienced doing that.

I'm not going to tackle the last position, but instead ask you to partake in one of the following: take a hammer and smash one of your fingers as hard as you can, or cut yourself deeply with a knife. Now, as you experience the searing pain of your body unleashing a whirlwind of reactions in your brain, ask yourself: is this an illusion, is this real? If you need to go to the hospital afterward, ask the nurses "is this an illusion, is this real?" If they submit you to another person of your profession, ask them "is this an illusion, is this real?"

Of course, I don't actually want you to do that, but I hope you see my point. Some things are objective, as long as your imagination doesn't get in the way of seeing that.

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 1:34 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
[Edited to remove names, none of this is personal as David pointed out earlier]

Bravo, Trent! A perfect counterpoint to the perspective offered by nonduality IMHO. This is very much in keeping with how I relate to these competing perspectives based on practical experience and careful consideration over a prolonged period of time.

Craig

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 3:40 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
"Note that Richard interacts in the world in all sorts of ways (bold). Obviously this guy is not some crazy pathological lunatic."-Chelek

"Pathological" is not the same as "lunatic."

Pathology:

1. the science or the study of the origin, nature, and course of diseases.
2. the conditions and processes of a disease.
3. *any deviation from a healthy, normal, or efficient condition.* (emphasis mine)

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pathology

Richard's condition is pathological in that he "has been assessed independently by two psychiatrists as being alexithymic, depersonalised, derealised and anhedonic."

"Alexithymic" means that he has a "deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexithymia

"Depersonalized" means that he has a "mental disorder in which the normally well-integrated functions of memory, identity, perception, and consciousness are separated (dissociated)."

http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Depersonalization-disorder.html

"Derealised" means that he has "an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems strange or unreal. Other symptoms include feeling as though one's environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional colouring and depth."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derealization

"Anhedonic" means the "absence of pleasure or the ability to experience it."

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/anhedonic

This is what I mean when I say that Richard, the founder of Actual Freedom and by his own testimony the only human to ever experience it, is pathological.

Whether he is enlightened is beside the point. He's lost his marbles.

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 3:44 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
"One approach to this issue in general is not to look at what other people are saying about Richard but look at his own words and not just simple statements like "I don't experience emotion" or whatever (that was not a quote - just an example). Let's look for indications of how he lives. Obviously, he created a website and answered lots of questions. He certainly seems to be interested in helping others find this state. These are better indicator of his experience then simple statements that are being thrown around that just become the basis for arguments."-Chelek

Surely you jest. Name one deranged cult leader who was not interested in "helping others to find" the state that he was in the business of promoting.

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 6:00 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
No Kenneth, I don't jest. How one interprets and explains ones experience has everything to do with the cultural environment, language, and terminology they grow up with. If one is convinced that third path is enlightenment then if they go beyond that they must come up with some way to describe how it differs. Richard seems to use a biological model for understanding his experience - a pretty normal western approach to interpreting things.

What I said was “Let's look for indications of how he lives” and gave two examples. Your response was to attack those examples.

“Pathology 3) *any deviation from a healthy, normal, or efficient condition.* (emphasis mine)
Richard's condition is pathological in that he "has been assessed independently by two psychiatrists as being alexithymic, depersonalised, derealised and anhedonic."”

I would be very interested to see what someone like Jack Kornfield might say after assessing him. Now I am not a psychologist Kenneth but it seems to me that having a strong sense of small self in a big world (out there) is sort of fundamental to their understanding of things. Maybe I'm wrong. Do you think they 'get' rigpa? I don't.
Do you think they get 'the deathless'? I don't.

There seems very little interest in having an open discussion about this stuff. I have stated my views. I will add to them as I feel pretty confident that what this guy has experienced is essentially what I have experienced though I do not view or interpret it in the same way.

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 6:13 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
'Do you feel we are all speaking of the same state (at least in theory). That is to say – are you, Richard, and I all speaking of arahat (defined as post fourth path) when we use these terms? '

richard uses neither the term arahat nor post fourth path, but what i understand these terms to mean - and what i understand about how you understand these terms - would be included in his definition of enlightenment.

'Do you relate to how Richard describes enlightenment in your own experience of arahat? 'If not, how is it different?'

richard's description of the condition of enlightenment is wide and varying, and some aspects i relate to and others i dont. for example, the wholeness he talks about, yes. the suffusion in love and compassion, no.

'I would say terms like 'anxiety' or 'fear' are experienced very differently in third vs fourth.'

i dont think the 3rd vs 4th path difference in how things like 'anxiety' or 'fear' are experienced has any bearing on their total and utter absence in a pce (pure consciousness experience), which is how richard experiences 24/7. if you disagree, could you clarify?

also, would you answer the question i ask above, in reply 1? that is, 'does your current, every day experience of 4th path exclude these [all affective experiences] entirely and continuously, such that they never even begin to arise?

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 10:18 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Author: AlanChapman

Absolutely, positively spot on!

Here is a correct and accurate description of enlightenment, with no claims or appeals to experience necessary. This is it, right here; if you do not experience what Haquan describes here, then you are not an arahat. Period! If this is the case, then you have to take this description on faith (luckily I don't have to, but if you believe I word I say, I promise you it is all true).

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
9/8/09 10:25 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Author: AlanChapman

Trent, as an arahat, you would know that the objective world of smashed fingers is neither lllusory or real, from moment to moment. No imagination required.

RE: Actual Freedom as 4th Path Experience discussion
Answer
6/6/10 9:05 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Chuck you never actually answered the question Tarin asked!

also, would you answer the question i ask above, in reply 1? that is, 'does your current, every day experience of 4th path exclude these [all affective experiences] entirely and continuously, such that they never even begin to arise?


I'm interested in your answer! :-)