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Stream entry utility and Actualism

Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/21/19 3:44 PM
At the risk of having fires erupt from people's heads at the mere mention of Actualism, I will respond to a tweet here, as I don't really like Twitter for anything but the most superficial discussions.

The tweet:

"@danielmingram You said you did Actualism and you liked it. Does stream entry happen with Actualism? Is stream entry useful outside of Vipassana?

I'm talking about what you posted about

nevermind what Richard thinks you have or have not accomplished."

My response:

I don't think that mixing the Actualism maps with any other maps is helpful. I got to watch a few years of this on the DhO, and it was basically a clusterfuck of unhelpful crazy. I have never seen it lead to anything good, and it definitely lead to much that was bad. I am curious about why you wish to mix the maps?

I haven't found good correlates of results, just correlations with a few aspects of technique, such as tuning into sensuous beauty being like focusing on the Awakening Factors of Rapture and Mindfulness, for example, and some things about noticing feelings being echoed in various suttas about following feelings.

Stream entry is useful and transformative regardless of any consideration of technique or tradition. It is a possible upgrade to general human mental physiology and function, not the property of a sect or religious strain. I highly recommend it regardless of any other concerns or issues of dogma, language, or culture.

I am curious about what your personal interest is, as these discussions tend to be much more interesting when grounded in a person's own experience and their own curiosity.

For those in the peanut gallery, let's keep this on the rails if at all possible. Thanks!


RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/21/19 4:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Good read, thanks for the link.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/21/19 4:44 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Peanut gallery mode, activate!

Two main things strike me about Actualism: 1) The philosophy is really bad, and requires that one be willfully ignorant about most contemplative traditions, but the actual technique seems pretty good and doesn't seem to follow from the philosophy in any meaningful way. 2) The practice itself is better compared to Dzogchen than Theravadan versions of Vipassana.

Point 1 pretty much stands alone. Point 2 is probably more fruitful. It really strikes me when reading about your (Daniel's) experience. That neutral-yet-pleasant field sounds like that spacious awareness the Dzogchenpas are always on about. The simple niceness of the field without needing to be messed with sounds like that primordial purity the Dzogchenpas are always on about. The total immanence and integratedness of it sounds like that spontaneous presence the Dzogchenpas are always on about. Even the methods of "how am I experiencing this moment of being alive" and "neither repressing nor accepting" have some resonance.

Experiencing a PCE sounds a bit like what Loch Kelly would call a "glimpse," when one temporarily clears away the conceptual muck to look at the lustre underneath.

If one removed the weird anti-tradition bias and strangely anti-human ethos of Actualism and just kept the lived experience, I imagine it might look a bit like Dzogchen.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/21/19 5:15 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Dear Daniel,

If someone was given a choice to choose either vipassana or actualism as a single practice for the rest of his/her life, would vipassana be a "preferable" choice, and why?
In other words, are buddhist attanments "superior" to actualist ones, in terms of the degree of improvement in our well-being, quality of experiencing life, or however you want to call it?

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/21/19 6:37 PM as a reply to Griffin.
@Griffin: your question about which to choose is luckily entirely artificial. I wouldn't believe Richard's 180 degrees quote, as what he describes as enlightenment is clearly phenomenologically different. Comparing "Buddhist" and "Actualist" attainments is less than helpful, in my view.

A PCE is very different from a "taste", at least as I experienced it and I believe as Richard et al define it. It has very unusual emotional, perceptual, and other components that make it seem to be its own thing. Years of attempting to map it to other states were a quagmire of stupidity, IMNHO. It stands on its own, in my view and experience. However, various people use the term PCE to mean various things, so it is entirely possible they are using it to mean something else, such as some powerful A&P or Equanimity or whatever. One must be careful with one's phenomenology here and not use these terms loosely.

My summary of the aspects of Actualism in practice that are of some demonstrable value which can easily be incorporated into one's practices and life are given at the end of that article, which was very carefully written as a result of a few years of very heated debates and a lot of experimentation on the part of friends and myself, and my opinions are still the same.

I think these discussions are most interesting if framed in terms such as, "I have profound FOMO regarding imagined choices of spiritual outcomes, so what should I do?" I would look at that FOMO.

If you are doing something Actualism-esque, track it back and see if it really is necessary or if you could just be happy now. Notice the sensuous beauty of this moment of being alive.

If you are doing something Vipassana-esque, consider the Sutta The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, and reflect on whether or not those thoughts are helpful and substitute positive mind states for those negative mind states. Be Mindful of the experiences that make up those thoughts and the rest of this moment, and cultive the Factors of Awakening called Rapture and Tranquility and Equanimity.

Oh, wait, is there any real difference between those two modes? If you can be certain that there is some critical difference, you have discernment beyond what I do.

Best wishes,


What is going on that you feel there must be some choice?

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/21/19 11:12 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Jumping in here because I periodically feel that there is something interesting going on in Actualism that I'm missing.

Daniel, you suggest that your Actualism-inspired instructions are fully compatible and complementary of standard 'mindfulness'? (If I'm understanding you correctly). But, historically you clearly didn't always feel this way. I'm referring to "PCE mode" vs "cycling mode". Is it not a bit revisionist to suggest the practices are so obviously compatible? Perhaps they may be compatible "in the end", but along the way they certainly weren't for you.

From my experience, it does seem reasonable to wonder if Actualism-ish practices would be preferable to do from the beginning. As you said yourself in the aforereferenced thread, there is a mode in which jhanas, nanas, cycling, vibrations, etc seem like a nightmare. I don't think this is just hypothetical theorizing.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/22/19 12:01 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Yes, you are right about various phases and relationships to the thing, as well as various appreciations of what the practice even was and how to do it.

The thing is, I started off with a high degree of induced neurodivergence before I even did the practices, so it is very hard to make generalizations that I am sure are on some sort of firm ground for those starting at different baselines.

As to the PCE, well, it was a remarkable thing when it would occur, true. From the PCE point of view, which truly feels "perfect", every other altered state seems, well, somehow lesser, or at least it did to me at those times. However, PCEs, like all relative states, don't last.

The odd thing is that, after having done this a while, eventually some shifts happened, and then PCEs not only weren't available, there was no way to even get a sense of what "direction" I would "look in" to even try to make one arise, like the entire concept no longer applied or had been a dream. I have no idea what to make of this either, as it appears to be a unique report, so far as I am aware.

Make of all this what you will, with that likely being some sort of Rorschach test of your previous beliefs and inclinations more than it likely has much to do with anything else. Best wishes to those who explore these fascinating topics for themselves.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/22/19 12:19 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
It's my tweet you were replying too. Thanks for being responsive.

In response to: 

> I have never seen [map-mixing between Actualism and anything else] lead to anything good,
>and it definitely lead to much that was bad. I
 am curious about why you wish to mix the maps?

I wasn't paying attention during the worse-than-useless discussions of map-mixing you are talking about. I'm not much interested in dharma maps. For me the question is whether stream entry is worth the effort and risk to get it, and I don't care much what map it is in. Sounds like you are saying that people don't routinely get it from Actualism, which is what I wanted to know.

>I am curious about what your personal interest is, as these discussions tend to be much
>more interesting when grounded in a person's own experience and their own curiosity.

I am interested in reestablishing a meditation practice after mostly recovering from being distracted by other stuff. I took Jeffrey Martin's course and liked his approach: most people don't get enlightened because people vary and most techniques don't work for most people. If people didn't vary, then dogmatism about meditation would work, because one person would succeed and then they could teach their technique to everyone else and it would work for them. But people vary, so that doesn't reliably work. Give up on the dogma and do the trial-and-error. If something works, you can usually notice by trying it for an hour a day for a week, so do the thing that works or do something else if the thing tried last week didn't work. He also had a specific list of things to try, and one exceptional thing that needed 30 days to figure out if it works, but that's details. Actualism and Vipassana were on that list. The flavor of Vipassana that he had there was from Shinzen Young. The flavor of Actualism was from someone I can't immediately recall, not Richard.

I've had a week or so total (in two blocks) where there was less internal dialogue than the irritating chatter I normally have, but it faded.

Actualism seems safer than Vipassana. Do you agree with that judgment?

Shinzen Young seems to think his do-nothing technique is an antidote for having a mind that is "too racy" after doing Vipassana. "Too racy" seems a lot like the manic-depressive cycles that people sometimes report from Vipassana, and also like things that are in the dharma maps described in MCTB (which I only vaguely remember since I read it years ago). Do you have any experience with do-nothing helping people have stable minds while doing Vipassana? The technique is described at and The latter is a better description, but it's a 15 minute video.

My original question was whether stream entry is something that seems likely to happen accidentally along the path of successfully doing Actualism, and you clearly answered that it isn't. Thanks for that.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/22/19 7:58 AM as a reply to Matthew.
I think even more comparable to Soto Zen or Dogen for reasons that both AF Richard and Dogen emphasize anatta of complete seeing through and emptying self/Self up to the point of total exertion, which is why both talk about infinite space and infinite time of the universe (with complete dissolving of the reification and identity of the metaphysical spaceless timeless) - more in

I think AF is good at pointing out that the slightest emotional affliction and feeling tone is tied to the sense of self (thus the term “feeling being”) and obscures the purity and perfection and intensity of the pristine apperceptive awareness of mere forms, colors, sounds, etc. It can be noticed to have a palpable shift even though both feeling tone mode and non feeling tone mode may already be free of duality after realization. Got a better understanding of this point this year from experience

The very clean, luminous, free, uncontaminated perfection and purity of sensate display without any trace of self/Self and even emotions is now my constant state. Since my breakthrough eight months ago, there has been a few times that feeling-like bodily sensations arise, but no longer the sort of feeling or affective tone or emotions in my day to day experience. But I do not wish to make claims of finality for some other reasons. 

The difference is a palpable shift from experience through a subtle feeling tone to completely selfless purity of the luminosity of the vivid silvery colors called table, spoon, and so on.. completely devoid of any sense of self/Self and feelings.

But it is important IMO to breakthrough by insight and realization of anatta first. The rest should follow naturally, eventually.

After the breakthrough this year in which apperceptive awareness became permanently 'switched on' and the purity and perfection of the radiant universe became constantly apparent, it wasn't long before my experience of total exertion (infinite time and space) became perpetual.


Some quotes on Soto Zen:

“The realization of the Buddhist patriarchs is perfectly realized real form. Real form is all dharmas. All dharmas are forms as they are, natures as they are, body as it is, the mind as it is, the world as it is, clouds and rain as they are, walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, as they are; sorrow and joy, movement and stillness, as they are; a staff and a whisk, as they are; a twirling flower and a smiling face, as they are; succession of the Dharma and affirmation, as they are; learning in practice and pursuing the truth, as they are; the constancy of pines and the integrity of bamboos, as they are. Shobogenzo, Shoho-Jisso[199]” - dogen

"Our present-day seven feet of skull and bones is precisely the form and image of the whole universe in all ten directions. Indeed, the whole universe in all ten directions which trains and enlightens us in the Buddha's Way is our skull and bones, our physical body with its skin, flesh, bones, and marrow." - Dogen


"Thus, the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind that fully manifest before us here and now are what an arhat is." - Dogen....Four years later, when Dogen returned to Japan, he said, "I have come back empty-handed. I have realized only that the eyes are horizontal and the nose is vertical."

A Soto Zen (Dogen’s lineage) teacher Shinshu Roberts says:

"Immediate Present, Ultimate Dharma

Since our activity is not a progression from delusion to enlightenment made solely by the independent self, Dogen defines the first thought of practice as 'immediate present ultimate Dharma' or genjokoan: the presence and perfection of all dharmas as they are in the here-and-now.' Hee-Jin Kim further explains the meaning of genjokoan:'It does not suggest an evolutionary ascent from hidden-ness to manifestation, or from imperfection to perfection, or conversely, an emanational descent from one to many, or from reality to appearance. Rather, things, events, beings are already unmistakably what they truly are; what is more, they are vibrant, transparent, and bright in their as-they-are-ness.'


Accordingly, ‘impermanence’ is ‘permanent’ and ‘change’ is ‘changeless’ – existence-time ever-always (eternally) advances (changes).[92] Dogen’s vision of reality exploits the significance of this to the utmost, unfolding its most profound implications with his notion of ‘the self-obstruction of a single dharma’ or ‘the total exertion of a single dharma’ (ippo gujin). This notion reveals a number of important implications concerning the nature of existence-time; two of which are: Each and all dharmas reveal, disclose, or present the whole universe (the totality of existence-time). Each and all dharmas are inherently infinite and eternal.Biringer, Ted. Zen Cosmology: Dogen's Contribution to the Search for a New Worldview (p. 34). ZazensatioN. Kindle Edition. 

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/22/19 6:56 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Stream entry is useful and transformative regardless of any consideration of technique or tradition. It is a possible upgrade to general human mental physiology and function, not the property of a sect or religious strain. I highly recommend it regardless of any other concerns or issues of dogma, language, or culture.

How confident are you that someone can actually achieve Stream entry using these techniques who hasn't already crossed over? From what I read of your and your friends' experiences, it seems like it might be an incomplete system.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/25/19 12:39 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thank you for the candid response, Daniel.

What you said makes sense to me. I've been curious for awhile about something. To put it simply, given how positively you speak of the base-line shift that occured from your PCE-adventures, why don't you advertise the practices more? Of course, as you say, you can't predict how these practices will affect noobs etc. Still, it seems to me highly likely the practices will work for noobs. It definitely seems to me that those instructions are more immediately appealing than vipassana.

A thought experiment. Two groups of 50 naive people each. One group gets your Actualism-inspired instructions from that essay, the other group gets noting, 3Cs, etc. After two years where are the groups?

People criticize the DhO culture for advocating practices which tend towards destabilization, etc and suggest more samatha-lubrication, etc. But, a balanced samatha/vipassana path (like Culadasa advocates, let's say) still involves attentional manipulation. What if we start from the premise that any attentional manipulation is undesireable? What paths have that characteristic? Zen, Mahamudra, Dzogchen, ..... Daniel-style-Actualism-inspired-practices?

More about that essay calls to me, like the bodily integration stuff. Maybe another thread. Hope you see what I'm pointing to in the previous paragraph

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/26/19 9:37 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
As to advocating for Actualism, if you look closely, you will see some aspects of it in MCTB2, albeit in somewhat covert form. Might check out the section on Rapture in the chapter on the seven factors for a start. You will also find some covert warnings regarding the same material, such as in the Emotional Models section. So, it is a mix, as is my final takeaway on the whole strange period.

If you look at my website, you will find that essay, which is not covert at all.

And, if you get me started on Actualism in person, you will get an earfull, both the good and the bad, the history, the drama, the pragmatic takeaway, and practice advice. The last three retreats I have been on ended up with somewhere around 90 minute conversations on Actualism during them, and I think everyone there appreciated those dialogues.

Do the experiment yourself. See what works for you. Best wishes!

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/28/19 2:03 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Still, the praise given in your old posts and in this essay seem incommensurate with covert mixing.
However, it did do something totally remarkable, and that was create the ability to sit totally at rest, totally at peace, just like that, and I don't mean in some stage or state, not in some jhana, just by the field being nice to itself. That simple thing was well worth the work it took to get it. It doesn't sound as fancy or as flashy as all the other stuff I have done, but it is more valuable than them all
Even a paragraph or two in the autobiographical section?

I do plan on doing some experiments on my own, but that doesn't substitute for a community of people sharing experiences, which doesn't exist for non-dogmatic-Actualism-inspired-practices.

Anyway, if I see a physical Daniel in the wild I will ask him for the earfull. Thanks!

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
11/28/19 4:12 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
There is nothing of it in the autobiographical section, which cuts off in April, 2003.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
12/2/19 10:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I have tried understanding Actualism, but find it baffling. Am I correct in thinking that it is not a form of meditation, but more like the walking meditation that some Buddhists do when not on the cushion? Do you have to do it every waking minute or is it something someone could do for an hour a day? If it is something you have to do every waking minute then you wouldn't be able to meditate, you would have to be directing your attention to sensations. So not surprising that jhanas aren't possible.

Culadasa uses the acronym PCE in his book TMI. It's the same as CWO, but completely different from what Actualists call a PCE. Is that what you would call a fruition? Is it the same as cessation? Do you think that someone only truly has no self when they are having a fruition?

Another thing is that it's to do with enjoying sensations. I thought Buddhists were supposed not to like, dislike or ignore sensations. It's easy to enjoy sensations if it's a sunny day at the beach or in a forest, but what about in a traffic jam?

What interests me is that if you asked Goenka when he was alive if his form of meditation is the same as what Buddha taught all those years ago he would say yes. He would say it was lost in India but kept alive in monasteries in Burma, passed down from teacher to pupil. That's not true though. Both of the two main forms of vipassana coming out of Burma (Goenka/U Ba Khin and Mahasi) were recent attempted re-inventions of the ancient meditation. Which one is the correct one? Maybe neither maybe both. Maybe we should talk about insight practices and one one vipassana.

Maybe the original vipassana that Buddha taught is Actualism. Is that possible? I know that Richard makes no claims for this but maybe he stumbled on a path which has been long forgotten. In your essay you are quite positive about it but in the recent edition of MCTB you are more negative about it.

RE: Stream entry utility and Actualism
12/6/19 12:51 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Neither actualism or vipassana will do. Many people claim SE but very few walk the path, they go back in their old life, enjoy entertainments, party, have sexual activities etc. While the 8 noble path require one to take the virtues also and begin to live like they don't exist here anymore, live in solitude. How can you enjoy the world while it is your own delution who create the enjoyment. Samadhi is just like a game for them, or an escape from their life.

Those people with samadhi experience are just Hindus like in times of Buddha, they come to ask about samadhi, after Buddha explain, they gone. They are just ascetics who look for samadhi experiences and debates. But many become SE just by hearing his dhamma, because afrerwards they begin to walk the path. Nowadays it still happened, on people hearing or reading the dhamma.

You may claim anything in this world, no one bothers, but if you claim to  be SE under Buddha's teachings but no understanding on dukkha, no DO, no 8 noble paths, no virtue, then you just make fun of yourself. On the day you left the world you'd know. But anything you think about yourself is just irrelevant. The nature law and kamma bhava isnt about what you think of yourself or what someone says about you. It's way deeper than that.

If you already have deep understanding on 4 noble truths, dependant origination and 8 noble paths
Best is just to watch when our reaction to feeling arise and slowly grow the attention for 24hrs, then cut the longing for sense pleasures and replusions, then cut the neutral feeling there where the "I" exist,  then begin to live like you don't exist anymore.
While in samadhi just goes into cessation of perception and feeling , which cut the volition/sankhara. Total unbinding.