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Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler

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Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/4/20 6:41 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Steve James 3/4/20 6:45 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/4/20 7:29 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Steve James 3/4/20 8:13 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/5/20 7:40 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler shargrol 3/5/20 8:09 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/5/20 8:18 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler shargrol 3/5/20 8:35 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/5/20 8:39 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/5/20 8:51 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/5/20 10:07 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/5/20 1:56 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/5/20 2:42 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/5/20 2:23 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/5/20 2:28 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler shargrol 3/5/20 2:38 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/5/20 3:39 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/5/20 3:57 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/6/20 3:30 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 5:51 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 6:44 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 7:35 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 7:56 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 7:57 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 7:59 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 8:02 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 8:04 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 8:07 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 8:21 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 9:02 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 9:08 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 8:22 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Papa Che Dusko 3/6/20 8:35 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 8:41 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 8:48 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 8:50 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 9:06 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 9:10 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 9:17 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/6/20 9:23 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Papa Che Dusko 3/6/20 9:36 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/6/20 9:38 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Kim Katami 3/8/20 2:26 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler curious 3/8/20 3:32 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/9/20 6:08 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/8/20 4:14 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Chris Marti 3/8/20 6:31 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Hibiscus Kid 3/8/20 6:55 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/5/20 2:51 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Zachary 3/5/20 10:04 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/5/20 10:20 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler curious 3/5/20 1:41 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler genaro 3/5/20 10:19 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Anna L 3/5/20 5:42 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Hibiscus Kid 3/5/20 8:46 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Anna L 3/5/20 9:22 PM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Vladimir Zetko 3/6/20 1:54 AM
RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler Lewis James 3/6/20 4:19 AM
Hi,

Few nice photos before and after retreat, taken by photographer Peter Seidler.
https://educateinspirechange.org/inspirational/before-and-after-meditation-photos-document-subtle-yet-drastic-changes-in-expression/

Edit: Better gallery from Seidler here: https://shambhalatimes.org/2018/10/07/before-and-after-portraits-from-dathun/

We've been doing photo and video documentation in Pemako Buddhist sangha for years.
See, book with photos: https://www.pemakobuddhism.com/35532
Video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq-Ulm8dH7A&list=PLqTm9fV9DGhvQjdBRYAM45uWuLUwmbqiM

Kim







RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/4/20 6:45 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Do any of these photos show progress through the bhumis, according to your way of assessing that?

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/4/20 7:29 AM as a reply to Steve James.
Hiya Steve,

I am commenting on the photos of three people above (not other ones behind links).

The young lady with the wool hat has 1st bhumi open, already in the pre-retreat picture (which simultaneously looks a bit absent/subconcious). Pictures of the men do not show bhumi openings but in general, there's a really nice relaxing of self-based thought-patterns, as with the young lady, and therefore they look relatively peaceful and fresh. The short haired young fellow in the bottom photo looks absent in his pre-photo, quite lost in his subconcious mind, and therefore looks absent, but the post-photo shows quite nice presence, as if joyfully saying, "Hey, I'm here again!", while there is relaxing of self-patterns.

Based on my experience as a teacher, when people have this  much release of patterns, that much space in their mind, it is easy for them to have further insight (bhumis opening/s) if they are asked to think of their usual sense of self and to compare that usual-self with how they feel at present, after the retreat. The contrast of the two modes (Two Part-Formula) makes the self-belief go pop, to effect a sudden shift.

The photos could be a bit more sharp and clear in their quality but good enough to see such basic things.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/4/20 8:13 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Hi Kim,

Interesting, thanks for the analysis!

- S 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 7:40 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
What I would love to see is the same set of photos but with pointers included (actual arrows in the images) showing us where the differences are meaningful, and with accompanying explanation.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 8:09 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I would like this madness to stop, but it's not my world. emoticon

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 8:18 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Yeah! I want to be independently wealthy so that I can retire and move to a tropical paradise.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 8:35 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Oh, and I'd like to have a mountain chateau with a nice hot tub, so I could ski all day and then relax in the twilight, soaking my body, enjoying a nice mountain view!!

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 8:39 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I   want   world   peace.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 8:51 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
What I would love to see is the same set of photos but with pointers included (actual arrows in the images) showing us where the differences are meaningful, and with accompanying explanation.

Aha, that's an interesting suggestion.

Take your time getting a sense of each photo, one at a time. Then, compare the photos and see if you can feel what the difference is. You can detect gross, subtle and very subtle differences. In the beginning of photographic analysis you might have hard time sensing even gross sensations. Also, your "stamina" might run out fast, after just few minutes, but this builds up with practice, as does subtlety of perception. Subtlety of perception is directly related to ones own meditation practice and advancement in it. That is, if subtle and very subtle aspects of one's own mind are still like foreign language, one has hard time sensing subtle and very subtle nuances of other persons mind, whether through photo or in person.

You can look at the following external to internal factors. When you see the external marks, try to feel those very marks energetically, deeper than just the external mark. Like this you go from external (physical) to internal (energetic, nonphysical), and to secret (depth and expansiveness of insight/realisation).

Colour of the skin, uneven or even colour
Texture of the skin, wrinkliness or smoothness

External: General feel of the person. In simple terms, how does the person feel like? In simple terms, in what kind of emotional state is she/he in, like peaceful vs. stressed, tired vs. fresh, unhappy vs. happy, distracted vs. present, selfish vs. selfless? Just dig in and feel with your body. With some exercise you start noticing gross differences.

Internal: Digging deeper. When you notice that for example the person is more peaceful than stressed, see if you can feel into the details of her/his peacefulness. How peaceful the person exactly is? How does her/his peace feel like? How comprehensive is that peace? With checking out comprehensiveness, you automatically (with any samsaric person) start to notice (your body tells you), that there is something else too, not only peacefulness in the mind. What else is there? What other emotions are there? How do they feel? Are they out in the open, floating freely or are they dormant, even suppressed? Like this, by looking deeper into the picture, you start going beyond the photo, from external to internal marks.

Secret: Detecting the specific clarity of grounds/bhumis. Here we discuss detecting very specific changes in the psyche, known with various terms in buddhist practice. We are learning to detect the expanse of the recipients realisation, i.e. we learn to see and feel the extensiveness of the person's mind, in terms of clarity of mind that is generated with insight practice. So here we are looking at a very specific tone or feel in the person which requires ability to see and feel beyond the photo and into the subtle and very subtle bodies of the recipient. The person might be tired and stressed, is perhaps ill and lack vitality, and yet have a really clear, settled, grounded and radiant mind, marked with a selfless quality. Also, the photo might have been taken just after a spiritual event, like empowerment or retreat and this gives the person a lot of clarity and radiance and yet the person might not have any signs of lasting insight (bhumi openings related to bhumi centers) or the clarity or energetic charge acquired through the spiritual event doesn't directly reflect the recipients advancement in terms of lasting shifts. So, there are these subtler parameters that need to be observed and distinquished from bhumi openings. Detailed commentary can be found from this book: https://www.pemakobuddhism.com/35532

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 10:04 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
There's a Shinzen Young talk where he describes coming across a portrait photography book by Robert Bergman, A Kind of Rapture. He recounts how he looked at the faces of the people in the book and instantly realized what the theme of the book was: all of the portraits were of people (mostly homeless) who had undergone some sort of awakening "experience". He describes contacting the author of the book and telling him this, and the author replying that this indeed was the case and that nobody had previously deduced the theme of the photo series. 

Here's an image search of the book which yields some results. 

Here is the timestamp of the Shinzen talk for the curious: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGmU1oVroLM&feature=youtu.be&t=1526

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 10:07 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Aha, that's an interesting suggestion.

So do it.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 10:19 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Not wishing to be contentious here but aren't these photos cherry picked? and aren't the conclusions drawn from them poorly supported?

I'd like to see photos of some of the other people before and after retreat that didn't make the grade.

A small unrepresentative sample does not support any claims at all.

Emotional states change from time to time, a snapshot of some one feeling jolly after some event is not indicative of a generative change.

In support of my remarks here's a link to the O-project, I apologise in advance for any offense caused by the male focus on female sexuality, it was not me who did this, but there are before and after pictures of several women who all seem to be smiling afterwards, which can be compared with the results of pemaki style/ open heart.

https://www.masmorrastudio.com/oproject

Kim: what's different about thier smiles and the retreat participant smiles (and you have to be specific here), other than that the o-project women look a bit happier?

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 10:20 AM as a reply to Zachary.
Zachary:
There's a Shinzen Young talk where he describes coming across a portrait photography book by Robert Bergman, A Kind of Rapture. He recounts how he looked at the faces of the people in the book and instantly realized what the theme of the book was: all of the portraits were of people (mostly homeless) who had undergone some sort of awakening "experience". He describes contacting the author of the book and telling him this, and the author replying that this indeed was the case and that nobody had previously deduced the theme of the photo series. 

Here's an image search of the book which yields some results. 

Here is the timestamp of the Shinzen talk for the curious: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGmU1oVroLM&feature=youtu.be&t=1526

I love that book. Amazing pictures.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 1:41 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Insight Botox 

Edit: Also, AE Van Vogt talks about the smooth unlined countenance of Null A adepts who have mastered general semantics in 'The Pawns of Null-A" (from memory)

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 1:56 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Aha, that's an interesting suggestion.
So do it.
Hello? Did you not see my above post or did you miss the relevance of my answer to your question?

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 2:42 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim, your "above post" is not what I asked for. It doesn't answer my question. It's too vague and imprecise. I'm looking for actual physical indications of whatever it is you see in those images, marked on those images and explained in detail, one by one. From the pre-retreat image to the post retreat image - what changed, specifically, that says to you, "This person has had an opening, and here's why I can say that."? Your other post was just not that.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 2:23 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Oh gosh Chris. Whatever mate...

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 2:28 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I'll take that to mean you can't produce anything that specific. Happy to end the conversation here.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 2:38 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'll take that to mean you can't produce anything that specific. Happy to end the conversation here.

I'm glad you asked Chris, but I was pretty sure the reply wasn't going to be anything specific. At a certain point, it becomes very clear that extrordinary claims rarely have commensurate level of evidence. This is indeed where the conversation ends. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 2:51 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Is your point that the important stuff isn't really in the pictures, but in an energetic layer, sort of? Things like that will probably never be proven, because it isn't objectively there in a way that could be identified for instance by a computor. I'm not ruling out that it works anyway, just like I'm not ruling out magick. I can see why people find it problematic, though, because it makes it impossible for someone independent to check it. In the wrong hands, such claims could hypothetically be used to boost toxic person cults and to discredit others. I think that might be why people are wary about it. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 3:39 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'll take that to mean you can't produce anything that specific. Happy to end the conversation here.

If I'm a stubborn old buck, so are you Chris.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Is your point that the
important stuff isn't really in the pictures, but in an energetic layer,
sort of? Things like that will probably never be proven, because it
isn't objectively there in a way that could be identified for instance
by a computor. I'm not ruling out that it works anyway, just like I'm
not ruling out magick. I can see why people find it problematic, though,
because it makes it impossible for someone independent to check it. In
the wrong hands, such claims could hypothetically be used to boost toxic
person cults and to discredit others. I think that might be why people
are wary about it. 

Yes, the important stuff is not in the pixels or color pigment that constitute the photo. The photo is a gateway to the mind of the recipient at the moment when the photo is taken. If you look at the photos of HH Dalai Lama for example, whose life is well documented from his early childhood, you can see that apart from his changing physical features, his mind also changes according to his level of insight. Btw, he himself has given an account of his first awakening experience at the age of 35. If you know how to detect bhumi centers, you can see that the first bhumi has popped open because of his insight. It was sometime in the early 70's, I think. Just google his photos from that time and see yourself...

Anyway, analysis can of course be done in the presence of the person or for example a teacher. When people meet someone who is advanced on the path, they sense it somehow, they notice something, some less, some more, and those who know what that something is, they can detect subtler tones in the presence. I learned to see the difference in calligraphies and black ink paintings of various buddhist and taoist masters when I studied zen calligraphy with my master in Japan. It's not that difficult to get on with the basics but from there there are many fascinating things to see and discover, and of course, you can actually see that regardless of one's school or vehicle of practice, everyone treads along the very same bhumis... The only difference is how far they get on the ladder and how they go through them in terms of bhumi openings and perfections.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 3:57 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I suspect that any model will find that those who follow the tradition of that specific model are more likely to fulfill the specific criteria set up by that model. That's why Vajrayana practicioners open more bhumis and why Theravada pacticioners report more cessations and door moments according to Theravadan criteria. The traditions overlap but emphasize different manifestations. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 5:42 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
To me it is apparent there is a softening of the eyes, a slight smile, and a fullness in the face in the 'after' pictures - particularly the cheekbones, under eyes and nasolabial area seem to be fuller and less drawn. The cheeks have a definite lift due to the slight smile. The skin has a glow to it and a more even skin tone in the after picture. I get a similar physical effect from yoga asana practice. Interesting, but possibly just the result of being removed from daily stressors? It would be interesting to know how long the effect lasts ... Also interesting to compare to people who had simply been on vacation for a while! 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 8:46 PM as a reply to Anna L.
It would have been interesting to have seen before and after photos of a 13 day Mahasi style retreat I did in September... it would have been the complete opposite (totally got my ass kicked!):

Before: SO excited to be actually doing it! Commiting myself full time to a passion and possibly getting life altering shifts! Oh yeah! I get to actually practice with monks in the lineage who have taught at other world renowned centers!?! Only 18ish hours of meditation a day? Will this even be enough to help me awaken? I'm going to strive my butt off! Let's do it!

After: I am worthless, life is pointless, I hate everything, everything hates me. Why do I bother living? Are they actually going to give me back my phone and wallet and let me leave? (I handed in my valuables on the first day to better focus on the retreat, but later got paranoid that they would be reluctant to let me leave). Is meditation for me or am I deluded? What else can I look forward to since this won't deliver? I'lll never be happy. Fuck. 

Granted, I also did a 5 day Metta retreat which had me crying tears of joy and gratitude for multiple hours a day, so it would be interesting to know just what the folks in these photos were practicing. I guess what I'm trying to say is: it's a bit of a crap-shoot isn't it? 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/5/20 9:22 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
It would have been interesting to have seen before and after photos of a 13 day Mahasi style retreat I did in September... it would have been the complete opposite (totally got my ass kicked!):

Before: SO excited to be actually doing it! Commiting myself full time to a passion and possibly getting life altering shifts! Oh yeah! I get to actually practice with monks in the lineage who have taught at other world renowned centers!?! Only 18ish hours of meditation a day? Will this even be enough to help me awaken? I'm going to strive my butt off! Let's do it!

After: I am worthless, life is pointless, I hate everything, everything hates me. Why do I bother living? Are they actually going to give me back my phone and wallet and let me leave? (I handed in my valuables on the first day to better focus on the retreat, but later got paranoid that they would be reluctant to let me leave). Is meditation for me or am I deluded? What else can I look forward to since this won't deliver? I'lll never be happy. Fuck. 

Granted, I also did a 5 day Metta retreat which had me crying tears of joy and gratitude for multiple hours a day, so it would be interesting to know just what the folks in these photos were practicing. I guess what I'm trying to say is: it's a bit of a crap-shoot isn't it? 

hahaha! Nice to hear an honest report! 

With the yoga asana, I think it is the blood flow to the face (especially inversions) and the constant focus on the ujjayi breath that gives the positive facial changes. 

Can't say I have noticed any changes with fire kasina but I practice at night and haven't thought to do before and after pics!

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 1:54 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
This image comparison is really interesting. However I would also like to see the same people, before and after a 10-day holiday trip.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 3:30 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I suspect that any model will find that those who follow the tradition of that specific model are more likely to fulfill the specific criteria set up by that model. That's why Vajrayana practicioners open more bhumis and why Theravada pacticioners report more cessations and door moments according to Theravadan criteria. The traditions overlap but emphasize different manifestations. 

I don't think it's only about the path model. In fact, I think that it has more to do with motivation, than path model.

Anna L:
To me it is apparent
there is a softening of the eyes, a slight smile, and a fullness in the
face in the 'after' pictures - particularly the cheekbones, under eyes
and nasolabial area seem to be fuller and less drawn. The cheeks have a
definite lift due to the slight smile. The skin has a glow to it and a
more even skin tone in the after picture. I get a similar physical
effect from yoga asana practice. Interesting, but possibly just the
result of being removed from daily stressors? It would be interesting to
know how long the effect lasts ... Also interesting to compare to
people who had simply been on vacation for a while! 

Thanks for that Anna. Yes, vacation definitely has a similar effect. To put it in different way what I've commented above about these photos: As they don't indicate shifts (vipashyana), the change we see is shamatha. Taking sun on the beach for a few weeks is sort of shamatha emoticon

Hibiscus Kid:
... so it would be interesting to
know just what the folks in these photos were practicing. I guess what
I'm trying to say is: it's a bit of a crap-shoot isn't it? 

The same thought crossed my mind. Found this info with quick search, not much details:
https://www.shambhalamountain.org/summer-dathun-monthlong-meditation-retreat/

Apparently another photographer has also documented Shambhala community members before and after retreat:
https://www.shambhalamountain.org/mind-body/noble-aspiration-noble-effort-beautiful-fruition-dathun/

I am of course thrilled to hear that emoticon

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 4:19 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
They are nice photos, the lighting does seem to change in the before/after, it'd be nice to see with controlled lighting. Also it might just be me (and the modern age of 'everything on the internet is fake', but it almost looks like the focal length has changed between photos[1], or the distance to the camera if it's a phone[2], as though the noses are slightly bigger and faces slightly rounder, it could just be their posture though I suppose.

Edit: Not implying they are intentionally manipulated, just that these things can have a pretty big impact on our perception even if subtle, and conditions can change a lot between photos.

[1] Image search showing effect

[2] https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/3/1/17059566/plastic-surgery-selfie-distortion



RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 5:51 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:

I don't think it's only about the path model. In fact, I think that it has more to do with motivation, than path model.

Yes, sure, there can be different focuses, different ideals. I don’t find it particularly surprising if more renunciate traditions leave different energy signatures than traditions that focus on soulmaking or soul retrieving or whatever it is called within the tradition (not to confuse with believing in separate entities, of course). It is good to remember, though, that not all theravadan practicioners buy into the renunciate ideals, and many practicioners mix different traditions. By renunciate I mean the extreme end of getting out from samsara focus, but it’s important to remember that the Buddha was significantly less renunciating than the traditions he was schooled within insofar as he took care of his body. I'm curious, what is the goal for your practice? I mean, if you put it into other words than opening the bhumis. What do you want the bhumi openings to accomplish?

Personally, my ideal would be the combination of Daniel's enthusiastic karisma and creative and technical brilliance, curious's warmth and compassion and non-reactiveness and intuitive seeing, Michael Taft's cool outlook on life and different kind of karisma and ability to connect the dots and to get along with anyone and any tradition, Adyashanti's communication skills, the passion for a better world that I think they all share, and the playfulness and aliveness that many Tibetan lamas seem to have (which is also true for several of the people already mentioned, I think, but in a different way), and some mystical stuff like realizing that one happened to be in two places at once just because one was needed in both places (a story from Lama Lena). I would also want a register spanning the graceful dignity and goodness of Bhante Gunaratana and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche as well as Lama Lena's humor and quirkiness and outspoken wit. And of course I want the truth. And I want to get rid of the illusion of separation. Gotta aim high, right? emoticon (Greed and attachment noted. emoticon )


Yes, vacation definitely has a similar effect. To put it in different way what I've commented above about these photos: As they don't indicate shifts (vipashyana), the change we see is shamatha. Taking sun on the beach for a few weeks is sort of shamatha emoticon

Relaxation sure has a good effect on people. And I agree with Anna that the persons in the pictures look more relaxed and more alive. More retreats to the people!

Some after-pictures are shot with wide-angle, but that usually makes people look worse.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 6:44 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'm not as generous as you all. I think the pictures are manipulated, maybe on purpose, maybe not. But every time Kim posts his pictures they appear that way to me. And yes, there is no control group, no real experimentation. Just a singularly dubious claim being pushed by someone whose self-interest is quite obviously wrapped up in that one interpretation of those images.

Signed,

Resident Skeptic

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 7:35 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Are these photos even from Kim's retreat? If so, why does he say that he dosn't know what practice they did? I thought he was just happy that there are others that take interest into before and after pictures as well. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 7:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
YMMV

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 7:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
What does that mean? Non-native speaker here. I'm not familiar with all those abbreviations.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 7:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Your Mileage May Vary.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:02 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
And how is that a reply to my question about whose retreat this was?

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Very simply, it means that I have a different interpretation of it than you appear to have.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:07 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Okie. But the link shows that the photos are from a Shambhala retreat. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:21 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
By the way, of course the pictures are manipulated. That's a photographer's job. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hypothetical - let's say Guru X has been using photographs like these to support the claim that their unique practice leads to fast, long-lasting awakenings. People are skeptical, even dubious. The skepticism is expressed every time Guru X promotes their practice over the years by starting topics about it and linking to their self-published books and website. Guru X eventually comes across similar photos from other places. Wanting to bolster the original claims, Guru X starts posting these other photos as evidence that any such photos support his method of prooving the original claims.

You can believe whatever you want. I urge skepticism.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 8:35 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I guess many of us have been in a mind state where we felt the need for some quick fix, some magic word, protective spells, positive energy, teachers protection and sense of direction. 

I used to be into Crystal healing, Reiki, Qigong until I realized that suffering was still very much under my skin. 

In my case New Agers sell all sorts of stuff as awakening. Imagine this. Visualize that. Heal this. heal that. Cleanse this. Energize that. 

what I'm trying to say is; we all seem to dance our dance, depends how long on how dense we are. 

What is always good to have in life is Yin and Yang (metaphorically speaking) those who say it's like this and those who say it's like that. Even Mr. Syd was teaching about opposites in form of wholesome and unwholesome. Which one is which is up for examination I guess. How do we examine such? 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:41 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I'd rather not believe anything about it. I don't think people are very often aware of their own motives. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:48 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
 I don't think people are very often aware of their own motives. 

If they say they are realized, awake, that implies that they are quite self-aware.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 8:50 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 I don't think people are very often aware of their own motives. 

If they say they are realized, awake, that implies that they are quite self-aware.

Really? I thought waking up and growing up were different things and that people still remain people with their human blindspots.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 9:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
By the way, of course the pictures are manipulated. That's a photographer's job. 

Here's my take on that:

1) making a photo look good from a photographer's POV, and then there's
2) manipulating the photo to make it "prove" a particular point, or to resemble a particular outcome.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/6/20 9:06 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Really? I thought waking up and growing up were different things and that people still remain people with their human blindspots.

Yes, really. Self-awareness is an integral part of awakening. That is different than taking action to change or correct one's foibles. Think about it this way -- how could anyone have an effective, long term vipassana practice and not eventually observe their own traits and behaviors?

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 9:08 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I agree about that. I only had a quick glance at the website, but I was under the impression that the project was a photo exhibition, which would mean that it's art rather than an evaluation of anything. 

Just to be clear, as it apparently isn't: I wouldn't trust anyone's psychic evaluations of other people's merits, for the reasons I posted early in the thread. That doesn't mean that I deny the possibility that people can see things. It just means that I see the risks. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 9:10 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Really? I thought waking up and growing up were different things and that people still remain people with their human blindspots.

Yes, really. Self-awareness is an integral part of awakening. That is different than taking action to change or correct one's foibles. Think about it this way -- how could anyone have an effective, long term vipassana practice and not eventually observe their own traits and behaviors?

Because apparently many people don't...? A practice can be selectively effective, can't it?

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 9:17 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
A practice can be anything from extraordinarily effective to a waste of time. However, if a practitioner says, "I'm awakened" then that implies a high level of self-awareness. I have yet to meet anyone I believe to be awake who is not self-aware to a very high extent.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 9:23 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
BTW - there are self-aware people who are fully aware that they are manipulative, taking advantage of others, lying, behaving badly, etc. Self-awareness does not guarantee moral and ethical behavior.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 9:36 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
BTW - there are self-aware people who are fully aware that they are manipulative, taking advantage of others, lying, behaving badly, etc. Self-awareness does not guarantee moral and ethical behavior.
Beautifully said emoticon 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
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3/6/20 9:38 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I don't necessarily believe that someones is as awake as they think they are, in case you thought so. And I don't assume that everyone uses the word the same way either. Some may use it to refer to SE, some may use it for a different process. I prefer not to use it in a static way, because I think it would be risky.

Anyway, this relates to why I asked about ideals in the other thread. I wanted to bring up this topic for reflection. For me learning about my reactive patterns is a very important part of awakening. I was curious to hear what Kim thinks about that and if that is included in his Bhumi model.


BTW - there are self-aware people who are fully aware that they are manipulative, taking advantage of others, lying, behaving badly, etc. Self-awareness does not guarantee moral and ethical behavior.


Yes, I know. Additionally, I think there are many relatively awakened people out there who believe that they have good motives and fail to see their own shadow sides. 

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/8/20 2:26 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm not as generous as you all. I think the pictures are manipulated, maybe on purpose, maybe not. But every time Kim posts his pictures they appear that way to me. And yes, there is no control group, no real experimentation. Just a singularly dubious claim being pushed by someone whose self-interest is quite obviously wrapped up in that one interpretation of those images.

Signed,

Resident Skeptic
Chris Marti:
Hypothetical - let's say Guru X has
been using photographs like these to support the claim that their unique
practice leads to fast, long-lasting awakenings. People are skeptical,
even dubious. The skepticism is expressed every time Guru X promotes
their practice over the years by starting topics about it and linking to
their self-published books and website. Guru X eventually comes across
similar photos from other places. Wanting to bolster the original
claims, Guru X starts posting these other photos as evidence that any
such photos support his method of prooving the original claims.

You can believe whatever you want. I urge skepticism.

Hi Chris. I don't recall a single instant throughout the past years when you would have displayed anything else except rejection reg. photographic analysis. For a moment, in the beginning of this thread, I actually thought you had opened your mind a bit to investigate the issue, rather than again block it, which you then did because I didn't produce a photo in exactly the way you asked. I think your reaction was childish. That you didn't see the relevance of my reply to your request just shows that you have no clue what the whole photographic analysis is and that you lack openness of mind to actually look into the matter, before rejecting it. It's your own "scepticism" that prevents yourself from "experimenting" with it and that to me, especially on pd forum, is bullshit.

Chris Marti:
By the way, of course the pictures are manipulated. That's a photographer's job. 

Here's my take on that:

1) making a photo look good from a photographer's POV, and then there's
2) manipulating the photo to make it "prove" a particular point, or to resemble a particular outcome.

Utterly clueless, mate.

Chris Marti:
...But every time Kim posts his pictures they appear that way to me...

Signed,

Resident Skeptic

To be exact, every time I post anything here, you seem to have some sort of problem with it. What was that you mentioned, about one's own "own traits and behaviors"? Seriously, dude, stop being such an asshole and we might get something useful done here.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö...:
I'm curious, what is the goal for your practice? I
mean, if you put it into other words than opening the bhumis. What do
you want the bhumi openings to accomplish?

Personally, my ideal
would be the combination of Daniel's enthusiastic karisma and creative
and technical brilliance, curious's warmth and compassion and
non-reactiveness and intuitive seeing, Michael Taft's cool outlook on
life and different kind of karisma and ability to connect the dots and
to get along with anyone and any tradition, Adyashanti's communication
skills, the passion for a better world that I think they all share, and
the playfulness and aliveness that many Tibetan lamas seem to have
(which is also true for several of the people already mentioned, I
think, but in a different way), and some mystical stuff like realizing
that one happened to be in two places at once just because one was
needed in both places (a story from Lama Lena). I would also want a
register spanning the graceful dignity and goodness of Bhante Gunaratana
and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche as well as Lama Lena's humor and quirkiness
and outspoken wit. And of course I want the truth. And I want to get
rid of the illusion of separation. Gotta aim high, right? emoticon (Greed and attachment noted. emoticon )


Hey Linda. Thanks for a lovely question. Bhumi openings are just part of the equation, just like kensho-experiences or moments of path attainments. These are sudden shifts and in Open Heart Bhumi Model we have 13 of these "major shifts". Then there is the gradual process of transformation or furthering of emptiness insight which we call bhumi perfections because that also happens sequentially and in clearly noticeable shifts.

Like to any serious vajrayana practitioner my goal is in the attainment of buddhahood in this life. In Tibetan terms that you might be familiar with this means to establish nonmeditation or tha mal gyi she pa (kagyu), or basic state or rigpa (nyingma) as a 24/7 state. This happens through purification/transformation, also known as deconstruction of the self (hinayana/theravada) and all phenomena (mahayana).

I'm glad you feel motivated about these teachers you mention and that you see in them something that you'd want to find or develop in yourself. emoticonemoticon

Btw. I'm travelling for the next 2 weeks and won't be on the forum that time.

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/8/20 3:32 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim wrote: 

"Like to any serious vajrayana practitioner my goal is in the attainment of buddhahood in this life. In Tibetan terms that you might be familiar with this means to establish nonmeditation or tha mal gyi she pa (kagyu), or basic state or rigpa (nyingma) as a 24/7 state. This happens through purification/transformation, also known as deconstruction of the self (hinayana/theravada) and all phenomena (mahayana)."


Kim, if you don't mind me asking.  Why?  That is, for what reason?

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/8/20 4:14 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Thanks for your answers and for responding to me nicely and helpfully in the midst of conflict. What you describe as a goal, I wouldn't mind adding to my list, of course. My list was prompted by the discussions in both your threads, as an attempt to make the ideals a bit more tangible, and not surprisingly I have never corresponded with any Buddha or seen one on youtube, hence the more modern examples. emoticon On a more serious note, I promised my(not)self not to make my practice into something selfish, so for me it is important to be able to manifest it in the world somehow to benefit all sentient beings. I understand that insight/wisdome alone - regardless of tradition - is no magic key to being a better person. Compassion needs to be cultivated too, and I would add the ability to understand others' perspectives. Still I had hoped that all this work with reactional patterns would motivate practicioners to a less reactive behavior, less greed and less destructive defense mechanisms. Sadly no tradition seems to live up to that from what I can see from a number of threads where conflicts arise. Sometimes I really wish that all you accomplished realized people could just use some of that realization to help your inner children to blow their noses. 

That said, if you want and find the time (no rush) I have some stupid newbie questions that I would love for someone to respond to who actually works with energy practice. For instance, there's a lot of talk about opening op - bhumis, chakras, etc. According to your tradition, can they close again (partly or fully)? Does the opening need maintenance (maybe that's the clearing part)? Is it a gradual opening? Have you ever seen results, in pictures or in person, that indicate a development in the wrong direction? Is there a risk to opening something too soon, or in the wrong order or wrong way, or to always being wide open? Would you say that there is something like energetically induced pain and illnesses (I'm asking because I think I have it)? Can such pain say something about what needs to be done? Do symbolic dreams or images during meditation involving bhumis or chakras (I do a lot of yoga - ashtanga, hatha, kundalini and some versions of that - so for me it is chakras that come to mind) have meaning for the practice? Also, since you have this interest in reading people visually - what's up with the eyes in so many meditation teachers? Is it all the widening of the visual field that does it? Sometimes I think it looks spooky. They really look empty. When someone radiates compassion and love, the emptiness feels like a good thing, but with some it looks like they would just shoot everyone around them any moment. 

I hope you will have a good journey. Take care!

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/8/20 6:31 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
To be exact, every time I post anything here, you seem to have some sort of problem with it. What was that you mentioned, about one's own "own traits and behaviors"? Seriously, dude, stop being such an asshole and we might get something useful done here.

Kim, I hope you have a nice two-week trip and that you're going somewhere fun and relaxing.


RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/8/20 6:55 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I hope he takes some before and after photos of himself so we can see if he got to relax on his trip emoticon

RE: Before and After Retreat Photos by Peter Seidler
Answer
3/9/20 6:08 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Kim wrote: 

"Like to any serious vajrayana practitioner my goal is in the attainment of buddhahood in this life. In Tibetan terms that you might be familiar with this means to establish nonmeditation or tha mal gyi she pa (kagyu), or basic state or rigpa (nyingma) as a 24/7 state. This happens through purification/transformation, also known as deconstruction of the self (hinayana/theravada) and all phenomena (mahayana)."


Kim, if you don't mind me asking.  Why?  That is, for what reason?

That's what I was wondering too, and that question pertains not only to Kim but to all of us. I have already seen your answer before, curious, and I have seen you live up to it.