Culadasa update

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Mark Boolootian, modified 8 Months ago.

Culadasa update

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An update Culadasa sent to his mailing list today (posted to Reddit earlier).  It is a rather long read, and provides a fascinating lens on the past several years of his life (as told by Culadasa, obviously):

https://mcusercontent.com/9dd1cbed5cbffd00291a6bdba/files/d7889ce1-77cb-4bbb-ac04-c795fd271e5e/A_Message_from_Culadasa_01_12_21.pdf
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Sounds like it was his wife's fault for making him marry her.
Edward, modified 8 Months ago.

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https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/bz4x61/im_worried_that_culadasa_is_making_inaccurate/

Worth noting that his claims to have cured cancer with spiritual practice were fabrication. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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It's difficult for me to generate any interest in this Culadasa thing. Once again, self-awareness.
Edward, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Chris Marti:
It's difficult for me to generate any interest in this Culadasa thing. Once again, self-awareness.


Yup, it's an incredible confession of psychological malady. It's frightening that he still wants to teach. Who would want a studentship in these depths of self-delusion?
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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I don't know, is it better to have a teacher who pretends not to have any problems or one who is open about their problems?
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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... is it better to have a teacher who pretends not to have any problems or one who is open about their problems?

Do you think this issue is really that binary?
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
... is it better to have a teacher who pretends not to have any problems or one who is open about their problems?

Do you think this issue is really that binary?

No there must be lots of teachers who have lesser problems (or none?). I was just speculating about having Culadasa as a teacher now vs previously. I don't have any experience with him as a teacher either way, other than having read his book and seen some videos. I find it an interesting case study in codependency though (if that is what it really is).
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Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Months ago.

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People can still benefit from The Mind Illuminated and whatever else he may write going forward. What impresses me is all the work he was able to get done even dealing with cancer in his 70s. 
Edward, modified 8 Months ago.

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agnostic:
I don't know, is it better to have a teacher who pretends not to have any problems or one who is open about their problems?


The latter. What is problematic is a man setting himself up as a 'teacher' of wisdom and ethics, who, by his own description, is incapable of  "function{ing} effectively in the realm of conventional reality and interpersonal relationships."
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svmonk, modified 8 Months ago.

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Edward:


The latter. What is problematic is a man setting himself up as a 'teacher' of wisdom and ethics, who, by his own description, is incapable of  "function{ing} effectively in the realm of conventional reality and interpersonal relationships."

You want to read about a teacher who really was incapable of functioning effectively in the realm of conventional reality and interpersonal relationships? Check out "The Mahasiddha and his Idiot Servent" by John Perks. Perks was Chogyam Trugpa's butler for many years. Trugpa's behavior is completely mind boggling.
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Zero, modified 8 Months ago.

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This whole "scandal" just seems like marital issues. People get divorced. A dharma teacher can't get divorced and have sex? Ludicrous. The Dharma Treasure Board seems mad shady to be honest. 
Sam Gentile, modified 8 Months ago.

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Zero:
This whole "scandal" just seems like marital issues. People get divorced. A dharma teacher can't get divorced and have sex? Ludicrous. The Dharma Treasure Board seems mad shady to be honest. 
That's what it seems to me personally.
genaro, modified 8 Months ago.

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i scanned it, and did not really enjoy the experience. I hope Culadassa can find some closure and a way to reconnect to those he knew.

This is my attempt to let this go.  May everyone find peace and a heartfelt sense of forgiveness.

I expect i will do much worse in the rest of the time left to me, and for my own sake* am sending Metta** to Tuscon, Arizona, in the limited way that i can.


* yes imperfect stupid scaredy cat greedy nasty me
** i don't know what Metta is, I'm using my current misinterpretation, sorry, can't explain it to you.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Sidebar:

Setting aside Culadasa's drama with his wife or questions of his legitimacy as a teacher, I found this section of his letter most intriguing:

During the past year and a half, I’ve also learned to appreciate and experience certain profound depths to this Dharma that I’d known about, but hadn’t fully understood and applied before.

For years I’d been living mostly in the present moment, more in the ongoing awareness of suchness and emptiness than narrative and form. As part of this radical shift in perspective, I’d stopped “thinking about myself,” creating the “story of me.” I now realize that, while freed of the burdens of “if only” and “what if,” I’d also lost another kind of perspective those narratives provide. By embracing the now as I had, I’d let that other world of linear time and narrative fall away. Thus I found myself unable to counter what the Board confronted me with by providing my own perspective, “my story” about what had happened so many years before. Having lost the perspective and context that comes from longer term and larger scale autobiographical narratives, I failed to recognize how out of context those long-ago events were with the present.

While all narratives may ultimately be empty constructs, they are also indispensable to our ability to function effectively in the realm of conventional reality and interpersonal relationships. When trying to respond to the Board, all I had were the pieces from which those narratives are usually constructed. I was hopelessly unsuccessful in my attempts to put them together on the spur of the moment to provide a more accurate counterpart to the unrecognizable narrative I was being confronted with. And that is how I overlooked such obviously important facts as those described above, and why I apologized so inaccurately.

While I'm not agreeing that this is any kind of excuse, it is nonetheless something I can see being a real possibility, since it hints at some very real aspects of deepening insight. Memory, and the nature of the personal story ARE deeply impacted by it, and there isn't always much discussion about how that gets dealt with. 

Certainly I have met a number of long-enlightened people whose functioning in society seems deeply altered by years of practice, and deep insight. Anyone else find this interesting?
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

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I found that interesting. I read it as a warning about the dangers of spending too much time in god realm (refined mind states) if one intends or needs to return to human realm at some point!
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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He fell into a common trap, sort of like becoming enamored of being in some non-dual whirlpool and ignoring the rest of experience. That's not an excuse for bad behavior, or for ignoring the pain and suffering of others or, worse, causing it. It seems to me he's lived in a privileged environment and that enabled his behavior and his willingness to ignore his surroundings and the people in his life to the extent that he did. He's also making it sound very advanced and sort of woo-woo, but it's not. It's just not. This is fallen guru stuff, folks.
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

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Yup.  It's disingenuous fallen guru excuses. Thirty pages of it. 
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Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Months ago.

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Damn, you guys are hard! If I remember correctly, I was the hard liner when his problems first surfaced 18 or so months ago. His story does seem to reaffirm that we are the owners of our karma. 

But back to the issue here: are people prepared for how advanced realization might affect how they deal with the world? Apparently not. Could the communities of which we are a part find a way to help do this?
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Noah D, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris, can you elaborate on "priveleged environment?" 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris, can you elaborate on "priveleged environment?" 

Sure:

Culadasa was a respected dharma teacher with a solid following and a sangha of his making. An author of a well-respected dharma book. Someone people looked up to and revered. That creates privilege. He lived in that environment for many years. All of the idolatry is enabling of bad behavior. We've seen it many times in other similar cases.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
Chris, can you elaborate on "priveleged environment?" 

Sure:

Culadasa was a respected dharma teacher with a solid following and a sangha of his making. An author of a well-respected dharma book. Someone people looked up to and revered. That creates privilege. He lived in that environment for many years. All of the idolatry is enabling of bad behavior. We've seen it many times in other similar cases.
What are you referring to when you say "bad behavior "? To be clear, I was angry at him two summers ago because it appeared that he'd cheated on his wife. Now it appears that by the time he had sex with other people he and his wife were separated. So are you denouncing him for having a sex life? If so, a whole lot of us are in trouble. Or are the sex workers the problem? He makes clear that he wasn't out on the street looking for them, and that there was no exploitation involved. 

Or are you taking issue with the lack of candor to others about the status of his marriage? He kept that a secret out of deference to Nancy's wishes. Are you bothered by his wish to help pay W's medical bills? I personally see that as a good thing for him to have done. What else--his inability to stand up to people and express his feelings with openness and precision? He would agree with you there, and says so over and over, but I don't think the term "bad behavior" is suitable, plus you and Shargrol wave his declarations away as excuses. Excuses for what? For having a messy life? 

I am especially puzzled by Shargrol saying Culadasa wrote his book without having had much traction from his own practice. You both are people who in the past have been willing to acknowledge that advanced-level meditators can have personal issues that require therapy in addition to their practice. So why can't Culadasa be unable to address his tendency to compartmentalize and/or placate angry people in order to avoid confrontation, without your questioning his realization? He has dropped everything else for the past year and a half in the interests of addressing this pattern, and is now reporting his results.

One thing Culadasa said that interests me in particular is that there are plateaux in practice. Having recently moved on from a years-long plateau myself, I can attest that this is true. I would think this issue is worth further study.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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Laurel, I'm flummoxed by this man's behavior throughout this saga, so I'm referring to all of that. The whole thing reeks of shadow side craziness on all sides - Culdasa, his ex-wife, the board of Dharma Treasure. It's just weird.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Months ago.

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What it is to my mind is just plain sad, overwhelmingly so. Life is sad; relationships are complicated and full of false expectations and disappointments. This does not necessarily add up to bad behavior, however, and it would be a mistake to throw this man into the same basket of deplorables as those gurus who have abused their privilege and their students. Culadasa's privileged environment made it possible for him to avoid facing his unskillful patterns for a long time, and he admits to this. Even when we are not being abusive of others (what I call bad behavior) we can do harm by virtue of our personal inadequacies. I have done harm along those lines, as has everyone. Culadasa has paid a terrible price. I see no reason, however, to question his attainments, his teachings, or his ability to continue teaching. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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 I see no reason, however, to question his attainments, his teachings, or his ability to continue teaching. 

Okay, that's fine. I'll just leave this thought - I would not want to be his student.
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

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It is sad. His major fault seems to have been ignoring stuff (final fetter!). He seems to be doing his best to address it under tough circumstances. But there are still some red flags, e.g. apologizing to his wife and the board whilst also blaming them (been there). I’m reminded that codependency can also be a form of narcissism – subconsciously allowing a situation of victimhood to develop as a way of getting attention. I do feel sorry for the guy, even if the situation was ultimately of his own creating. But yeah 100% the oxygen for this kind of saga is the belief that awakening is some kind of special experience which requires hanging out with special people in a special place (other than here on the DhO obviously).
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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Yes, this makes me sad, too. But not so sad that I lose sight of how dysfunctional the whole episode is on all sides.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
He fell into a common trap, sort of like becoming enamored of being in some non-dual whirlpool and ignoring the rest of experience. That's not an excuse for bad behavior, or for ignoring the pain and suffering of others or, worse, causing it. It seems to me he's lived in a privileged environment and that enabled his behavior and his willingness to ignore his surroundings and the people in his life to the extent that he did. He's also making it sound very advanced and sort of woo-woo, but it's not. It's just not. This is fallen guru stuff, folks.

Right it's not an excuse, as I mentioned. Agreed. Setting that aside, because I really am NOT interested in his interpersonal relationships or excuses - you are saying it is not a thing then, in your opinion? The experience of time and story are not altered in this way? You don't believe it is possible, or believe it is some kind of choice, rather than the natural result of deeper, longer or more isolated practice? Or?
T DC, modified 8 Months ago.

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Stirling, the issues of spiritual bypassing and the "stink of Zen" come to mind.  Even when our realizations on the path are genuine, there is always the possibility that we overestimate their effect on our deeper issues.  Often meditators come to the path in an attempt to solve deep and lingering social and emotional issues, and when we achive some success it's ironically also very easy to develop significant blind spots. 

I really don't think an integrated path effects our temporal memory or processing in any significant way as to be a hindrance to normal functioning.  However, if we do get wrapped up in ideas of living solely in the naked present moment and leaving our past issues behind us through the powers of realization alone - combined with significant experiences of meditative emptiness, but lacking a greater context for the gifts and shortcomings of these experiences - I think this could certainly be a powerful concoction for self-delusion. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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The experience of time and story are not altered in this way? You don't believe it is possible, or believe it is some kind of choice, rather than the natural result of deeper, longer or more isolated practice? Or?

Altered states are states. I've seen this kind of thing and experienced it myself. I've had ridiculously fabulous, wondrous, sad, scary, insane experiences (states) while meditating. They don't last for very long and don't affect the way we live for extended periods of time. I'm sure it's possible to be mentally ill, injured, or have a tumor of some sort that will cause these effects for long periods, but a meditation practice that forever alters the basic experience of being a human, for years? No, sorry, I'm not buying it.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
The experience of time and story are not altered in this way? You don't believe it is possible, or believe it is some kind of choice, rather than the natural result of deeper, longer or more isolated practice? Or?

Altered states are states. I've seen this kind of thing and experienced it myself. I've had ridiculously fabulous, wondrous, sad, scary, insane experiences (states) while meditating. They don't last for very long and don't affect the way we live for extended periods of time. I'm sure it's possible to be mentally ill, injured, or have a tumor of some sort that will cause these effects for long periods, but a meditation practice that forever alters the basic experience of being a human, for years? No, sorry, I'm not buying it.

I guess I'm not making myself clear, or easy to understand, or perhaps the proximity to the Culadasa letter has made this impossible to break out as a sub-topic, so I'll go ahead and make this its own topic, unfreighted by any feelings or facts in relation to this one. 
DD DD DD, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:

Altered states are states. I've seen this kind of thing and experienced it myself. I've had ridiculously fabulous, wondrous, sad, scary, insane experiences (states) while meditating. They don't last for very long and don't affect the way we live for extended periods of time. I'm sure it's possible to be mentally ill, injured, or have a tumor of some sort that will cause these effects for long periods, but a meditation practice that forever alters the basic experience of being a human, for years? No, sorry, I'm not buying it.


Isn't the whole point of Buddhism that altered states in meditation lead to permanent changes in the basic experience of being human?

Without commenting on Culadasa's personal situation, I think it's crazy to suggest that the sort of thing he's describing is somehow totally out of left field in terms of an experience a very advanced practitioner might be having.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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Isn't the whole point of Buddhism that altered states in meditation lead to permanent changes in the basic experience of being human?

How would the basic experience of being human change? In my version of this, the basic experience of being human includes all the common, everyday qualities we all share. It's not those basic experiences that change. What changes is our understanding of them, and relationship to them.
DD DD DD, modified 8 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:

How would the basic experience of being human change? In my version of this, the basic experience of being human includes all the common, everyday qualities we all share. It's not those basic experiences that change. What changes is our understanding of them, and relationship to them.


Yeah I think it's sort of turtles all the way down, i.e. dependent on our definitions of words and so on. But to put what I'm saying in pragmatic dharma language: I think of 3C's as part of the basic experience of being human, and I'd imagine that a more advanced practitioner would have less dukkha than a less advanced one, thus changing their basic experience.

How plausible this sort of experience sounds is obviously based upon what tradition you are looking from, but even for the more pragmatic dharma crowd here, one might interpret his experience as a subtle and extended dark night. People on here seem to have no trouble with the notion of a dark night "lasting" (however much anything may last) years. That would qualify IMO as a change in the basic experience...

Anyways, if you read e.g. Jeffrey Martin's stuff, which I consider to originate mostly from the modern non-dual crowd, this type of zombie-like consequence of enlightenment is considered totally standard. I believe that many other groups also have similar ideas of enlightenment side effects. Certainly from the perspective of traditional Theravada, where the goal is to end craving, aversion, and delusion, thus enabling you to e.g. experience no mental suffering at physical pain, profound changes in basic experience are the goal.

All I'm saying is that, whatever our opinion of the likelihood or desirability of this sort of experience, there are tons of people just like us who 1) think that this experience is common and 2) a normal side effect of legitimate awakening, plus there are many old traditions that idealize awakening as somewhat zombie-like.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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I think of 3C's as part of the basic experience of being human, and I'd imagine that a more advanced practitioner would have less dukkha than a less advanced one, thus changing their basic experience.

So why do you think it works that way? How would seeing through the three characteristics change our basic human experience? Are you sure this is about less dukkha, or is it about knowing how dukkha works and relating to it differently? I say it's the latter, from my personal experience.

Certainly from the perspective of traditional Theravada, where the goal is to end craving, aversion, and delusion, thus enabling you to e.g. experience no mental suffering at physical pain, profound changes in basic experience are the goal.

End? Or understand?

This matters. A lot. It's sad to me that people get so confused about it. This is where the dharma gets very fuzzy for many, and the notion creeps in that awakening literally ends suffering can become dangerous and pernicious.
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Ben V., modified 8 Months ago.

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Concerning 'End' vs 'Understand', I think the whole debate is inevitable even from the get go of the tradition, the core texts, the suttas. Not saying the suttas are ambiguous. It's more complicated than that. Here is an attempt to reconcile both views.

In the suttas the Buddha often uses fairly unambiguous, clear expressions that often favour the "End' of craving/suffering argument. We read things like: ''the destruction'' of craving'', ''uprooting craving like a palm stump so that it cannot arise again'', etc. Even the 3rd Noble Truth is called ''Nirodha Sacca'', the truth of ''cessation'' (of dukkha). In dependent origination discourses he talks or cessation of each link, including ''tanha nirodha'', cessation of  craving. Reading passages like these, it's hard not to see Theravada as advocating for the end of craving, aversion, and delusion.

And yet in other suttas he makes it clear that all experiences are dukkha. He says ''sabe sankhara dukkha'' (all formations are dukkha), and that ''whatever is felt is included in dukkha'' in Samyutta-Nikaya. He also says the eightfold path is for the full understanding of dukkha. Hence, here, supporting the 'understnd' part of this debate.

What I wonder then, is by absolute cessation of craving, suffering, etc, what is meant is cessation as meant in fruition (cessation of all mental activities). With the cessation of experience, obviously there is no craving, since everything ceased. But once back to conscious experience, the dukkha of life is still there, although understood clearly and related to differently (i.e. no identification of self with it).

Note: I'm saying this more from a textual analysis point of view than personal experience. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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Reading passages like these, it's hard not to see Theravada as advocating for the end of craving, aversion, and delusion.

Maybe this is sloppy translation combined with an oral tradition and ignorant or willful misinterpretation.

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DD DD DD, modified 8 Months ago.

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MCTB2:
If our “awakening” doesn’t endure the test of time, or if there is not a fundamental and sustained reduction in suffering, write it off and keep going.
I consider Daniel/Mahasi crowd to be at more or less the "light" end of a spectrum of interpretations of the effects of awakening. On the far, "heavy" side, I would place e.g. Tibetan Buddhism (flying is a pre-requisite for further pre-requisites). Certainly most modern Thai + Burmese meditation traditions plus some Advaita Vedanta traditions (others it's impossible to discuss as they are coming at things from the non-dual view totally) have a pretty strict view on the consequences of enlightenment, more so than Daniel. See e.g. Papagi unconcerned at news of the death of his son.

I agree with Ben V. that the suttas seem pretty unambiguous to me in terms of a very strict view of awakening, another illustrating snippet is the Sallatha Sutta (two arrows simile):
When touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental.
As I was saying above, my only point here is that it's not as if your intepretation in terms of understanding rather than ending is mainstream or historically standard. I'm not even saying that's a bad thing, as I'm perfectly ok with the possibility that traditional Buddhism is more theory than fact.

As for myself, I'm agnostic. The only thing I believe in is states of consciousness moving towards and near cessation, since I believe I've experienced those and gotten close to reality collapsing. I am optimistic about the possibility of cessation, and want to "run the experiment" to find out what might change for me after. But for my 5 years of practice life I've been a foolish worldling, wandering far and wide always unable to do the deed so to speak, so I don't know for sure.

I do believe that people do experience authentic, profound, and lasting changes to their consciousness due to intense practice - the stories abound. As for whether that's pathological or what the Buddha was talking about I don't know.
Martin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Chris Marti:
 but a meditation practice that forever alters the basic experience of being a human, for years? No, sorry, I'm not buying it.

Can you elaborate here? Are you saying that meditation never results in a permanent (or even multi-year) fundamental alteration of experience? 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

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Can you elaborate here? Are you saying that meditation never results in a permanent (or even multi-year) fundamental alteration of experience? 

The fundamental qualities of being human: intelligence (thoughts), emotions. We always have these. What changes with a dedicated practice, sometimes permanently, is how well we know them (intimacy), what we do with them, how we use them. 
charon, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Stirling Campbell:
Sidebar:

Setting aside Culadasa's drama with his wife or questions of his legitimacy as a teacher, I found this section of his letter most intriguing:

During the past year and a half, I’ve also learned to appreciate and experience certain profound depths to this Dharma that I’d known about, but hadn’t fully understood and applied before.

For years I’d been living mostly in the present moment, more in the ongoing awareness of suchness and emptiness than narrative and form. As part of this radical shift in perspective, I’d stopped “thinking about myself,” creating the “story of me.” I now realize that, while freed of the burdens of “if only” and “what if,” I’d also lost another kind of perspective those narratives provide. By embracing the now as I had, I’d let that other world of linear time and narrative fall away. Thus I found myself unable to counter what the Board confronted me with by providing my own perspective, “my story” about what had happened so many years before. Having lost the perspective and context that comes from longer term and larger scale autobiographical narratives, I failed to recognize how out of context those long-ago events were with the present.

While all narratives may ultimately be empty constructs, they are also indispensable to our ability to function effectively in the realm of conventional reality and interpersonal relationships. When trying to respond to the Board, all I had were the pieces from which those narratives are usually constructed. I was hopelessly unsuccessful in my attempts to put them together on the spur of the moment to provide a more accurate counterpart to the unrecognizable narrative I was being confronted with. And that is how I overlooked such obviously important facts as those described above, and why I apologized so inaccurately.

While I'm not agreeing that this is any kind of excuse, it is nonetheless something I can see being a real possibility, since it hints at some very real aspects of deepening insight. Memory, and the nature of the personal story ARE deeply impacted by it, and there isn't always much discussion about how that gets dealt with. 

Certainly I have met a number of long-enlightened people whose functioning in society seems deeply altered by years of practice, and deep insight. Anyone else find this interesting?

 

 
I also found this the most interesting part of it, and was really hoping it would be discussed by some really experienced meditators on here. To what degree is this pointing towards how living in the present moment for extended periods of time can affect and distort the narratives that shape modern day social reality in unexpected ways. And, how much of this is compounded by the setting, say someone like Culdasa living in an almost retreat like setting on/off for many years would likely be more susceptible to distortions that someone living a more integrated life within an everyday setting. The ‘Guru’ aspect would again further compound this, I suspect.
 
Lots of different threads, all very interesting to consider.
Edward, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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charon:
Stirling Campbell:
Sidebar:

Setting aside Culadasa's drama with his wife or questions of his legitimacy as a teacher, I found this section of his letter most intriguing:

During the past year and a half, I’ve also learned to appreciate and experience certain profound depths to this Dharma that I’d known about, but hadn’t fully understood and applied before.

For years I’d been living mostly in the present moment, more in the ongoing awareness of suchness and emptiness than narrative and form. As part of this radical shift in perspective, I’d stopped “thinking about myself,” creating the “story of me.” I now realize that, while freed of the burdens of “if only” and “what if,” I’d also lost another kind of perspective those narratives provide. By embracing the now as I had, I’d let that other world of linear time and narrative fall away. Thus I found myself unable to counter what the Board confronted me with by providing my own perspective, “my story” about what had happened so many years before. Having lost the perspective and context that comes from longer term and larger scale autobiographical narratives, I failed to recognize how out of context those long-ago events were with the present.

While all narratives may ultimately be empty constructs, they are also indispensable to our ability to function effectively in the realm of conventional reality and interpersonal relationships. When trying to respond to the Board, all I had were the pieces from which those narratives are usually constructed. I was hopelessly unsuccessful in my attempts to put them together on the spur of the moment to provide a more accurate counterpart to the unrecognizable narrative I was being confronted with. And that is how I overlooked such obviously important facts as those described above, and why I apologized so inaccurately.

While I'm not agreeing that this is any kind of excuse, it is nonetheless something I can see being a real possibility, since it hints at some very real aspects of deepening insight. Memory, and the nature of the personal story ARE deeply impacted by it, and there isn't always much discussion about how that gets dealt with. 

Certainly I have met a number of long-enlightened people whose functioning in society seems deeply altered by years of practice, and deep insight. Anyone else find this interesting?

 

 
I also found this the most interesting part of it, and was really hoping it would be discussed by some really experienced meditators on here. To what degree is this pointing towards how living in the present moment for extended periods of time can affect and distort the narratives that shape modern day social reality in unexpected ways. And, how much of this is compounded by the setting, say someone like Culdasa living in an almost retreat like setting on/off for many years would likely be more susceptible to distortions that someone living a more integrated life within an everyday setting. The ‘Guru’ aspect would again further compound this, I suspect.
 
Lots of different threads, all very interesting to consider.

Oliver Sacks describes the case of a man with such debilitating brain damage to his frontal and temporal lobes that he was confined to the present moment. He was venerated by the Hare Krishnas as an awakened being. 

https://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/users/se367/14/Readings/sacks-Oliver-1995_anthropologist-on-mars_the-last-hippie.pdf
charon, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 36 Join Date: 11/24/10 Recent Posts
Edward:
charon:
Stirling Campbell:
Sidebar:

Setting aside Culadasa's drama with his wife or questions of his legitimacy as a teacher, I found this section of his letter most intriguing:

During the past year and a half, I’ve also learned to appreciate and experience certain profound depths to this Dharma that I’d known about, but hadn’t fully understood and applied before.

For years I’d been living mostly in the present moment, more in the ongoing awareness of suchness and emptiness than narrative and form. As part of this radical shift in perspective, I’d stopped “thinking about myself,” creating the “story of me.” I now realize that, while freed of the burdens of “if only” and “what if,” I’d also lost another kind of perspective those narratives provide. By embracing the now as I had, I’d let that other world of linear time and narrative fall away. Thus I found myself unable to counter what the Board confronted me with by providing my own perspective, “my story” about what had happened so many years before. Having lost the perspective and context that comes from longer term and larger scale autobiographical narratives, I failed to recognize how out of context those long-ago events were with the present.

While all narratives may ultimately be empty constructs, they are also indispensable to our ability to function effectively in the realm of conventional reality and interpersonal relationships. When trying to respond to the Board, all I had were the pieces from which those narratives are usually constructed. I was hopelessly unsuccessful in my attempts to put them together on the spur of the moment to provide a more accurate counterpart to the unrecognizable narrative I was being confronted with. And that is how I overlooked such obviously important facts as those described above, and why I apologized so inaccurately.

While I'm not agreeing that this is any kind of excuse, it is nonetheless something I can see being a real possibility, since it hints at some very real aspects of deepening insight. Memory, and the nature of the personal story ARE deeply impacted by it, and there isn't always much discussion about how that gets dealt with. 

Certainly I have met a number of long-enlightened people whose functioning in society seems deeply altered by years of practice, and deep insight. Anyone else find this interesting?

 

 
I also found this the most interesting part of it, and was really hoping it would be discussed by some really experienced meditators on here. To what degree is this pointing towards how living in the present moment for extended periods of time can affect and distort the narratives that shape modern day social reality in unexpected ways. And, how much of this is compounded by the setting, say someone like Culdasa living in an almost retreat like setting on/off for many years would likely be more susceptible to distortions that someone living a more integrated life within an everyday setting. The ‘Guru’ aspect would again further compound this, I suspect.
 
Lots of different threads, all very interesting to consider.

Oliver Sacks describes the case of a man with such debilitating brain damage to his frontal and temporal lobes that he was confined to the present moment. He was venerated by the Hare Krishnas as an awakened being. 

https://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/users/se367/14/Readings/sacks-Oliver-1995_anthropologist-on-mars_the-last-hippie.pdf


Thanks for the link, I'd not heard of this case before.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I also found this the most interesting part of it, and was really hoping it would be discussed by some really experienced meditators on here. To what degree is this pointing towards how living in the present moment for extended periods of time can affect and distort the narratives that shape modern day social reality in unexpected ways. And, how much of this is compounded by the setting, say someone like Culdasa living in an almost retreat like setting on/off for many years would likely be more susceptible to distortions that someone living a more integrated life within an everyday setting. The ‘Guru’ aspect would again further compound this, I suspect.

I'm going to continue to take a hard line here because this man Culadasa is relying on you all to accept his trite excuses.

The idea that one can live only in the present and be totally unaware of one's life, surroundings and the reality outside of just the momentary last few seconds is nonsense, unless it's being used to explain away bad behavior of some sort. I keep mentioning about self-awareness because it is the mark of being grounded in the reality of being a human being, right here, right now. If he was as realized as people think, Culdasa would have the level of self-awareness that keeps us humans on the track of being decent and respectful of others as called for, and not using our mediation practice as an excuse. It's upsetting when gurus leverage their so-called "crazy wisdom" or advanced practice oon those in their vicinity who respect them. It's a form of abuse.

These gurus are people. Please hold them to common-sense standards of behavior and accept nothing less.

Also, I read the entire document, despite it being insanely long and hard to stomach.

Please see shargrol's latest post for the rest of what I think about this because it's well-spoken, thoughtful, and correctly captures how we can best think of this silly affair:

I personally find it disengenous to 1) suggest that there is a big gap between the realm of meditation and the realm of psychology, 2) to suggest that it is reasonable for an experienced meditator to be completely blind to very basic psychological motivations and reactive patterns, and 3) it's wrong to use the general framing of "everyone has some blindspots" to excuse some really basic blindspots that really should have been caught through meditation. 

My current working hypothesis is that he has spent a lot of time thinking about meditation and rewriting a book about meditation based on someone else's model and with the benefit of other co-writers... but he doesn't seem to have gotten much traction in his own practice. Happy to be wrong about it.

The reason I feel it is important to say all of this is that we all need to navigate the world of teachers and therapists and meditation books and psychological models of awakening without simply believing what is said --- we need to be able to be critical thinkers and tough judges.  Our own minds are at stake.




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Ben V., modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 366 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
I appreciate this reflection, from you Chris and Shargrol, and find it the most grounding reflection for us unenlightened folks aspiring to awakening who are trying to make sense of a suposed enlightened teacher-figure's behavior.

My gut-feeling, initial reflection on reading the document was that this individual/teacher is (sorry only a French Canadian expression came to mind): ''il patine''. Which means ''he's skating''. It is a strange expression basically meaning when someone made a big mistake and spends a lot of energy trying to explain/cover it up with long or countless explanations. I think the expression came from the image of someone about to fall on the ice but making huge efforts not to fall, legs flying in all directions trying to regain balance, yet everyone watching knows the person will fall. But then I think, ''what do I know'', I'm not enlightened. I think this can lead to much confusion in students: they refuse to listen to their gut feeling and common sense on the ground that they are not enlightened, but the teacher is.

I wonder if all these scandals should not make people re-think the teacher-student relationship. Now everytime I hear of a teacher that lives in some 'Ashram-like' setting, the only teacher in the community with no peer supervision, surrounded by an admiring crowd, somewhat disconnected from the real world, my red flag alert goes on immediately. 

In the pragmatic dharma world, this model is thannkfully abscent. It seems more like a coaching model in which more experienced meditators give advice or coaching, and nothing more. The IMS-Spirit Rock model also seems good, where they don't have a 'one guru' model as described above, and have peer supervision and a clear code of ethics. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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 I think this can lead to much confusion in students: they refuse to listen to their gut feeling and common sense on the ground that they are not enlightened, but the teacher is.

Yes.

This is what wayward gurus rely on, and leverage, from their followers - reverence, unquestioned belief, and not applying common sense judgment to their specialness.
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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And we give the specialness to the gurus because we secretly want to be special ourselves, but don't want to own it directly, so we vicariously live it out by associating with the special guru. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Martin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Stirling Campbell:
Sidebar:


Certainly I have met a number of long-enlightened people whose functioning in society seems deeply altered by years of practice, and deep insight. Anyone else find this interesting?


Yes, I found that interesting. You can see why people have, in the past, gone off to live in caves or monasteries, instead of trying to run a business and juggle relationships. It's not surprising that there are aspects of fundamentally modifying your experience of reality that get in the way of doing those sorts of things. Life is pretty tricky even when you don't throw DYI mindscaping into the mix. Caution makes sense.  
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Noah D, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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I read it all.  I found it convincing.
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Griffin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 169 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
I have a feeling that many people commenting this haven't actually read the document. 

This is his side of the story, surely not the objective picture and the whole truth. It's probably biased in a ton of ways. HOWEVER, if what he said is at least partially correct, it changes the situation in a considerable way. Apparently, he and his wife were informally separated and she accepted his decision to have new intimate relationships. That's a completely different picture than what was presented to us initially. If that's true, then we were all lied to. Of course, maybe Culadasa is the one lying, but we cannot judge him like we have evidence that he is.

And, although Culadasa's case is certainly a fall of his public persona, I don't know whether it's far to compare his case to fallen gurus who manupulated, brainwashed and literaly raped their students.

As for whether he has the right to be a meditation teacher... I learned from MCTB that however awakened you are, you can still have any  kind of ordinary, interpersonal or psychological problems. 

I am saddened by this whole situation and the suffering of all people involved... Let's not rush to judge anyone...
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Griffin:
This is his side of the story, surely not the objective picture and the whole truth. It's probably biased in a ton of ways.

[...]

As for whether he has the right to be a meditation teacher... I learned from MCTB that however awakened you are, you can still have any  kind of ordinary, interpersonal or psychological problems. 

I am saddened by this whole situation and the suffering of all people involved... Let's not rush to judge anyone...

The nice thing about all of this is that time will tell. It really is that simple... 

But in the interim, it's okay to use our critical thinking, develop hypothesis, come to judgements. There is nothing wrong with thinking about things, developing a mental model of what could/may have happened. Critical thinking is perfectly fine.

There are lots of times in life we're going to have to make judgements with imperfect information. (In fact, our own practice entirely consists of making decisions with imperfect information and imperfect self-awareness). So this case study can be used as an exercise. Predict what you think is occurring, watch the evidence emerge, refine your ideas over time...

It's okay to ask things like:

What are the similarities and differences between what he is saying in this and in this interview from just three years ago? https://deconstructingyourself.com/transcript-culadasa-on-meditation-and-therapy.html

What are ways of interpreting his long-time view that difficult psychological stages of mediation like the dark night are to be avoided? How does his recent admission of being an avoidant personality and having significant psychological blindspots influence the interpretation of what he is saying in this video?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QHfBdHGaJk&feature=youtu.be

Are these ordinary, interpersonal or psychological problems? Do we expect to have these problems when we progress in our meditation? Are these kinds of blindspots something we should just accept as inevitable?

etc.

I personally find it disengenous to 1) suggest that there is a big gap between the realm of meditation and the realm of psychology, 2) to suggest that it is reasonable for an experienced meditator to be completely blind to very basic psychological motivations and reactive patterns, and 3) it's wrong to use the general framing of "everyone has some blindspots" to excuse some really basic blindspots that really should have been caught through meditation. 

My current working hypothesis is that he has spent a lot of time thinking about meditation and rewriting a book about meditation based on someone else's model and with the benefit of other co-writers... but he doesn't seem to have gotten much traction in his own practice. Happy to be wrong about it.

The reason I feel it is important to say all of this is that we all need to navigate the world of teachers and therapists and meditation books and psychological models of awakening without simply believing what is said --- we need to be able to be critical thinkers and tough judges.  Our own minds are at stake.
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Griffin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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I agree that we should openly discuss this, but I didn't use the word "judge" in the sense of using critical thinking, but in the sense of delivering a final verdict. E.g. deciding that the first version of events we heard is a complete truth and that anything Culadasa subsequently says is false. I don't know whether his wife had indeed approved of his relationships when they occured, and later decided to use that information for some kind of personal/financial revenge, as he says. But if there is any truth to it, it would be cruel to automatically dismiss his side of the story as disingenuous.

I may come across as his advocate, but that is not the case. I would equally attack him if people just blindly believed in his version of the story, but I defend him now because people are discrediting it too easily.

As for psychology and meditation... Although I had different opinions in the past, I eventually basically accepted the stance of Daniel Ingram in MCTB, that you can be highly awakened (great at meditation) and, at the same time, a bad person or have a mental disorder.
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Zero, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 48 Join Date: 2/21/18 Recent Posts
All in all, the Dharma Treasure Board gots' some explaining to do because the claims Culadasa are making can easily be verified or repudiated. They board took that man's pension and made him leave the house he built apparently. Shady shady. 
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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I agree that something odd is going on with the board. His wife was on the board, so it seems like there is a possibility of non-objectivity there too. 

(But I don't think a not-for-profit has any claim to privately owned possessions.)
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Noah D, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Someone anonymous claiming to be a former dharma treasure board member responded on Reddit -

https://old.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/kw6wbl/a_message_from_culadasa/gj646m2/

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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Peeling the onion, layer by layer.
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Not two, not one, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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It's interesting to reflect on these experiences, and I have enjoyed the many insightful comments already made. A couple of observations from me ...

I think that the traditional recommendation of seclusion - to avoid the snares of the worldly life - doesn't just apply to starting bikkhus. It also applies to advanced meditators like Culadasa. It's pretty obvious that many advanced meditators do engage with wordly snares (Chogyam Trungpa and Drukpa Kunley being prototypical examples) and some of them can "handle it", and some of them can't. I think if you come from a traditional setting with lots of 'peers' rather than a hierarchy, you might be kept a little more grounded. Or if you are withdrawn in a monastery where you can sit in the sun all day dispensing wisdom while acolytes tend to your needs, you have a reasonable chance of avoiding some worldly snares (but perhaps being caught by others). Of course, the programming you have or have not purified ... the specific residue remaining you have to still deal with ... this will also play a role in your ability to manage the snares that arise.

Also, I think part of the not being able to "handle it" (if that is a fair assessment), comes from an absoprtion what we might call the 'God' realm.  Namely living in immediately present non-dual and empty blissful state. This can eventually become a kind of clinging and spiritual bypassing. In effect, a supression of human nature. The result of any such supression is inevitably some kind of compensatory ego extension. So acknowledging our humanity is, I think, an essential aspect of both respecting our biology and living in society. 

Sure you can deconstruct everything into empty narratives. Or you can offer sophisticated analyses of the dependently arising nature of shared reality. But that doesn't mean you always should.  Knowing how a car is built doesn't stop you from driving it - maybe even having fun in it. And if you insist on saying "the mixing device has through interdependent causes adjusted to a position that results in greater quantities of chemical realignment and release of energy according to the dominant physical metaphor system" instead of "I put my foot on the gas", then you are being what we call, in my country, a plonker.

Malcolm
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Not two, not one:
I think that the traditional recommendation of seclusion - to avoid the snares of the worldly life - doesn't just apply to starting bikkhus. It also applies to advanced meditators like Culadasa.



Sentence #1 wouldn't that be like saying we need to imprison anyone that meditates well?

Sentence #2 why do you believe Culadasa is an advanced meditator?


It's interesting how many people on DhO think advanced meditation is something other than mastering the basics, something other than sanity. 
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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In Noah's last link to reddit, there is a comment down the thread which I think is the most reasonable response I've read so far....

"My question is very pragmatic : what about magic of mindfulness? Why he couldn't reprogram some of unwholesome conditionings you pointed above using the magic of mindfulness as described in TMI? Was he aware of these unwholesome conditionings? If yes, why didn't practices like mindful review help him, as promised in TMI?

You see my main concern? I am concerned not about his unwholesome behavior or unconscious conditionings or psychological problems. I am concerned with the role of mindfulness as defined in TMI in dealing with these problems. Either he was not practing his teachings well or his teachings don't work. This is my main concern.

Just to give a little example, I have many blind spots. But, when they lead to suffering and conflict in relationships, I work on them. Even then, I might resist changing an unwholesome pattern if I am too attached to it. Then, I acknowledge the attachment, at least privetly, and see the damage it can create. I might be too lazy to work on the attachment, but then I don't keep myself blind to potential consequences. I keep myself ready to any harm I will cause myself and others. Even if I become deluded, I don't see the potential for harm in my resistance to change, I can be mindful of my delusion and realize that my mind is foggy and I shouldn't move much to avoid falling. This can go forever.

I want to know where Culadasa is on this spectrum. I expect him to be much better than me."
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Once again, I think we must be reminded of the dharma of Brad Warner:


http://hardcorezen.info/enlightenment-and-cat-poop/3949
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
shargrol:
In Noah's last link to reddit, there is a comment down the thread which I think is the most reasonable response I've read so far....

"My question is very pragmatic : what about magic of mindfulness? Why he couldn't reprogram some of unwholesome conditionings you pointed above using the magic of mindfulness as described in TMI? Was he aware of these unwholesome conditionings? If yes, why didn't practices like mindful review help him, as promised in TMI?

You see my main concern? I am concerned not about his unwholesome behavior or unconscious conditionings or psychological problems. I am concerned with the role of mindfulness as defined in TMI in dealing with these problems. Either he was not practing his teachings well or his teachings don't work. This is my main concern.

Just to give a little example, I have many blind spots. But, when they lead to suffering and conflict in relationships, I work on them. Even then, I might resist changing an unwholesome pattern if I am too attached to it. Then, I acknowledge the attachment, at least privetly, and see the damage it can create. I might be too lazy to work on the attachment, but then I don't keep myself blind to potential consequences. I keep myself ready to any harm I will cause myself and others. Even if I become deluded, I don't see the potential for harm in my resistance to change, I can be mindful of my delusion and realize that my mind is foggy and I shouldn't move much to avoid falling. This can go forever.

I want to know where Culadasa is on this spectrum. I expect him to be much better than me."

This! Although I've got to say that I very rarely see practicioners master this. I think Culadasa is far from the only one who needs to work on their mindfulness in this regard. He is a very clear example, though. That was my impression long before this incident, when I saw him expressing himself in a conflict with Daniel here at DhO. What appeared to me as lots of suppressed anger behind polished facades (the vibes stood out from the text) scared me. At the time I was sort of hoping that I was just projecting stuff. After all, posts on the internet can easily be misunderstood with regard to tone. 

By the way, I'm very glad to see this analysis of what the practice is about, because earlier when I wrote here on DhO about wanting the practice to help me become a better person, by way of working with reactional patterns, I got a lot of feedback that seemed to be indicating that was a fallacy. Maybe those were misunderstandings, I don't know. 
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

By the way, I'm very glad to see this analysis of what the practice is about, because earlier when I wrote here on DhO about wanting the practice to help me become a better person, by way of working with reactional patterns, I got a lot of feedback that seemed to be indicating that was a fallacy. Maybe those were misunderstandings, I don't know. 


Interesting. I think refining psychological reactive patterns (through awareness and insight) are the heart of practice. MCTB is one of my favorite meditation books, but so is Wake Up to Your Life by Ken McLeod and WUTYL is almost entirely focused on seeing and refining reactive patterns.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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I think because of the schism that happened at DhO long before my time, and because of atrocities that had been committed in the name of Buddhism, sometimes there is a tendency to be cautious about any phrasings that suggest that the practice would make someone a better person unless they come from someone who is well known to not mean it in any dangerous way. I think I unknowingly stumbled into a minefield because I wasn't aware that I would need to position myself clearly as neither an actualist nor a violent fundamentalist. I was just hoping that the practice would make it easier to do good and avoid doing harm, for me and for others, because well... it aint always pretty. And then of course there are also a few practitioners that want it to be all about the cool effects, but that doesn't really bother me because I'm not buying it anyway (although I'll admit I'm a sucker for cool effects too, as an appertizer and for dessert). 

I read Malcolm differently from you. I thought he made a great point in reminding us that there is always stuff to work with, as we keep getting tangled up because that's how life works. And in dealing with issues of daily life, we have plenty of opportunities to spot what our karma needs us to work with. It's sort of a mixed blessing. As long as we stay humble and mindful enough to recognize our limitations, that's fine, but if we think we are done with that work, we are deluded by blind spots. I'm assuming that goes for arahants too. Do you agree? I'm NOT saying that Culadasa is an arahant; I'm not qualified to assess that and I sort of hope that there's more to arahanthood than that. 
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
shargrol:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

By the way, I'm very glad to see this analysis of what the practice is about, because earlier when I wrote here on DhO about wanting the practice to help me become a better person, by way of working with reactional patterns, I got a lot of feedback that seemed to be indicating that was a fallacy. Maybe those were misunderstandings, I don't know. 


Interesting. I think refining psychological reactive patterns (through awareness and insight) are the heart of practice. MCTB is one of my favorite meditation books, but so is Wake Up to Your Life by Ken McLeod and WUTYL is almost entirely focused on seeing and refining reactive patterns.

Amen to this angle. Shargrol recently pointed out that a lot of the earliest Buddhist metaphors are agricultural--- spiritual practice as cultivation. The metaphor leads naturally to what are we cultivating, and what is the fruit of that? Plant the Dharma, nurture it in your heart and mind, in your body and breath, in your life, and what ripens, what crop comes in? In the Judeo-Christian tradition too, practice is likened to raising a crop, and it is said that by their fruits ye shall know them. The fruits of the spirit, in one scriptural formulation, are said to be "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control: against such there is no law." In the Zen ox-herding cycle, the path doesn't end at the emptiness, no self, no ox. The last step is coming back to town; versions vary, but they seem to agree that the coming back to town is to offer the fruits of all that ox-wrestling in some way. The bodhisattva path mythology is in the same ballpark, and some of those bodisattvas are at it for eons--- refining their reactive patterns, it is easy enough to imagine. Beyond a certain point, doesn't the ripeness and sweetness and nurture of the fruit speak for itself? If not, what the fuck are we doing sweating out here under the sun with a hoe in our hands?
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Tim Farrington:

what the fuck are we doing sweating out here under the sun with a hoe in our hands?

Interesting choice of metaphor given the circumstances.
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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lol. very low-hanging fruit there, George.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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It's interesting how many people on DhO think advanced meditation is something other than mastering the basics, something other than sanity. 

We could spend all day debunking those thoughts, you know. I hereby dub this the Advanced Meditation Fallacy. AMF for short.
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

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Chris Marti:
It's interesting how many people on DhO think advanced meditation is something other than mastering the basics, something other than sanity. 

We could spend all day debunking those thoughts, you know. I hereby dub this the Advanced Meditation Fallacy. AMF for short.

AMF, so shall it be.
T DC, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 393 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
It's interesting how many people on DhO think advanced meditation is something other than mastering the basics, something other than sanity. 

We could spend all day debunking those thoughts, you know. I hereby dub this the Advanced Meditation Fallacy. AMF for short.


Well, you know, it would seem that mastering the basics would put one naturally into the intermediate meditation category - and as for basic sanity, this term lacks any clear definition, but could certainly be understood to be quite advanced.  ;)  

Are you two really quite sure there's no advanced meditation, or really just no moral perfection, even among advanced meditators.  Please help me out here - as a refugee of mushroom culture, I find your newly coined acronym of AMF frankly terrifying. 

Best, Tim 
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
T DC:


Are you two really quite sure there's no advanced meditation, or really just no moral perfection, even among advanced meditators.  Please help me out here - as a refugee of mushroom culture, I find your newly coined acronym of AMF frankly terrifying. 

Best, Tim 


Could you be more specific? I don't think I understand your question.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Are you two really quite sure there's no advanced meditation, or really just no moral perfection, even among advanced meditators.  Please help me out here - as a refugee of mushroom culture, I find your newly coined acronym of AMF frankly terrifying. 

I wasn't asserting that there's no such thing as advanced meditation. There is! I was asserting that being involved in it not be used as an excuse for denying one's humanity or as an excuse for being a jerk. So if you're terrified of that, well....

emoticon
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Not two, not one, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
shargrol:
Not two, not one:
I think that the traditional recommendation of seclusion - to avoid the snares of the worldly life - doesn't just apply to starting bikkhus. It also applies to advanced meditators like Culadasa.



Sentence #1 wouldn't that be like saying we need to imprison anyone that meditates well?

Sentence #2 why do you believe Culadasa is an advanced meditator?


It's interesting how many people on DhO think advanced meditation is something other than mastering the basics, something other than sanity. 

#1. Nope. This is the traditional recommendation in some traditions. I didn't say I endorsed it. Returning to the village is better, but this does have an effect on what you might expect from people. That is, behaviour will be different in the world, as opposed to in seclusion, as you are more engaged with the residue remaining.  People from traditions that value seclusion may have difficulty of interpreting the behaviour of people who don't engage in seclusion, because their traditions may conflate the effects of advanced practice with the effects of seclusion.  

#2. I thought this was an uncontroversial statement, given his extensive scholarship and teaching. He must have quite a lot of understanding derived from direct knowledge.

#3. Do you mean me?  emoticon  I don't really buy into these discussions of the true meaning of terms (e.g. advanced meditation), as it just degenerates into a language game. But I would say knowledge and vision of things as they really are is a bit different from noticing that you are breathing in long. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Knowing how a car is built doesn't stop you from driving it...

There's always the possibility that the person is ignorant of both the technology and its use.
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 2027 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Not two, not one:

I think that the traditional recommendation of seclusion - to avoid the snares of the worldly life - doesn't just apply to starting bikkhus.

Hi Malcolm, I like your points. Just wanted to add, I get the impression that the social dynamics in a monastic setting can be quite intense (maybe more so without the escapes of secular life). I imagine that bikkhus still have to work through their conditioning in regard to social relations.
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Not two, not one, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Not two, not one:

I think that the traditional recommendation of seclusion - to avoid the snares of the worldly life - doesn't just apply to starting bikkhus.

Hi Malcolm, I like your points. Just wanted to add, I get the impression that the social dynamics in a monastic setting can be quite intense (maybe more so without the escapes of secular life). I imagine that bikkhus still have to work through their conditioning in regard to social relations.
Thanks, and I'm sure you are right!  emoticon

Malcolm
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
It's pretty obvious that many advanced meditators do engage with wordly snares (Chogyam Trungpa and Drukpa Kunley being prototypical examples) and some of them can "handle it", and some of them can't. I think if you come from a traditional setting with lots of 'peers' rather than a hierarchy, you might be kept a little more grounded. Or if you are withdrawn in a monastery where you can sit in the sun all day dispensing wisdom while acolytes tend to your needs, you have a reasonable chance of avoiding some worldly snares (but perhaps being caught by others). Of course, the programming you have or have not purified ... the specific residue remaining you have to still deal with ... this will also play a role in your ability to manage the snares that arise.

What's a "snare?"
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Not two, not one, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
It's pretty obvious that many advanced meditators do engage with wordly snares (Chogyam Trungpa and Drukpa Kunley being prototypical examples) and some of them can "handle it", and some of them can't. I think if you come from a traditional setting with lots of 'peers' rather than a hierarchy, you might be kept a little more grounded. Or if you are withdrawn in a monastery where you can sit in the sun all day dispensing wisdom while acolytes tend to your needs, you have a reasonable chance of avoiding some worldly snares (but perhaps being caught by others). Of course, the programming you have or have not purified ... the specific residue remaining you have to still deal with ... this will also play a role in your ability to manage the snares that arise.

What's a "snare?"

What's a "snare" Malcolm's First Answer

In Pali - "pasa" as in the "Marapasa" or "Snares of Mara" sutta.

To quote that sutta, these are forms ... sounds ... aromas ... flavours ... touches ... ideas that are agreeable, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing ... If a monk If a monk relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them, he is said to be a monk fettered by forms (etc) knowable by the eye (etc) ... If a monk does not relish them, welcome them, or remain fastened to them, he is said to be a monk freed from forms (etc) cognizable by the eye (etc) ...

Or in other words, snares are things that you might feel some passion towards that leads to binding. Although the sutta doesn't say it, I think that snares can arise from passion resistance as well as passion obsession. You are more likely to be caught by those snares that trigger some of your unresolved sankhara. If you have reached the end of the path, the residue remaining still makes you vulnerable (Arhats still have to deal with the residue remaining), but you wriggle free from the snare pretty easily, if you want to. If you havent reached the end of the path, you probably have more vulnerabilities and require much more mindfulness to deal with it. You have to guard the six sense doors a bit more!
  
What's a "snare" Malcolm's Second Answer
Or, the answer is ... about half of your questions, Chris.  emoticon


Malcolm
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Noah D, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1155 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Over a year ago , a couple of Culadsadas students posted on Reddit with the details Culadasa just released -

 https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/d4h62e/advice_needed_on_how_to_get_back_to_practice/f0euveb/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
Tom C, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 37 Join Date: 8/13/19 Recent Posts
I think it's clear that the historical concept of enlightenment is a complete sham. The idea of a human permenantly and absolutely transcending their humanity (biological and psychological wiring) is just a crazy proposition - it even contradicts the base axioms of the underlying theory.

Even people like Daniel or other people who say 4th 5th or whatever path, can't even describe the quantitive difference before or after any so called attaintment. Why is that? becuase they are still human, and everything is conditioned.

Awakening is suppose to show with clarity the nature of reality and phenomena, that it shows the causally interdependant nature of all phenomena, this gives rise to that, that gives rise to this, consequently informing our behaviours, actions and speech, as to harbor and proliferate positive conditions over negative ones.

The problem is, the sort of philosphical underpinnings of 'awakenining' are seen to be some sort of permenant absolute transcendental state, when in reality it's just a new type of knowledge someone has attained backed up by introspective emperical observation. They are suppose to then take this new philosphical outlook, and start applying it to how they live i.e. the eightfold path.

The fundemental issue, is putting people who attain x path on some type of pedestal, without any of the subsequent behavioural implementaition. There's plenty of people in this world, who have never meditated before, who have more refined, positive behavour, yet they would be discounted as they didn't attain a path. It's madness. 
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Griffin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 169 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
One quick thought...

After Culadasa scandal, many people started assuming that the misconduct can be explained by errors in his meditation practice, which would also be present in TMI. E.g.: "In TMI you are instructed to focus on the breath while ignoring thoughts. That kind of repression resulted in Culadasa's shadow side. It is better to put attention equally on all sensations, including thoughts and emotions." Or: "TMI is a disembodying practice because it makes you focus only on the breath at the nose. This proves that vajrayana and body-based practices are the superior approach".

Although there is a grain of truth to those criticisms (and TMI is far from prerfect), I think they are missing the point and are perpetuating the illusion that there is such a meditation system that will completely free you from psychological "stuff"... you just need to find the "right technique" (the same thing C was preaching about TMI). 

Let's ignore the fact that most of those criticisms are not fully correct (they neglect TMI's emphasis on peripheral awareness, purifications, and all the body scan/full-body practices in the book). And the fact that what they are criticising about TMI are mostly standard samatha advices present in 80% of meditation systems.

The main point is that you will find more problematic examples in ANY other Buddhist tradition. Reggie Ray (body-scanning the shit out of you), Sasaki Roshi ("most enlightened being" Shinzen met), Chogyam Trungpa (full-blown vajrayana). Boom. Worse cases than Culadasa.

Obviously, on the whole, Culadasa's world is not the prime example of what we should aspire to. But let's not pretend that he scrued up just because TMI is not the "correct technique", and then proceede to admiringly read a book by Chogyam Trungpa, Adi Da or Aleister Crowley.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 602 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Griffin:
One quick thought...

After Culadasa scandal, many people started assuming that the misconduct can be explained by errors in his meditation practice, which would also be present in TMI. E.g.: "In TMI you are instructed to focus on the breath while ignoring thoughts. That kind of repression resulted in Culadasa's shadow side. It is better to put attention equally on all sensations, including thoughts and emotions." Or: "TMI is a disembodying practice because it makes you focus on the breath at the nose. This proves that vajrayana and body-based practices are te superior approach".

Although there is a grain of truth to those criticisms (and TMI is far from prerfect), I think they are missing the point and are perpetuating the illusion that there is such a meditation system that will completely free you from psychological "stuff"... you just need to find the "right technique" (the same thing C was preaching about TMI). 

Let's ignore the fact that most of those criticisms are not fully correct (they neglect TMI's emphasis on peripheral awareness, purifications, and all the body scan/full-body practices in the book). And the fact that what they are criticising about TMI are mostly standard samatha advices present in 80% of meditation systems.

The main point is that you will find more problematic examples in ANY other Buddhist tradition. Reggie Ray (body-scanning the shit out of you), Sasaki Roshi ("most enlightened being" Shinzen met), Chogyam Trungpa (full-blown vajrayana). Boom. Worse cases than Culadasa.

Obviously, on the whole, Culadasa's world is not the prime example of what we should aspire to. But let's not pretend that he scrued up just because TMI is not the "correct technique", and then proceede to admiringly read a book by Chogyam Trungpa, Adi Da or Aleister Crowley.

Some questions I think are worth asking: I have no boat in this race, though I did read some of his book, and thought it was very practical and well put together... just not my thing.

Culadasa's book was widely admired. He was widely considered to have deep understanding of the topic but ALSO insight that made him a credible and commonly lauded teacher. 

He has now engaged in practices that appear to have dubious merit and intention and is being held accountable, at the very least in the court of opinion. 

What is different about his book or teachings? Does he still have both the grasp of the topic AND the insight still? Was he still a good teacher BEFORE all of his personal doings came to light? Is he now disqualified?

Griffin's question is a valid one: What of Chogyam Trungpa, Aleister Crowley, Sogyal Rinpoche, et. al. Were/are they enlightened? Do we throw out their books, and reject their "spiritual classics"?  

The action models tend to involve certain actions that awakened beings cannot commit or must commit. Both types of models are completely ridiculous, and so we come now to the first of the models that simply have no basis in reality. The traditional Theravada models contain numerous statements that are simply wrong about what an awakened being cannot do or will do. My favorite examples of this include statements that arahants cannot break the precepts (including killing, lying, stealing, having sex, doing drugs, or drinking), cannot become sexually aroused, cannot have jobs, cannot be married, and cannot say they are arahants. They also state that unordained arahants must join the Theravada monastic order within days of their realization or they will die. Needless to say, all are simply absurd lies, lies that have unfortunately often been perpetuated by arahants.

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-action-models/
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I generally do not throw away books. I also generally do not buy into everything I read, hence no need to throw away books (except I could really use the space, so I apply lots of effort to at least avoid saving all the books that others throw away, lol). Furthermore, I can learn from people without having a student-teacher relationship with them. I find that there is something to learn from all encounters. It may not always be what they think they are teaching me, and vice versa. I avoid getting into closer relationships with people whom I do not respond well to and/or who do not respond well to me, because there is enough suffering in the world as it is, but that doesn't mean that I can't learn selectively from them. I find this approach very useful. 

I'm not surprised by what happened, including people's reactions. It is saddening, though. That includes people's reactions (and I am people too, as is Culadasa). There's an immense variety as to what people are reacting to in this and how, and to what blindspots come to the surface. It's a whole buffet of human yuckiness.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
It's a whole buffet of human yuckiness.

Like everything else. Let's not throw discernment and human nature out with the bathwater  emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
It's a whole buffet of human yuckiness.

Like everything else. Let's not throw discernment and human nature out with the bathwater  emoticon

Human nature generally needs to find some of that discernment and have it's inner child blow it's nose. emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 2134 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Im not replying to Linda. 

What is this all about??? emoticon I mean a guy divorced a woman but decided not to say to anyone. Then found new sex partners and she done the same. 

All this is very normal stuff. 

but then some fanatics from his group started to crucify him for being ... emoticon human??? 

Oh man. I'm now loving Kenneth Folk even more  for trying to bring Buddhism down into the mud emoticon where it really belongs! Mud and Blood! 

Also huge respect for Ken McLeod for stepping down when he did! I'm pretty sure he felt that "guru" shadow being built around him by his students so he stepped away! Nice one Ken! One can teach in a way without teaching in large groups who will inevitably warship you at some stage! It's just human nature. We like feeling safe and teacher provides that safety. 

Then the teacher does some very human thing and we go overboard spitting at him/her for not being our perfect personal Jesus! emoticonemoticon 

All Best wishes to Culadasa the guy and to all those being cought up in this turmoil. 
Sam Gentile, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1345 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko:
Im not replying to Linda. 

What is this all about??? emoticon I mean a guy divorced a woman but decided not to say to anyone. Then found new sex partners and she done the same. 

All this is very normal stuff. 

but then some fanatics from his group started to crucify him for being ... emoticon human??? 

Oh man. I'm now loving Kenneth Folk even more  for trying to bring Buddhism down into the mud emoticon where it really belongs! Mud and Blood! 

Also huge respect for Ken McLeod for stepping down when he did! I'm pretty sure he felt that "guru" shadow being built around him by his students so he stepped away! Nice one Ken! One can teach in a way without teaching in large groups who will inevitably warship you at some stage! It's just human nature. We like feeling safe and teacher provides that safety. 

Then the teacher does some very human thing and we go overboard splitting at him/her for not being our perfect personal Jesus! emoticonemoticon 

All Best wishes to Culadasa the guy and to all those being cought up in this turmoil. 
What Papa Che said! I read the document and listened to him on the  podcast. There is nothing dubious here. He divorced his wife and then they both diferent sexual partners. There are credible explananations for the timing of it all. There's nothing here! And this change the valuable teachings in TMI.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Well, one thing is for sure: I won't take any precepts any time soon. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I regret saying that Culadasa is a clear example of needing to work more with mindfullness with regard to their reactional patterns, as part of a reply to a post by Shargrol citing someone on reddit. I don't have enough knowledge of him as a person or of what actually happened, and it really is not any of my business. It wasn't even my point. My point was that I think it's hazardous for any practicioners to assume that they have gone beyond reactive behaviour, no matter how advanced. So even though I agree that working with one's reactive patterns is an essential part of the path, saying that advanced meditators wouldn't do this and that doesn't add up. Also, unless some people here have their own secure sources, we don't know what this particular practicioner did. I was so eager to address that general question of self-awareness and working on one's issues that I trippled over myself and expressed myself in a judgemental way. That was not very mindful of me, and not very self-aware either.

I watched Steve James's interview with him, and I agree with what others have said that his version of what happened could very well be true. The red flag that I have seen with him before (only from a distance), conflict avoidance, unclear boundaries and related issues - which is no big thing as red flags go, just something that I wouldn't respond skillfully to because of my own patterns - is actually something he addresses in the interview as something he has now learned to deal with. That sounds like a good thing, and I'm glad he was able to find a way to grow from this. Maybe I would actually be more comfortable with having him as a teacher now than I would have before, I don't know. 
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I have yet to watch the video... but I just want to mention that ultimately the problem really isn't whether people divorce, have open relationships, etc. (if they act like responsible adults). I'm not a buddhist, nor a traditionalist, nor social conservative, nor moralist. However, the idea of practical dharma and the mushroom free zone is that there is a big problem with teachers keeping students in the dark about the reality of meditation practice and feeding them BS. The corrlellary is that there needs to be a basic level of honesty...

My impression is that Culadasa has been trying to portray himself as something much closer to the ordained Upasaka, loving husband of many years, traditional buddhist, etc. http://culadasa.com/about/ And I get mixed messages, but it seems like he often hints or says that he is somewhere in the later paths of the fetter-free map (i.e., he answers questions about third path and fourth path awakening.) He has very traditional views of the perfection of enlightenment http://dharmatreasure.org/wp-content/uploads/What%20Is%20Enlightenment%20Handout.pdf I

He has also been slippery about protraying himself a a neuroscientist... 
Forword of the first mind illuminated https://books.google.com/books?id=VZrADQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false 
(I also linked a screen shot below of the forward below...) And then people start asking questions... For example, read this: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/6sx7n7/culadasas_response_to_doubts_about_his_academic/  And then  it turns out that he was simply teaching a college course that on neuroscience at a massage therapy institution, he didn't work/publish as a neuroscientist..." Also see  on https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/6lc7bd/the_science_of_tmi/

In other words, he cloaked himself in a particular image... and it is that image which has been crumbling for a while. So I think he's really trying to have all the benefits of the practical dharma view of the world but none of the honesty. And he's trying to have  all of the authority/credentials of the traditional buddhist world (and the added bonus of being a PhD teaching neuroscience) but without meeting the high bar of those traditions/disciplines.

I don't have a lot of time to really investigate this stuff, but I see the trend. And every time he gets caught in one aspect of telling a half-truth, he moves the goal posts. 

It would totally be a different story if he said from the very beginning, "I'm still working on myself, my personal life has a lot of challenges, my wife and I are functionally separated, I find psychotherapy helpful and necessary, I enjoyed teaching neuroscience as a college teacher at a massage therapy school, I find traditional marrage structures limiting, I'm still working on dealing with childhood trauma in my 70s..."

Being forthcoming like that would be a totally different story.

Attachments:

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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
In other words, he cloaked himself in a particular image... and it is that image which has been crumbling for a while. So I think he's really trying to have all the benefits of the practical dharma view of the world but none of the honesty. And he's trying to have  all of the authority/credentials of the traditional buddhist world (and the added bonus of being a PhD teaching neuroscience) but without meeting the high bar of those traditions/disciplines.

I don't have a lot of time to really investigate this stuff, but I see the trend. And every time he gets caught in one aspect of telling a half-truth, he moves the goalposts. 


Another +1 from me. 
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Griffin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 169 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
I agree with almost everything Shargrol said, in regard to Culadasa constructing a certain type of public persona etc. However, in all fairness, he did write this (much before the scandal):
People often expect enlightened beings to live up to their own ideals and expectations of enlightenment (...). Most will assume the enlightened beings are free from neuroses, phobias, and obsessions. All such expectations are doomed.

Also, these are some relevant passages from one of his Reddit posts (also before the scandal):
None of you have any idea what a mess I was before meditation taught me not to suppress, repress, or bypass emotions at all.  (...) I had dealt quite directly and successfully with a tremendous amount of “emotional baggage” from some two decades of extreme trauma. 
My bottom line on all this is that, in the complexity of the human mind, there can be unhealthy psycho-emotional processes that are so deeply buried that they never manifest as emotions at all, nor in any other way, except to quite indirectly reveal themselves through their effects. Thus no degree of mindfulness or insight training can touch them..
Likewise, I recommend to all students of higher spiritual paths of ANY tradition to realize that all their gurus, lamas, rinpoches, ajahns, saints, etc. DO have these sorts of deeply buried imperfections, and to be on guard for their subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) manifestations.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Self-awareness  emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Griffin:
I agree with almost everything Shargrol said, in regard to Culadasa constructing a certain type of public persona etc. However, in all fairness, he did write this (much before the scandal):
People often expect enlightened beings to live up to their own ideals and expectations of enlightenment (...). Most will assume the enlightened beings are free from neuroses, phobias, and obsessions. All such expectations are doomed.

Also, these are some relevant passages from one of his Reddit posts (also before the scandal):
None of you have any idea what a mess I was before meditation taught me not to suppress, repress, or bypass emotions at all.  (...) I had dealt quite directly and successfully with a tremendous amount of “emotional baggage” from some two decades of extreme trauma. 
My bottom line on all this is that, in the complexity of the human mind, there can be unhealthy psycho-emotional processes that are so deeply buried that they never manifest as emotions at all, nor in any other way, except to quite indirectly reveal themselves through their effects. Thus no degree of mindfulness or insight training can touch them..
Likewise, I recommend to all students of higher spiritual paths of ANY tradition to realize that all their gurus, lamas, rinpoches, ajahns, saints, etc. DO have these sorts of deeply buried imperfections, and to be on guard for their subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) manifestations.

Well, he has some great points there. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Well, he has some great points there. 

He does! It's sad that he wasn't able to apply them to his recent situation.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I totally agree that it's a bad idea to portray oneself as being beyond fetters and reactivity and to put up pretty facades. I just saw the yuckiness of my own formulations. 

I actually think it's a bad idea also to claim that one has full self-awareness. I like it that the person quoted from reddit was talking about it in relative terms. Maybe it would be even better to use relative terms in the sense of relative to what one was like before rather than relative to others. I know lots of non-meditators with more self-awareness than lots of serious meditators, even though the practice is an awesome tool for that kind of work. 
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 2027 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
This is one of the main reasons I like the "open source" model of DhO - flatter hierarchy, less potential for private entanglements (and if there are it's pretty visible), equal access to information, diverse viewpoints providing instant feedback and reality checks etc.
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Griffin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 169 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
Just remembered something I found out few years ago...

Namgyal Rinpoche (Leslie Dawson) was the head of the lineage Culadasa belongs to (he's praised in TMI as Culadasa's teachers' teacher). He has been accused of raping and torturing his male students (some disturbing testimonies can be found at: https://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?12,74595,page=6).

​​​​​​​I don't know whether those accusations are true, nor I want to to say that Culadasa's lineage is inherently deviant. I want to make a completely different point, regarding how frequent this stuff is. Look at Shinzen's main teacher - Sasaki Roshi. He was also accused of sexual abuse. I have read serious accusations regarding Reggie Ray. I read in this thread that even Ken McLeod has been accused of some kind of misconduct (although not as serius). Christopher Titmuss also And what about all those with skeletons in the closet we don't know about... It's almost like these controversies are becoming the rule, not the exception.
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Rule #1: don't become the head of a lineage. emoticon
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Griffin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 169 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
Great life pro tip emoticon
Sam Gentile, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 1345 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
I got the latest update via email:
Dear Friends,
I wanted to let you know how I am doing both mentally and physically. My mental state is good except for being very tired and having low energy. That is mirrored in my physical state but in addition my balance is poor. This combination means I need to use a walker and have assistance nearby so that I don’t risk falling.
My vision has deteriorated and continues to do so. It is laborious to use either texts or emails and so I am shifting to verbal communication.  I call or answer calls when I have the energy to do so. My hearing has deteriorated as well, but my hearing aids are helping, at least for the moment. Friends are helping to explore possible assistive technologies and software that may help with seeing and hearing.
I am staying in my home even though I will require 24x7 assistance from now on. In last few weeks, I have been adjusting to that and creating the circumstances to support it with the help of family and friends. These last few weeks and months have also been a wonderful time to get close to friends and family in ways that hadn’t happened for a long time.
After an extended diagnostic journey, my doctors have discovered the reasons for many of my symptoms. My cancer has metastasized to my brain in the form leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. That is, the cancer is growing in many areas of lining of my brain. There are limited treatment options. On the advice of my team of oncologists, I have added an additional EGFR inhibitor and a have completed a course of whole brain radiation. I am optimistic that this will help reduce the symptoms I am experiencing and help me to live as long as possible. My doctors tell me I might live as long as a year but that it could be just a few months.
I’m embracing this next phase of my life and death. I’m supported by family and friends. I have psychological and spiritual support. As many of you know, I’m huge fan of Willie Nelson.  One of my favorite songs of his comes to my mind even more often these days “I woke up still not dead again today”.  I’m looking forward to this next adventure.
I am continuing a process I began a couple of years ago focusing more of my priorities on family and friends. It has been wonderful to spend time with my family over the last weeks. I plan to continue to make sure I can enjoy time with them.
This doesn’t mean that I am abandoning my dharma pursuits. I value and enjoy those as well. But my shift in priorities and my lack of energy means many of the things I had hoped to finish may be incomplete.  I also hope to continue my work with students and the dharma community in some way.
For many months I’ve worked with my teacher training groups to shift from my teaching the classes, to the students providing content with my participation. I am very pleased with how this change of focus has developed and I hope they have found it valuable and chose to continue even if my participation is less.
I’ve been working on three books. While it may not be possible to finish those, I plan to work with the people that have been helping me with them to make sure that as much as possible of that material can be shared in some format.
As verbal communication is relatively easy for me, I plan to continue to record material for the internet including Patreon, given my lack of energy it may have to be prerecorded or in short live sessions.
I will try to keep you informed about my journey.
Love and Best Wishes,
Culadasa, John Yates
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Griffin, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 169 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
Sorry to hear this. No matter what, his work will remain as a remarkable achievement. I wish you all the best, master C.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
May his awakening deepen and make this last part of the journey in this raft be as free from suffering as possible, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
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Not two, not one, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
I just wanted to echo Griffin's and Linda/Polly's sentiment, and to thank Culadasa for his tremendous contributions and to acknowledge the benefit that I derived from his work. I imagine he is thinking of the maha-parinibbana sutta

​​​​​​​All things that are subject to origination are subject to cessation  Practice diligently!

Metta to John Yates.

Malcolm
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Ben V., modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Culadasa update

Posts: 366 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
Metta to to Culadasa.  May the rest of his journey be in as much ease as possible, and his work to continue contribute to the well-being of many.

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