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Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter

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Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 12:36 AM
For topical sake of discussion, I posit this (my current state of thinking), in counter-balance to all the mapping that seems incesant here:

Your dhamma diagnosis doesn't matter.

What matters is your actions. What matters is, as conditions in your life change, what is your relationship to them? What matters is causes and conditions. 

Maybe a dhamma diagnosis helps understand things, but it only matters in the sense that it alters conditions such that you moved from a place of suffering to a place of relatively less suffering & those interactions with the world & the other from a place of suffering to a place of less suffering.

A dhamma diagnosis is just another cause/condition for other things. 

Is it useful or not? I posit: mostly not. 

It's too easy to be entranced by the nature of your own experience and how that has changed over time. Mostly, that's what people are doing in daily life, being entranced in their experience and the way it's changing. Dhamma diagnosis can't be "well my experience is like this now, previously it was like that"... why not?

The measure of personal change is how conditions have changed, and the role 'you'[0] play in those causal networks. Maybe, for instance, gradually you come to a feeling that there's no experience in the world worth repeating. So causally "wanting" is absent in certain circumstances. Maybe, at somepoint, it's absent in all circumstances. like losing a limb... causal networks able to catch a ball with your right arm will not arise. Causal networks that involve motivations caused by wanting will not arise.  

This is the traditional fetters model. 

Take the number of times there's dhamma diagnosis and it causally feedbacks in order to remove the taints, by say, seeing the unsatisfactory nature of all experience and how there being an 'experiencer' is inherintly stressfull, and then take the number of times there's a dhamma diagnosis and it causes people to be further entranced by what is going on with their own experience? I think you could count on one hand the number of time dhamma diagnosis has fed back to benefit insight directly. [Causally, I think it could be encouraging, or give hope, when given by a well respected teacher... In that sense it could benefit insight, but rather indirectly.] Then you have to weight that against the benefit (or lack thereof) of how many times it encourages further self-view and identifying with one's own experience. 

Thoughts? Views?

DISCLAIMER: DANIEL JONES IS NOT EVEN A STREAM ENTERER[1] AND USED TO STUDY PHILOSOPHY SO PROBABLY HAS A SHIT-TONNE OF WRONG VIEWS CHARACTERISED AS PAPANCA AND CONCEPTUAL THINKING ABOUT DHAMMA, TAKE THIS WITH A SHOVEL LOAD OF SALT. BUT HE THINKS THIS MIGHT BENEFIT OTHERS & HIS OWN DEVELOPMENT SO... 


[0] aka 'this dependently arisen mass of sankhara's/volitional formations, consciousness, contact, etc etc'
[1] and anyway, dhamma diagnosis doesn't matter. What matters is causal effects of this post... 

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 9:49 AM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
Dhamma diagnosis is more like something that you do, and part of the whole process.

You have experiences and you compare your experiences to your previous experiences and what other people say about their experiences.
Both are not very very useful (memory changes what really happened) and words are not good to describe experiences.

But it's natural, it happens, you have a wow experience or you think that your baseline shifted and you naturally think, "what was that?", "will it last?"

When you say "what matters is causes and conditions", well, evaluation (private or public) of one's experiences is another thing subject to that.

You think you attained something, you think it is important, people (or a teacher) say that you did, etc.
It's all a part of the causal network, but that doesn't make it less important.

If you're being hammered by a Dark Night, or doubting your accomplishments, or feeling great and refreshed after a shift or a very good concentration session, it matters to you.

Also, identification happens, you can't fight it by denying it, the very act of denying is another identification.
Interpretation, thoughts and views will not help much to get insight.

All you can do, is feel it's qualities (you know, the 3Cs), again and again, fast, wide, slow and narrow.

The mind will compare your experiences no matter what, if you are in the Dark Night and you don't use maps, you will compare it to when you were feeling better in the past (and probably make very bad decisions).

That said, I do agree that obsessing with maps is probably not useful, but denying them is also not that useful.

In meditation (and in most things in life) it's the people themselves who have to find the usefulness and limits of the tools they use to improve their life.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 1:59 PM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
DISCLAIMER: DANIEL JONES IS NOT EVEN A STREAM ENTERER[1] AND USED TO STUDY PHILOSOPHY SO PROBABLY HAS A SHIT-TONNE OF WRONG VIEWS CHARACTERISED AS PAPANCA AND CONCEPTUAL THINKING ABOUT DHAMMA, TAKE THIS WITH A SHOVEL LOAD OF SALT. BUT HE THINKS THIS MIGHT BENEFIT OTHERS & HIS OWN DEVELOPMENT SO... 

Given your caveat, Daniel Jones, why even weigh in here and with this topic? I'm really curious about your intent.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 5:24 PM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
Daniel Jones:
For topical sake of discussion, I posit this (my current state of thinking), in counter-balance to all the mapping that seems incesant here:

Your dhamma diagnosis doesn't matter.

What matters is your actions. What matters is, as conditions in your life change, what is your relationship to them? What matters is causes and conditions. 

Maybe a dhamma diagnosis helps understand things, but it only matters in the sense that it alters conditions such that you moved from a place of suffering to a place of relatively less suffering & those interactions with the world & the other from a place of suffering to a place of less suffering.

A dhamma diagnosis is just another cause/condition for other things. 

Is it useful or not? I posit: mostly not. 

It's too easy to be entranced by the nature of your own experience and how that has changed over time. Mostly, that's what people are doing in daily life, being entranced in their experience and the way it's changing. Dhamma diagnosis can't be "well my experience is like this now, previously it was like that"... why not?

The measure of personal change is how conditions have changed, and the role 'you'[0] play in those causal networks. Maybe, for instance, gradually you come to a feeling that there's no experience in the world worth repeating. So causally "wanting" is absent in certain circumstances. Maybe, at somepoint, it's absent in all circumstances. like losing a limb... causal networks able to catch a ball with your right arm will not arise. Causal networks that involve motivations caused by wanting will not arise.  

This is the traditional fetters model. 

Take the number of times there's dhamma diagnosis and it causally feedbacks in order to remove the taints, by say, seeing the unsatisfactory nature of all experience and how there being an 'experiencer' is inherintly stressfull, and then take the number of times there's a dhamma diagnosis and it causes people to be further entranced by what is going on with their own experience? I think you could count on one hand the number of time dhamma diagnosis has fed back to benefit insight directly. [Causally, I think it could be encouraging, or give hope, when given by a well respected teacher... In that sense it could benefit insight, but rather indirectly.] Then you have to weight that against the benefit (or lack thereof) of how many times it encourages further self-view and identifying with one's own experience. 

Thoughts? Views?

DISCLAIMER: DANIEL JONES IS NOT EVEN A STREAM ENTERER[1] AND USED TO STUDY PHILOSOPHY SO PROBABLY HAS A SHIT-TONNE OF WRONG VIEWS CHARACTERISED AS PAPANCA AND CONCEPTUAL THINKING ABOUT DHAMMA, TAKE THIS WITH A SHOVEL LOAD OF SALT. BUT HE THINKS THIS MIGHT BENEFIT OTHERS & HIS OWN DEVELOPMENT SO... 


[0] aka 'this dependently arisen mass of sankhara's/volitional formations, consciousness, contact, etc etc'
[1] and anyway, dhamma diagnosis doesn't matter. What matters is causal effects of this post... 

aloha daniel,

   I agree about the obsession with maps being counter-productive in overcoming ego. A "map is not the territory" has become a truism, so of course it is wrong. Lewis carroll once wrote (in "sylvie and bruno concluded") about a map with a "scale of a mile to a mile." One character noted there were difficulties in using the map and said, "we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well." (Luis borges wrote a little story based on this idea.)

   There is, presumably, a "territory" (ding an sich, if you philosophize), but what we think we know is more of a map. We see what we believe is out there based on sensual clues and (mostly) context. The more context, the fewer the clues we use to fill in the map we use to "navigate" the world. So-called "experience" provides context. The more experienced a person is, the less they actually encounter the world in all its randomity, vigor, and beauty. Children and "empty" adepts experience the freshness and vitality of life.

   There is also a lot of talk about the commentary that goes on in people's heads, the "inner dialogue" which seems to overlay experience with anything from sober and considered commentary to utter babble; more or less. If what we see and hear and believe is "real" is actually just a map, then all this inner commentary is a secondary sort of map, at one remove from actual "experience." The kazoo playing over the orchestra. Then we have the comments of others, some wise perhaps but most not, as a tertiary source of mapping. By this time we have gotten to a pretty attenuated version of "reality." Tatters of old maps crop up here and there in the deserts, as in borge's story.

   Plato noticed that we see circles, horses, people, but the ones we actually see with our senses are not perfect circles, perfect horses or perfect people, they deviate from perfection in countless small ways. He concluded that the idea of perfection is more real than the experiences of things that are more or less conformable to the idea.

   I think in actual fact there is constant feedback between novelty (randomity) and context (pattern; plato's "idea"). What conforms to pattern is seen as right, good, beautiful, just. The Pattern, what is good, beautiful, just and true, evolves intuitively in accordance with encounters with randomity. We interfere with this natural process when we try to take directions instead of trustingour own reason and intuition. Logic tells us that what has happened will happen again (pattern). Intuition sees everything new (random). We have two hemispheres, and the logical left distinguishes "symbol" from "reality." The intuitive right half probably cannot distinguish symbol from reality, dreaming and hallucinating its reality. We use these two halves of the brain to provide parallax, as the eyes do; a sense of depth.

   This said, you go straight from decrying an obsession with maps to denying that anyone's dhamma diagnosis matters. I can't go that far. What about the zen mondos, the q & a that so often leads to sudden, overpowering insight? 

   The delusion that our thinking is strictly our own has to do with accepting the subjectivity of the ego, which the buddha tells us is false, there being no self-nature in nature. We can only think in terms of dialogue, anything else is babble; as wittengenstein points out, "there is no private language." The hindus have the image of the lotus blossom, which floats on the surface of the pond, but rises and falls with that surface, never losing touch with the supporting water. So we interface our own map with other's maps, while language itself provides a metamap coincident with the territory of conscious human experience. We can only rise as high as our (human) imagination can go. It doesn't matter what we may imagine another knows, if we don't know it ourselves. There was once a half-wise fish, who approached a wise fish and asked, "please sir, can you tell me where the ocean is?" The wise fish replied, "The ocean is all around you." The half-wise fish, disappointed, swam off saying, "but this is just water."

   If we try to adapt the map of another to our own needs we will be confused. We will translate their map points into our own, simply to try to make sense of it. Our skills at discerning patterns will overlay one set of patterns on another, causing dissonance. If we are not true to our own experience, we will lose any real sense of who we are. I suspect this is the cause of dark nights and letdowns. When one's map (lright brain) and one's territory (left brain) don't coincide, we feel distress and have difficulty coping. This is often caused by accepting uncritically what people say and trying to believe in contradictory things. No one can walk the path for us. We have to be path-oriented and not goal-oriented.

   Now, perhaps I diagnose a dhamma "problem" as one of attachment to maps? Is this not what we are doing? We're not saying my map is better than your map, and that you should use mine. Yet there is guidance, in the form of "throw away your map." 

   As for "the measure of change" being pragmatism, that's just another map. Or a clock. Maybe, as nietzsche says, you gradually come to feeling that all experiences are ones you will be willing to repeat endlessly, as "eternal recurrence." Maybe the endless sequence of human lives is our "eternal recurrence."

terry


from gregory bateson, "mind and nature":



2. THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY, AND THE NAME IS NOT THE THING NAMED

   This principle, made famous by Alfred Korzybski, strikes at many levels. It reminds us in a general way that when we  think of coconuts or pigs, there are no coconuts or pigs in the brain. But in a abstract way, Korzybski's statement asserts that in all thought or percep­tion or communication about perception, there is a transformation, coding, between the report and the thing reported, the Ding an sich. Above all, the relation between the report and that mysterious thing reported tends to have the nature of a classification, an assignment of the thing to a class. Naming is always classifying, and mapping is essentially the same as naming.

   Korzybski was, on the whole, speaking as a philosopher, attempting to persuade people to discipline their manner of thinking. But he could not win. When we come to apply his dictum to the natural history of human mental process, the matter is not quite so simple. The distinction between the name and the thing named or the map and territory is perhaps really made only by the dominant hemisphere of the brain. The symbolic and affective hemisphere, normally on the right-hand side is probably unable to distinguish name from thing named. It therefore happens that certain nonrational types of behavior are necessarily present in human life. We do, in fact, have two hemispheres; and we cannot get away from that fact. Each hemisphere does, in fact, operate somewhat differently from the other, and we cannot get away from the tangles that that difference proposes.

   For example, with the dominant hemisphere, we can regard such a thing as a flag as a sort of name of the country or organization that it represents. But the right hemisphere does not draw this distinction and regards the flag as sacramentally identical with what it represents. So "Old Glory" is the United States . If somebody steps on it, the response may be rage. And this rage will not be diminished by an explanation of map-territory relations. (After all, the man who tramples the flag is equally identifying it with that for which it stands.) There will always and necessarily be a large number of situations in which the response is not guided by the logical distinction between the name and the thing named .

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 5:39 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
[quote=Ernest Michael Olmos

]The mind will compare your experiences no matter what, if you are in the Dark Night and you don't use maps, you will compare it to when you were feeling better in the past (and probably make very bad decisions).

That said, I do agree that obsessing with maps is probably not useful, but denying them is also not that useful.

In meditation (and in most things in life) it's the people themselves who have to find the usefulness and limits of the tools they use to improve their life.






aloha ernest,

   This reminds me of a joke:

Q: Hey farmer, how do I get to Dark Night?

A:  Oh stranger, you can't get there from here.


terry

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 8:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
DISCLAIMER: DANIEL JONES IS NOT EVEN A STREAM ENTERER[1] AND USED TO STUDY PHILOSOPHY SO PROBABLY HAS A SHIT-TONNE OF WRONG VIEWS CHARACTERISED AS PAPANCA AND CONCEPTUAL THINKING ABOUT DHAMMA, TAKE THIS WITH A SHOVEL LOAD OF SALT. BUT HE THINKS THIS MIGHT BENEFIT OTHERS & HIS OWN DEVELOPMENT SO... 

Given your caveat, Daniel Jones, why even weigh in here and with this topic? I'm really curious about your intent.
Intent: cause the letting go of a view or identification. Reflection on the skillfulness of evaluating experience. Reflection on how identifying somewhere on the path can be further cause for suffering & confusion when experience changes and doesn't map your maps.

Disclaimer was also to balance the amount of assertion in the post. Somewhere between self-assertion & self-denial lies the middle way yeah?  I have enough practice time to begin to evaluate "what works for me, what doesn't", I've seen enough "fireworks" to mistake them for "oh this must be enlightenment!" but once again it was just identification with experience & some aspect of experience that changes. (Including "unknowing" experiences). (This is an activity I am carrying out right now as I talk to you, since it seems this identification with experiences matters to have a voice. "this experience happened, then this happened..." "Yep, calling it stream entry" "I am the stream-enterer!" babow, personality view) What matters is the fetters/taints. What matters is causality. I find this empowering. If I was overly concerned with dharma diagnosis, or mistaken this mapping and activity of evaluating experience as insight, I would be in a big fucking rut & probably would be trying to repeat those "enlightenment experiences". I think it's easily capable anybody coming onto this forum could have the same problem. 

I met some people who were really concerned about maps & it seems to me unrelated to practice, it's another self-view type thought to lable "Oh, map thought", I think it's possible to confuse insight with thoughts about where you are on a map, that's was the intent behind this post. Insight would be seeing the changing nature of the map thoughts, how there's a subtle stress involved in this self view, something that has to be defended, some standard to live up to (which is why I think people switch off when they consider the fetters model, the causal model - as opposed to this new hybrid 'what is occuring in your experience' model. Identifying with experience, "I'm this sort of basketball player"

And I think having a view challenged is one way to let it go if it's unhelpful, unskillful. I consider there to be some very achieved practioners here. I don't know my dhamma diagnosis. Maybe someone who is down the path can consider if this view is skillful or not... as it certainly is causal in my practice. 

Maybe what I said has no value.

There must have been a really good reason the buddha didn't want discussion of attainments in the Vinaya emoticon

Nothing is worth clinging to, including the dharma diagnosis emoticon What matters is the causality of it.

It doesn't matter if I consider myself a stream enterer or not, what matters is does this post incline people to giving up a view? Maybe my style is abrasive and causes stress among others and make them more inclined to buckle down on a view they have, in which case I have failed. Sitting and evaluating your experience is just further activity that's content, not insight. Evaluation of your self in reference to experience is not insight. Seeing the process of evaluation of your self in reference to experience is, watching the mind & body, whether that's thoughts/images/sights/smells/feelings as a truck driver / programmer / basket ball player or stream-enterer.

This is why your dharma diagnosis does not matter. 

Getting exact and precise about what is occuring now, mindfulness, might be able to be done with this language, but there's a whole english literature of amazing phenomenological words we have to pick out there emoticon So talking about "equanimity" might be an aspect of what is occuring, that is, the absence of reactions and the mind going to meeting each object as it arises and passes all by itself all on its own with very little feeling of a centre. But that's a feature of the world. It's not you.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 9:04 PM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
Your training as a surgeon doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you manage to save lives and don’t kill too many trying. emoticon

The usefulness for me as an individual practicioner:
The maps help me navigate. I know what to look for and know when I need to secondguess myself and what challenges to take on. They make the darknight predictable and managable. Recognizing the nana and naming it takes away so much of its power. Also, I can be mentally prepared for the next challenge. I can see why it might be problematic for many people, but I’m the nerdy type. The maps gave me detailed knowledge of the terrain. I’m not interested in comparing myself to others. I just want to know what I’m doing so that I can avoid the traps. The maps have successfully helped me with that so far. Also, they inspire me. I enjoy getting to the bottom with the technical details just for the fun of it.

The usefulness with regard to teaching:
Sure, people can be asshats even with attainments in their baggage, but I’m pretty good at recognizing asshats, and they tend to avoid me. That leaves me with the risk of bumping in to teachers that are nice people who mean well but don’t know what they are doing and thus could mess me up. I wouldn’t want that. If I were the teacher, I would want to be sure that I had enough insights to avoid messing up my students. Anything else would be unethical.

There are many different ways of growing as a person. Why not combine them to the best of one’s ability? Being a compassionate human being is a great goal and certainly a goal of mine. I think it is more likely that I succeed if I can also avoid unnecessary suffering and not least understand the mechanisms of suffering to the benefit of all sentient beings. Getting insights is not a guarantee, but it certainly doesn’t get in the way.

If you don’t find the maps useful, then don’t use them. As simple as that.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 11:00 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
hi linda, I read many of your early posts here and I took lots of joy reading them, I had many smiles as you found the maps empowering & a way of making sense of earlier life emoticon

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Your training as a surgeon doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you manage to save lives and don’t kill too many trying. emoticon


hehe I won't argue that point. emoticon



The usefulness for me as an individual practicioner:
The maps help me navigate. I know what to look for and know when I need to secondguess myself and what challenges to take on. They make the darknight predictable and managable. Recognizing the nana and naming it takes away so much of its power. Also, I can be mentally prepared for the next challenge. I can see why it might be problematic for many people, but I’m the nerdy type. The maps gave me detailed knowledge of the terrain. I’m not interested in comparing myself to others. I just want to know what I’m doing so that I can avoid the traps. The maps have successfully helped me with that so far. Also, they inspire me. I enjoy getting to the bottom with the technical details just for the fun of it.


Yes! The "even though it seems everything is breaking up and decaying into nothing, i'm not crazy, this is a sign of progress" I think this is what the B was onto when he was saying noble friendship is the whole path.

There is * a lot * of hardship out there, and having one's experiences validated by others who do display those behaviors of virtues of compassion and kindness and so on, is a remarkable blessing & can cause faith and redirection of energy into practice where there would have been self-doubt.

On this basis though, it's the quality of saddha, faith & noble friendship - the encouragement that is the cause of skillful / wholesome states to arise (e.g. further effort & patience, continuing with the practice). It's not the diagnosis per se. It's the wise discrimination quality of a noble friend.


The usefulness with regard to teaching:
Sure, people can be asshats even with attainments in their baggage, but I’m pretty good at recognizing asshats, and they tend to avoid me.


...a gift!...


That leaves me with the risk of bumping in to teachers that are nice people who mean well but don’t know what they are doing and thus could mess me up. I wouldn’t want that. If I were the teacher, I would want to be sure that I had enough insights to avoid messing up my students. Anything else would be unethical.


I think this is determined by how they behave around others, what is the feeling? There's perhaps the rituals that give proper respect & bowing etc, but even with all those, when in the presence are they like a friend trying to help you out or do they demand these things. Bowing and formalities can be rather helpful in this way, cause a teacher who hasn't fully escaped mara's armies to quickly face the results of their 'attainments', have they escaped conceit and longing for fame? emoticon



There are many different ways of growing as a person. Why not combine them to the best of one’s ability? Being a compassionate human being is a great goal and certainly a goal of mine. I think it is more likely that I succeed if I can also avoid unnecessary suffering and not least understand the mechanisms of suffering to the benefit of all sentient beings. Getting insights is not a guarantee, but it certainly doesn’t get in the way.


One thing to consider: the sattipatanna sutta begins (paraphrasing from memory, "yogi begins by finds seclusion [from hinderances] having given up longing and covetedness with regards to the world" one of the best bits of advice I was given on this was "consider this as the longing and covetedness with regards to your experience" after all, that's the contact with 'the world' emoticon Consider that wishing to attain or repeat prior experiences, saying "i got this under my belt" or "I would like to have this", while noble compared to many other things/ sense desires etc, and considerably more skillful, they can sometimes be unskillful, and cross over covetedness of others attainments or what you've read in the suttas. A retreat becomes a business transaction: "Ok, by quarter 3 we will attain stream entry". Patience is essential.


If you don’t find the maps useful, then don’t use them. As simple as that.


Agree emoticon

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/11/19 10:56 PM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
If I may be so brash as to deviate from our regular sub-sub-tradition programming of mahasi-sub-u-pandita-sub-student-sub-daniel-theravada mix... leave the pali canon for a second, and quote from the Diamond Sutra of the Mahayana Tradition... gives quite clear (and seemlying paradoxical) criteria, and causal criteria (i.e. 'would not think this thought') for what extinguishment of personality view is (stream entry). This is sort of a consequence (with other things) of nana of 'mind and body' "Ah, there's just mind & body interacting" next nana "...causally..." then around 3 characteristics "mind is going on by itself" then at some later higher stage disidentification even with intentions, sankharas, awareness, knowing and so on... Chapter 9... http://diamond-sutra.com/read-the-diamond-sutra-here/diamond-sutra-chapter-9/

Buddha then asked, “What do you think, Subhuti, does one who has entered the stream which flows to Enlightenment, say ‘I have entered the stream’?”“No, Buddha”, Subhuti replied. “A true disciple entering the stream would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything. Only that disciple who does not differentiate themselves from others, who has no regard for name, shape, sound, odor, taste, touch or for any quality can truly be called a disciple who has entered the stream.”

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 3:56 AM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
Diagnosis is just a means, not and end, and it’s only relevant on the side of the coin that is suchness. Of course even diagnosis is empty. Duh. That’s the paradox of striving to get away from striving, a.k.a. life. emoticon

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 6:15 AM as a reply to terry.
Nice!!

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 7:12 AM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
And I think having a view challenged is one way to let it go if it's unhelpful, unskillful. I consider there to be some very achieved practioners here. I don't know my dhamma diagnosis. Maybe someone who is down the path can consider if this view is skillful or not... as it certainly is causal in my practice. 

Thanks, Daniel, for your detailed reply. I get it. Maps probably should be taken lightly and with a grain of salt. Everyone doesn't follow maps and maps don't describe everyone's practice. They can indeed be used incorrectly and can allow ego to dominate. It's common sense to be skeptical. My personal experience was that in working with a teacher who was familiar with the Theravada maps it was nice to know that much of the crazy shit that was going on for me wasn't one-off crazy shit. It was part of the program, so to speak. It was also pretty obvious that my teacher was often guessing about where he thought I was on the maps during any particular catch-up session, so it made me skeptical. In the big picture, over the years, I think the maps helped me. In the near term, week by week during my practice, maybe not so much. I also found the maps to be much more useful early in my vipassana practice, and then not so much after a while, if at all.

Like most things we humans get, maps are a "maybe" kind of thing. Human experience is so vast and varied, after all.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 10:13 AM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
Hi Daniel,

IMO insight maps don't need to be in conflict with a fetters model. The insight maps are just one attempt at a more granular map of the territory in between the fetters milestones.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 2:13 PM as a reply to Milo.
What Milo said. And ironically, a fetters model is actually also a map.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 2:48 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Everything we perceive is a map  emoticon

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 5:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Exactly. It’s just a variance with regard to detail, precision and perspective.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/12/19 6:25 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
About the maps being less and less useful as the path progresses... Maybe that’s because there is always a meta level added to the pattern that has been woven so far? That has to do with the expansion and contraction and multidimensionality, I would guess. Hence the subnanas and subjahnas and increasing complexity.

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/13/19 10:11 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think the path opens up to more possibilities as it moves along, so mapping that kind of thing and all the potential outcomes and complexities could very well be impossible. I don't really know, though. I'm happy I got through the early stages without being fixated on a map. I got the map version more or less vicariously, as I described above. My online mediation diary starts after stream entry, which I somehow managed to have and not know what it was. Shit would happen and my teacher would say, "That's the blah blah blah stage." I didn't go back and study the maps when he'd say stuff like that, so I'm not all that well versed on them. Others are much, much better at it, and at using the maps as a diagnostic tool. 

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/13/19 5:19 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Your training as a surgeon doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you manage to save lives and don’t kill too many trying. emoticon

The usefulness for me as an individual practicioner:
The maps help me navigate. I know what to look for and know when I need to secondguess myself and what challenges to take on. They make the darknight predictable and managable. Recognizing the nana and naming it takes away so much of its power. Also, I can be mentally prepared for the next challenge. I can see why it might be problematic for many people, but I’m the nerdy type. The maps gave me detailed knowledge of the terrain. I’m not interested in comparing myself to others. I just want to know what I’m doing so that I can avoid the traps. The maps have successfully helped me with that so far. Also, they inspire me. I enjoy getting to the bottom with the technical details just for the fun of it.

The usefulness with regard to teaching:
Sure, people can be asshats even with attainments in their baggage, but I’m pretty good at recognizing asshats, and they tend to avoid me. That leaves me with the risk of bumping in to teachers that are nice people who mean well but don’t know what they are doing and thus could mess me up. I wouldn’t want that. If I were the teacher, I would want to be sure that I had enough insights to avoid messing up my students. Anything else would be unethical.

There are many different ways of growing as a person. Why not combine them to the best of one’s ability? Being a compassionate human being is a great goal and certainly a goal of mine. I think it is more likely that I succeed if I can also avoid unnecessary suffering and not least understand the mechanisms of suffering to the benefit of all sentient beings. Getting insights is not a guarantee, but it certainly doesn’t get in the way.

If you don’t find the maps useful, then don’t use them. As simple as that.

aloha linda,

   "Maps help me navigate." We are talking about maps which purportedly lead to "enlightenment."  A map of "the Way." Just because people call it a map doesn't mean that it can help you find your Way. Maps are supposed to function as aids to navigation, so we imagine we can have a map for a destination such as "enlightenment" but like a journey to infinity, no map can do this. It is like trying to climb a ladder to the moon. It is like swimming in the ocean and looking for the ocean. Nasruddin on his mule, looking for his mule. There is an old indian story about the journey to serendip, an old name for sri lanka. A couple is on their way to serendip, and all sorts of wonderful adventures happen to them, making it evident that the path is truly the goal; from this story we get the word serendipity. Perhaps the map leads you to hells you would not visit if they were not pictured so seductively in the brochure. Enjoy the hot tub, the wheel of fire. At least you feel something. Hell may be a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.

   If we didn't call them maps, and just thought of the records of people's spiritual journeys as anecdotes and insights, our pleasure in these materials would be more understandable, and less potentially damaging. Less of a lottery ticket for someone with no way out. If a map is just a picture, or a drawing, and represents the "territory" only in a symbolic way, like art, then we may be relating to these materials correctly. They are only materials. There are both zen and sufi stories of someone's knowledge being challenged by throwing all of their precious books in the water, or in the fire. The spirit is "territory" we want to know viscerally, like the back of our hand, like the tongue knows the teeth.


   Speaking of maps, we are speaking of disembodied teaching. Speaking of individuals, we may describe them as "asshats." Please don't get angry if I gently suggest that not everyone who avoids you is necessarily an asshat. Facebook's ceo zuckerman thought people avoided him because he was too smart. It's the way egos think.


   The whole teacher-student dynamic is problematical for me. I've never had either one. Like most of us, I expect. I look for friends. And try to be a friend.

   You say, "If you don’t find the maps useful, then don’t use them. As simple as that." It was this statement that caused me to reply. Because it is just not that simple. My basic orientation is confucian, and confucius was essentially about "rectification of the names." For example, he rewrote history in such a way as to refer to sages as "princes" and princes as "tyrants." If people are calling something "a map to enlightenment" and it seems to be more like a map to various hells supposedly on the Way, I have to question both the path and the goal. If it is called "the path of purification," I wonder what is purified, and how these practices lead to compassion and insight into non-self. If a material is recommended, explicitly or implicitly, its efficacy is subject to examination.


terry



from anthony demello, "song of the bird":


CHANGE THE WORLD BY CHANGING ME

The Sufi Bayazid says this about himself:
'I was a revolutionary when I
was young and all my prayer to God was
'Lord, give me the energy to change
the world. '

':As I approached middle age
and realized that half
my life was gone without my
changing a single soul,
I changed my prayer to
'Lord, give me the grace to change
all those who come in contact
with me. Just my family and friends,
and I shall be satisfied. '

'Now that I am an old man
and my days are numbered,
my one prayer
is, lord, give me the grace to change myself. '
If I had prayed for this right
from the start
I should not have wasted my life. " 

RE: Your Dhamma Diagnosis doesn't matter
Answer
4/13/19 7:45 PM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
Daniel Jones:
If I may be so brash as to deviate from our regular sub-sub-tradition programming of mahasi-sub-u-pandita-sub-student-sub-daniel-theravada mix... leave the pali canon for a second, and quote from the Diamond Sutra of the Mahayana Tradition... gives quite clear (and seemlying paradoxical) criteria, and causal criteria (i.e. 'would not think this thought') for what extinguishment of personality view is (stream entry). This is sort of a consequence (with other things) of nana of 'mind and body' "Ah, there's just mind & body interacting" next nana "...causally..." then around 3 characteristics "mind is going on by itself" then at some later higher stage disidentification even with intentions, sankharas, awareness, knowing and so on... Chapter 9... http://diamond-sutra.com/read-the-diamond-sutra-here/diamond-sutra-chapter-9/

Buddha then asked, “What do you think, Subhuti, does one who has entered the stream which flows to Enlightenment, say ‘I have entered the stream’?”“No, Buddha”, Subhuti replied. “A true disciple entering the stream would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything. Only that disciple who does not differentiate themselves from others, who has no regard for name, shape, sound, odor, taste, touch or for any quality can truly be called a disciple who has entered the stream.”


nice...