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ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2

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ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/19/19 10:02 AM
Copy of MCTB2 arrived today and I've started reading it.

So much is spot on - in a way I find surprising and refreshing (I find most Buddhists to be wrong).

I'm not a Buddhist, I'm a 'bad' student of A Course In Miracles, but I've been looking for common ground between them, because the Course community is tiny, and those who actually understand it even fewer (those who have actually attained its goals fewer still) and because the Course doesn't discuss a lot of what I might call, side effects - consequences of right practise. I want maps! Give me hierarchies! Let us talk about this!

So I really appreciate Daniel's candid attitude, and hope to learn much from his experience. I know in my heart of hearts that maps do not really matter, but I do want to geek out about them. I want to understand. I want to know where I am in relation to others; I want to know how to relate, how to speak, how to act.

So, thank you Daniel, for sharing your technology. (interestingly I use that word as well, to refer to anything that can be deliberately used to achieve an effect - contrasted with Spirit which cannot be used or manipulated in any way whatsoever and is the only thing that can truly be called spiritual - though, parhaps I have not fully understood his use of the word "technology". I've only read a few pages.)

I will likely add more comments to this thread as I go. I just wanted to share my excitement and gratitude.

I have also been gradually writing notes on "Freyr Dharma" (as opposed to Buddha Dharma) - my way as it contrasts with what I thought was Buddha's way. A lot of it is now just straight out of the Course. I find some interesting commonality with what Daniel is saying. Like that enlightenment is about insight, not necessarily concentration or morality (though they might come as secondary effects, or might be practised independently). That is my view as well, and is the sole focus of the Course which has absolutely nothing to say about morality. The Course says stuff like "An untrained mind can accomplish nothing", so I appreciate Daniel's emphasis on mind-training.

Okay, apparently it's time for a walk. Thank you all.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/19/19 11:13 AM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
Dear Freyr,

Greetings from Cairo, Egypt.

Glad you are enjoying the book: may that continue and lead to good practice and outcomes.

I know relatively litte about ACIM: care to give a summary?

Hope all is well!

Daniel

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/19/19 2:13 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I know relatively litte about ACIM: care to give a summary?
No, not really. hahahahahah

Perhaps I could just say that it works.

I look forward to telling you all about it, when it is time.

I appreciate you for greeting me.

I'm autistic; communication isn't always straightforward for me.

I enjoy your 'presence' if that is the right word? Also if 'enjoy' is the right word. I suppose it is my own reaction I am 'enjoying'/watching. I had a little moment of, seeing how silly everything I cherish is. Nothing I cling to matters in the slightest. Thank you.

Freyr's Radical Honesty
Answer
1/19/19 7:40 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
I realised some things (which I will now share, Radical Honesty style - I hope you get my non-judgemental non-blaming tone):
  • I feel intimidated by this forum, and by you specifically, Daniel Ingram
  • I haven't forgiven Buddhism. Forgiveness is totally redefined by A Course In Miracles. I suppose I am not at peace with it?
  • I have psychological trauma, so it would probably be unwise for me to attempt any intensive meditative practises, and I'm learning so much already from my own way.
  • While MCTB2 is completely fascinating, there's something about it that I am reacting to, and so I'm not sure it's good for my health at the moment. I will wait for (inner) guidance regarding this.
    I would describe the sensations as a tightening in the chest. shallower breathing, tightening in the throat/lump in the throat like I'm gonna cry sort of thing? While it would be fascinating to explore that reaction and its origin, it seems not conducive to the continuation of my current practise.
  • I want all Buddhists to study A Course In Miracles so I can talk to them without having to learn their language. hahahaha
  • I recognise the value of the community you have here, but I do not know how to become a part of it, or even if that is the right thing. If it not for me, then I that 'value' is meaningless to me - just an image.
  • I do not understand why you try to attain. This is pretty funny because to most buddhists I would say the opposite - I would say why do you not try to attain sotapannaship? But I suppose what I mean is, in my Way, it's just about undoing obstacles to peace that we have placed in our own way. And not even that - only allowing those obstacles to be removed for us. The amount of work involved in the path the Course offers is really nothing (most ACIM students would vehemently disagree with me on this last point).
  • I think of Buddhism as an unnecessarily hard and complicated path, and the Course as cheap and easy.
  • Mmm there's that feeling again. A knot in my stomach-ish area.
  • I'm not at peace. I'm not okay.
  • I'm mmm apprehensive about the responses I might get to this. oh gosh, is that terror? Yes. Amazing. hahahaha. So what? is this social anxiety? Am I concerned about making a good impression in front of the wise people? Yes.
Thanks for reading.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/19/19 10:10 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
The course in miracles's main teaching is forgiveness as defined as looking without judgement. Vipassana means to see things clearly. It's the same thing. You could also equate the course's forgiveness to mindfulness and equanimity. The course's "object of meditation" is our relationship with everything. Insight meditation's object is perception. I'd call that the same thing. Both are non-dual.

You can definitely find differences but you would likely be talking belief systems. Not experience.

Welcome. 

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 3:48 AM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Thanks.

I would love it if all differences between the Course and Buddha's teachings turned out to be linguistic/stylistic. But that has not been my experience (though perhaps I just don't know/understand enough about Buddha's teachings). That's not to say there aren't a lot of things in common.

The metaphysics of the Course as summarised here and represented graphically here are I think a bit different (Daniel maybe that's the summary you were hoping for?) I hope you can pick out the terminology that makes sense to you - e.g. right mind rather than Jesus (Jesus is a symbol for the right mind that helps some people but it's metaphorical).

If Buddhism has equivalents of right mind, wrong mind, decision maker and the thing above the purple line called Truth, I'd love to know what they are.

And you can't really get the benefits of applying the Course without this kind of theoretical framework.

My experience has been that Buddhists take the world seriously, and the mind that made it.

It's entirely possible that my comparisons are invalid because I'm comparing my own enlightened understanding of ACIM with the average understanding of Buddhism which I've picked up over the years. If I talk to the average Course student I'm equally apalled, but at least I know what they're doing wrong and can point them in the right direction if they ask. With Buddhism I can't tell what seeming errors are due to flaws in their application of the teachings or the teachings themselves. There's also the problem that there are so many Buddhist teachings and many disagree. A Course In Miracles has that problem too to an extent (because everyone wants to be teacher instead of a student hahaha) but if you know to stick to the official version of the Course and Kenneth Wapnick's commentary (and anything that is fully in line with his) then you're okay.

Okay, gonna look at my Freyr Dharma notes.

The Course uses our daily life as the 'classroom' for learning, rather than going on a intensive retreats, different than ordinary life. ACIM sees ordinary life as the perfect opportunity. I've thought of its attitude as most similar to some schools of zen perhaps?

There is no conflict of interests, ever. Is that part of Buddhism?
Also no need for sacrifice, ever.

And here's a fun one: people who think they want to be enlightened but are not, are mistaken about what they want. As such, there's not much need for technique in terms of attaining, since attainment is something that happens naturally. It's more about allowing your real wishes in the matter to be uncovered. Buddhism seems to require a lot of effort. The Course's goals can be achieved with only a little willingness.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 9:45 AM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
Freyr LePage:
Thanks.

I would love it if all differences between the Course and Buddha's teachings turned out to be linguistic/stylistic. But that has not been my experience (though perhaps I just don't know/understand enough about Buddha's teachings). That's not to say there aren't a lot of things in common.


The metaphysics of the Course as summarised here and represented graphically here are I think a bit different (Daniel maybe that's the summary you were hoping for?) I hope you can pick out the terminology that makes sense to you - e.g. right mind rather than Jesus (Jesus is a symbol for the right mind that helps some people but it's metaphorical).

I'm certainly not an expert in Buddhism, but I feel like I understand the logic behind that diagram. And, it seems motivated by the same sorts of observations that I see underlying Buddhism.

I looked at the first few exercises here: https://acim.org/workbook-lessons-overview/workbook-table-of-contents/

They seem to be along the same lines as Mahasi noting, but I don't know how the whole thing plays out in the long run.

One reason that I was motivated to look into this a little bit is because one of my first exposures to meditation was the book The Power of Stillness, by Tobin Blake, who I know was a student of ACIM. This surprised me when I read the book, since the book didn't have the Christian feel to it that I would have expected.


My experience has been that Buddhists take the world seriously, and the mind that made it.


My experience has been that I cannot really discuss Buddhist ideas with most Buddhists, because they just don't seem to get it, and they basically view it as a more progressive alternative to Christianity (at least in the part of the U.S. where I live).


And here's a fun one: people who think they want to be enlightened but are not, are mistaken about what they want. As such, there's not much need for technique in terms of attaining, since attainment is something that happens naturally. It's more about allowing your real wishes in the matter to be uncovered. Buddhism seems to require a lot of effort. The Course's goals can be achieved with only a little willingness.


If it only takes willingness and no effort, why is there a book? Why is it a "course"?

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 9:52 AM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
Never mind buddhism. They just made that stuff up. They are still making that up. Haha. Why dont you give proper insight meditation a try? Maybe you can see or see through the right mind, wrong mind and decision maker with great clarity. Heck, something brought you here. Why go to the beach without jumping in the water?

If you do, it would be helpful to set aside your identity as a acim student. It sounds like you have gotten a little dogmatic about it. Prejudice could get in the way of results. Really, the course was meant to be done and then set aside. It's nothing special. One of thousands. Haha

My experience was that after doing both, it was very clear that it was the same teaching with different language. Any differences were irrelevant.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 3:31 PM as a reply to spatial.
I'm certainly not an expert in Buddhism, but I feel like I understand the logic behind that diagram. And, it seems motivated by the same sorts of observations that I see underlying Buddhism.

Yes. I 've read enough of the ACIM material today to see this, too. The terminology differs but the underlying utility is very similar.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 3:51 PM as a reply to spatial.
They seem to be along the same lines as Mahasi noting, but I don't know how the whole thing plays out in the long run.
The first part of the workbook "undoes the way you see the world now" the second part gives you a new way to look at the world. It's sort of like antivirus software. First remove existing viruses, then immunise against future viruses and keep a permanent presense.

To me that's what Buddhism seems to be missing. The inner Guide. I see Buddhism removing the unhelpful voice, but I don't see it adding Helpful Voice. This may just be the Buddhism I've been exposed to.
This surprised me when I read the book, since the book didn't have the Christian feel to it that I would have expected.
Not a big surprise to me. ACIM might use Christian language, but it's about as far from Christianity as you can get, and once you understand the metaphysics, there's no reason you can't talk about it without Christian terminology.
My experience has been that I cannot really discuss Buddhist ideas with most Buddhists, because they just don't seem to get it, and they basically view it as a more progressive alternative to Christianity (at least in the part of the U.S. where I live).
Ouch (I feel you). There's probably many Course students who think the same about ACIM.
If it only takes willingness and no effort, why is there a book? Why is it a "course"?
Because our unwillingness is very complicated and needs to be addressed on many levels and many seemingly different forms for us to be able to recognise it. The experience of effort is our unwillingness meeting the tiniest seeds of willingness, and complaining.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 3:58 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm certainly not an expert in Buddhism, but I feel like I understand the logic behind that diagram. And, it seems motivated by the same sorts of observations that I see underlying Buddhism.

Yes. I 've read enough of the ACIM material today to see this, too. The terminology differs but the underlying utility is very similar.
Thanks for chiming in. It's good to know. Hopefully I will discover the same for myself someday. I'm not seeing it yet. I mean, I know there is an awful lot that is the same. There's just a few little things I haven't found a Buddhist equavelent of yet. Things may be clearer if/when I write a Freyr Dharma post.

There's a particular problem though. The vast majority of people (even quite dedicated ACIM students) can't see the subtle differences between it and pretty much every other new age thing. Whenever someone says "x thing is the same as ACIM" I look at them with eyes of skepticism, because I've seen so many things people claim that about and I can tell pretty quick that they are different. Buddhism seems more, uh, unclear. Perhaps if/when I get around to reading more of MCTB2, it will be more clear and I will know what, if anything, is in ACIM that isn't included in Buddha's teaching.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 3:59 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
To me that's what Buddhism seems to be missing. The inner Guide. I see Buddhism removing the unhelpful voice, but I don't see it adding Helpful Voice. This may just be the Buddhism I've been exposed to.

You really should do more research into Buddhism. Explanation and instruction are available all over the Net. It's one thing to not know but another to be willfully not knowing. Keep reading MCTB2!


RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 4:09 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Jason Massie:
the course was meant to be done and then set aside.
I haven't done it yet.
Why dont you give proper insight meditation a try?
If you do, it would be helpful to set aside your identity as a acim student. It sounds like you have gotten a little dogmatic about it.
These comments are unwelcome. I'm not interested in any of your stories or opinions about me or what I am doing, thinking or how I identify.

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 4:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
To me that's what Buddhism seems to be missing. The inner Guide. I see Buddhism removing the unhelpful voice, but I don't see it adding Helpful Voice. This may just be the Buddhism I've been exposed to.

You really should do more research into Buddhism. Explanation and instruction are available all over the Net. It's one thing to not know but another to be willfully not knowing. Keep reading MCTB2!

More opinions about what I should do. Totally useless to me. also "It's one thing to not know but another to be willfully not knowing." sounds like unkind thoughts about the willfully ignorant, though I may have misread your tone.

What would be really helpful/informative might be something like "oh yes, the inner guide is in Buddhism too, it's called x", or "There is an equivalent of your inner Guide and it's discussed in MCTB2!".

more Radical Honesty
Answer
1/20/19 4:46 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
More Radical Honesty:
  • I feel attacked - (as the Course might say, there's no difference between thoughts about being attacked and thoughts about attacking, so they are just called "attack thoughts" - and I think it's best to admit them, especially among those on the path)(oh, defensiveness, is the same - I feel defensive)
  • I am also now worried about how moderators may react to some things I've said. I'm a newcomer after all, and I come into this space, don't read the favoured material, and then confront everyone's ego positions.
  • I've been ejected from a lot of internet spaces. I don't subscribe to the normal social rules. So I've mostly given up and started writing my own set of rules.
  • Often I am surprised. I don't manage to anticipate people's reactions. I think it may be that I don't expect people to have ego in the places I don't have ego, and then of course they do, and feel terribly hurt by things I've said. hmmm. There's something in MCTB2 that I keep thinking of. Where Daniel talks about sort of being like an alien in a trenchcoat or something. That's how it is for me, but I so easily forget that others are not like me, they don't see things how I see things. My current working theory is that I was already at some advanced stage when I was born (so I never had the experience of being an ordinary person). oh no, the master is interjecting to say that it's because I'm not native to earth. Everyone is extra crazy here.
  • I wonder what you will all make of me now.

RE: more Radical Honesty
Answer
1/20/19 6:00 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
Let's take a breath, calm down a take things one by one:

1. By asking that you read more about Buddhism I'm responding to your own comments saying that you don't know much about it. I'm suggesting that you learn about it to remove that objection.

2. Buddhism is about removing obstacles, yes, but removing those obstacles has the purpose of revealing the clear view, honesty, compassion and basic sanity that lies beneath them.

I'm a moderator here and I can state with certainty that you haven't done anything horribly wrong. That said, maybe being a little less confrontational would help, especially as you admit you don't know much about Buddhism yet criticize it openly on a decidedly Buddhist-leaning forum.

emoticon

I hope you'll find this constructive.

Clarification on why I am here
Answer
1/20/19 6:16 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
I'm in the bath but want to get this down/out while it's fresh:
  • While we may use different language, possibly different models, different methods, I assume our goal to be the same, or at least in the same direction.
  • The sign on the door said diversity was not only okay but sought, and this is an attitude I find conducive to learning.
  • This is a place where discussion of 'attainments' is not taboo.
  • I'm not necessarily here to learn any Buddhist practises or even Buddhist theory. I don't need it.
  • I just want to hang out with others who, like me, know that judgement/condemnation is unkind and not the way, and are committed (at least nominally) to it's complete undoing within themselves. And, ultimately, the end of suffering for all (to put it in Buddhist terms).

RE: ACIM student on first reading of MCTB2
Answer
1/20/19 6:18 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
Check out the section on no self vs. True self.

The course says there is an inner guide, the comforter, friend, holy spirit, right mindedness etc. However, it is not something magical. It part of the mind. In the end, this guide is an illusion per the metaphysics.

There is buddha nature, the dharma, the path etc. Again not magical. Again, in the end, it is illusory. Not self. It is just the flow of cause and effect.

Note that while I am responding to your request about an inner guide. I have added additional info for the benefit of others. Please dont take offense. emoticon

RE: Clarification on why I am here
Answer
1/20/19 7:22 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
Freyr LePage:
I'm in the bath but want to get this down/out while it's fresh:
  • While we may use different language, possibly different models, different methods, I assume our goal to be the same, or at least in the same direction.
  • The sign on the door said diversity was not only okay but sought, and this is an attitude I find conducive to learning.
  • This is a place where discussion of 'attainments' is not taboo.
  • I'm not necessarily here to learn any Buddhist practises or even Buddhist theory. I don't need it.
  • I just want to hang out with others who, like me, know that judgement/condemnation is unkind and not the way, and are committed (at least nominally) to it's complete undoing within themselves. And, ultimately, the end of suffering for all (to put it in Buddhist terms).

I see you claim to be second path on this website: https://freyrlepage.com/misperceptions/

What makes you claim to be second path? Can you elaborate on your experience?

RE: more Radical Honesty
Answer
1/21/19 5:50 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Let's take a breath, calm down a take things one by one:

1. By asking that you read more about Buddhism I'm responding to your own comments saying that you don't know much about it. I'm suggesting that you learn about it to remove that objection.

2. Buddhism is about removing obstacles, yes, but removing those obstacles has the purpose of revealing the clear view, honesty, compassion and basic sanity that lies beneath them.

I'm a moderator here and I can state with certainty that you haven't done anything horribly wrong. That said, maybe being a little less confrontational would help, especially as you admit you don't know much about Buddhism yet criticize it openly on a decidedly Buddhist-leaning forum.

emoticon

I hope you'll find this constructive.
NOTES I MADE LAST NIGHT
Yes, I find this constructive.

There must be some misunderstanding here.

You respond as if I'm not wise enough to make decisions for myself about what to do. I say I don't know much about it, because that is my assessment of the situation. But that does not mean that any action to learn more is necessarily warranted.

My intent was simply to report my initial findings and my thoughts, in case people found it interesting.

Yes, I'm quite comfortable with Buddhism's goal. My method may be very different though. It may even seem opposite.

If I think that Buddhism is a poopoo path for doodieheads (this is humour), I think I would be doing us all a disservice by keeping that thought a secret, however ill-conceived that thought may be.

One of my, unorthodox practices that you might not have picked up on, is to tell the truth about my thoughts, sharing them all (all the ones that are relevant anyway). Some of my thoughts are wise and some are not. I don't necessarily believe them/take them seriously and I don't expect anyone else to either. They are just thoughts.

I believe that our shared goal will lead to a way to shared framework that will enrich us both. I would do us both a disservice by abandoning my way in order to adopt yours. It is our difference that is most helpful. That is why I bring it up, draw attention to it.

I'm being instructed to withdraw. This was never meant to be a discussion. Just sharing my initial thoughts. But I took responders thoughts seriously, and well, that led us here.

In hindsight it probably would have been better to send my initial comments privately to Daniel, and not introduce myself in this way.

Thank you for helping me find my way home.

END OF LAST NIGHT'S NOTES

Well, that's a lot of bollocks isn't it. Hope you got something from it anyway.

RE: Clarification on why I am here
Answer
1/21/19 6:35 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:

I see you claim to be second path on this website: https://freyrlepage.com/misperceptions/

What makes you claim to be second path? Can you elaborate on your experience?
I've written more about that here. But briefly, the various descriptions of that stage that I have read, most accurately describes my experience. For example, I notice a significant lessening of ill-will and sensuous craving. There's a shift in my motivation*. And since 'attaining' that stage was never my goal, I don't have to worry so much that my mind is presenting an appearance to please me. I was going to say something else, but it's slipped out while I was being all concerned about how I might be perceived. Haha you see, conceit is still alive and well in me, so we can be sure I'm not an Arahant. And ill-will and sensuous craving still does arise, so we know I'm not 3rd path.

One of the things that initially made me very curious about MCTB2 is how much more information it might provide for path diagnosis. But for now, 2nd path is my best guess. If at some point I discover I'm at an earlier stage that will be fantastic news - the more wrong I find myself to be, the more possibility there is for things to be better. But I find it hard to imagine at this point.

*I want to say more about motivation. So, about lust. I still do experience it, but it nolonger seems to alter my behaviour. I sort of just have this ongoing mmmm "eye fixed solely on Truth". I suppose I'm talking about what i perceive as my transition between 1st and second path, though I might be wrong about the point at which that happened. If you want to know about my experience of transition between uh, what do you call it, nothing and 1st path? I mention it quite briefly in this essay.

Is that helpful? I'm not sure how helpful talking about these experiences is. Often feel that nudging onlookers along so that they have the experience themselves, is better. Another's enlightenment is worthless to us. We need to have it ourselves to be free.

One thing I'm not particularly interested in, is debating my 'attainment' with those who don't have it. That's why I haven't posted in the claiming attainments section. At this point I'm not even looking for help in testing it, especially since what stage I'm at in terms of buddhist models has no implications for my practise.

Error
Answer
1/25/19 4:42 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
I don't do apologies, at least not in the traditonal way (I prefer not to assign guilt or blame to anyone, including myself), but I would like to acknowledge that I misread the social space I was entering. This happens a lot for me - it's an autism thing.

I hope you will attribute any issues you have with things I've said or how I've said them, to my ignorance and personal quirks rather than to the practises I follow.

Be well

Freyr

RE: Error
Answer
1/25/19 7:52 PM as a reply to Freyr LePage.
Freyr LePage:
I don't do apologies, at least not in the traditonal way (I prefer not to assign guilt or blame to anyone, including myself), but I would like to acknowledge that I misread the social space I was entering. This happens a lot for me - it's an autism thing.

I hope you will attribute any issues you have with things I've said or how I've said them, to my ignorance and personal quirks rather than to the practises I follow.

Be well

Freyr

Well I'd like to hear more about the specific things in ACIM, what they are, how they work, and whether you think they have an equivalent in Buddhism.

Just so you know, the path model most commonly followed here does not provide for the loss of ill will or sensuous craving, so for instance I'm 3rd and I still have those things.

In case it is useful information for you, starting a response with "these comments are unwelcome" or "totally useless to me" is likely to be interpreted as hostile and unkind in virtually any space.

RE: Error
Answer
1/26/19 8:56 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:

"these comments are unwelcome" or "totally useless to me" is likely to be interpreted as hostile and unkind in virtually any space.
Yes, I thought this space was different in ways that it is not.

Well I'd like to hear more about the specific things in ACIM, what they are, how they work, and whether you think they have an equivalent in Buddhism.
This isn't a good space for me. If you want to discuss further, you'll have to meet me in my world, on my terms.