Rosa Lewis?

Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
So -- I wanted to briefly ask people on DhO about Rosa Lewis -- Daniel has done several interviews with her and she has begun to teach retreats (via dharmagarage), and I kind of assumed Daniel's discussions with her were some kind of tacit endorsement and I was interested in some of what she had to say. 

However, after following her on Twitter, having several email interactions with her, and readng her website, I'm concerned at what I'm seeing -- in this page, for instance: https://rosalewis.co.uk/awakening/enlightenment-buddhahood-what-counts/ -- she both claims to be Maitreya, and also claims to have experienced "cessations" -- but what she describes sounds more like experiences of anatta or something entirely different --  not something someone following MCTB would call a cessation (or any other dharma source). She reports that MCTB is the only Buddhist book she has read, by the way, and it seems part of her definition of her awakening is coming directly from practicing with Daniel's teachings.

I was originally giving her the benefit of the doubt because she has also articulated some perspectives and experiences I can relate to -- although generally more from a shamanic/gnostic perspective -- and I do believe she has maybe had some mystical experiences (similar to ones I'm aware other people have had) -- but things don't add up for me. I was kind of thinking that maybe the Maitreya claims were more rhetorical provocation for a while than a literal claim -- she presents herself as having "awakened" in some entirely new way and talks a lot about the need for a new way of doing dharma -- things I'm not entirely out-of-agreement with -- particularly the critique of abuse of hierarchy and problems with teachers (I am not, however, anti-teacher).

The clincher for me was that I ended up in a discussion with her around what emptiness is -- she seemed to me to be mis-representing what Buddhist teachings (and my own practice experience) indicate (and she expresses a lot of apparent hostility towards what she thinks Buddhism is on her site/Twitter feed at times -- I'm sure she's run into people mis-representing it, but still.....). She just didn't seem to be paying attention to what I was saying and made a bunch of logic leaps that indicated to me she hasn't actually practiced very deeply in any Buddhist lineage -- for instance, another twitter user and I were trying to explain two-truths doctrine and she shut things down because she seemed to think we were trying to tell her that her physical body doesn't really exist when she has "heart-knowing" that it does.

Just wondering if anyone has more experience with her and maybe why Daniel is seemingly endorsing her -- or is he not?  Unsure what's up. For someone who seems to think that Buddhism (or her misrepresentation of it), is so problematic, she seems to be positioning herself largely in terms of Buddhism and teaching practices that originate in Buddhist teachings -- which I find a bit troublesome.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Just one point : a lot of people teach "yoga", meditation, and the likes, without having much depth of practice or understanding whatsoever... I was on a carpool with someone like that just yesterday ! I'd read in her description on the car pooling site that she was into yoga and meditation and taught both, so I was kinda curious, but had litle expectations - well... It wasn't a very interesting conversation, let's say emoticon

There are those who are authorized to teach and don't have much realization ; there are those who have neither but teach anyways...

For the rest, I don't know. The page you linked to has been deleted.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Rosa Lewis is a good friend whom I enjoy doing podcasts and other creative projects with.

Her claims to attainments and her manner of naming or expressing those are purely her own.

With the rarest of exceptions, I stay out of the business of tacit acknowledgement or rejection of such specific claims, and that is also explicitly the case here, as it true of nearly all other friends who teach and with whom I might do creative projects with or do retreats or to whom I might refer people or whatever.

Further, as a scientist, I currently have no way to be certain one way or the other regarding various people's claims in these regards, though pondering how that science might work, but we are far from having such a thing, I believe.

Wisdom must stand on its own two legs.

If you find wisdom or benefit from her material, cool. If not, there it is, and luckily there is much else out there.

As with all who teach the dharma, such as and including my own work, my advice is to take what is good, leave off what you feel is bad, and keep both your wits about you and an open mind that performance tests things for yourself.

Best wishes,

Daniel
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Thanks Daniel -- I was hoping you'd be able to clarify the situation like that.
Cheers!
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Yeah -- thanks -- maybe I'm making too much of this, but my personal feeling is that if people are teaching *retreats *(with other teachers who apparently also endorse them), in what is an apparently buddhist/dharma context, I would definitely want to be sure that they are impeccable and completely know the territory they are teaching and how to handle issues I might encounter. People are particularly vulnerable and can be impressionable on retreat, and whatever anyone wants to say about the problems with hierarchy (I have plenty to say myself), retreat teaching positions one at in a role of authority regardless of whether one considers themselves to eschew hierarchy or not.

If I were a new meditator, had read Daniel's book and listened to their interviews, I might be inclined to attend one of her retreats assuming she could bring me to MCTB-style awakening, is all I'm saying.

Sorry about my sloppy link posting earlier -- I reloaded and the page still seems to be up: https://rosalewis.co.uk/awakening/enlightenment-buddhahood-what-counts/
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Through a relentless and unimaginable awakening process, I have smashed through the old paradigm and way of being, into a new state that I believe holds the key to human and planetary wellbeing. I have awakened every part of my experience right to the very bottom. I believe that I am the first person to do this, which is why I believe I am Maitreya.
Here's the bit you were talking about I assume...

Well, from having browsed through her site a while back, I remember having thought that, though it was certainly her own version of the thing, what I read sounded reasonable and interesting for the most part - not crazy. It wasn't so precise, but I felt that her stuff might be of interest to people who don't want to get technical. 

Honestly I've been on several retreats where I was the only person who could really provide context to those of us who were hitting the dukkha ñanas for the first time... If she's read MCTB she's probably gonna be more straightforward and clear in her explanations than most !! emoticon 

The "mushroom" thing is real - just do a Goenka retreat. and you might feel she actually seems really legit compared to some of the guys who teach there... Plus she gives a lot of transparent explanations and warnings... For instance, this sounds very down to earth... :

Looking at it from the outside in, it’s easy to tell someone that the solution to their problem is to change their mind-state, for example, through meditation. If they’re still struggling it’s because they aren’t good enough meditators or enlightened enough. But life is hard for everyone, pretty much most of the time. And if you are telling victims of systemic oppression, physical violence and sexual abuse that they only need to change their perception of the situation in order to resolve it, then you need to think about the impact of your words and behaviours on people. If you are unwilling to do this, it doesn’t matter how much Sanskrit you know or how awake your followers believe you are, you are behaving like an ignorant asshole. I also believe that this misrepresentation of reality stops people from taking responsibility for how they live. The idea that we just need to change how we perceive things, gives people the idea they need to accept their life as it is when actually we all need to take responsibility to show up for our lives and make changes where things aren’t aligned with our deepest values. If we want to feel good we have to be good people and have a healthy dose of good luck.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Yeah -- I get that the mushroom thing is real in contexts like Goenka. I've also sat tons of retreats in IMS/GaiaHouse/SpiritRock insight settings and worked for several dharma teachers -- and my experience has been quite different -- I've found  there's more of a spectrum around how open teachers are about this stuff, but then I read MCTB around the time I started doing retreats. It's a complex (and political) situation.

For the record -- my own experiences have been less on the MCTB/Mahasi map (although I've been able to locate myself there at times), and more similar to the Bhumi/fetters models  -- also multiple teachers have told me that expecting a "dark night" has to be part of the dukkha nanas might actually be what makes things worse, and after some practice experience, I tend to think that's pretty valid.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Erica Pittman:

For the record -- my own experiences have been less on the MCTB/Mahasi map (although I've been able to locate myself there at times), and more similar to the Bhumi/fetters models  -- also multiple teachers have told me that expecting a "dark night" has to be part of the dukkha nanas might actually be what makes things worse, and after some practice experience, I tend to think that's pretty valid.
From having a brother who was told he experienced "bhanga ñana" during a vipassana retreat (goenka) without being explained what that was and without getting a follow up... and who has been in an itnense DN for two years, basically going through each of the subsequent ñanas of fear misery disgust etc. (I saw it happen "live", basically) without having any notion about the mahasi maps (even when I explained them to him it seemed to make no sense nor any difference to him) ; from seeing people in mahayana style vipassana retreats cross the A&P and then go into dissolution and start experience fear, without ever having heard anything about the maps either ; and from having crossed that territoy myself prior to any exposure to formal meditation - I can tell you that that is wrong. 
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Olivier:
Erica Pittman:

For the record -- my own experiences have been less on the MCTB/Mahasi map (although I've been able to locate myself there at times), and more similar to the Bhumi/fetters models  -- also multiple teachers have told me that expecting a "dark night" has to be part of the dukkha nanas might actually be what makes things worse, and after some practice experience, I tend to think that's pretty valid.
From having a brother who was told he experienced "bhanga ñana" during a vipassana retreat (goenka) without being explained what that was and without getting a follow up... and who has been in an itnense DN for two years, basically going through each of the subsequent ñanas of fear misery disgust etc. (I saw it happen "live", basically) without having any notion about the mahasi maps (even when I explained them to him it seemed to make no sense nor any difference to him) ; from seeing people in mahayana style vipassana retreats cross the A&P and then go into dissolution and start experience fear, without ever having heard anything about the maps either ; and from having crossed that territoy myself prior to any exposure to formal meditation - I can tell you that that is wrong. 
Yep -- sorry if I gave the impression that I think that stuff is just in the mind -- that's not what I meant to say (nor was it the context in which my teachers were saying that). I think the original context had more to do with my own practice than with a generalizable "every practitioner" sort of thing. Additionally, one of these teachers was Rob Burbea in the context of doing his emptiness practice -- in which the DN doesn't really play a role (and my experience bears that out). My hypothesis is that certain practice frameworks have more potential to set problems up than others and my experiences kind of bear that out. Lots of other factors may also come into play here.

I'm really not used to this particular kind of forum interface -- posted that earlier without the quote and it made no sense in the thread, so reposting again. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Erica Pittman:

For the record -- my own experiences have been less on the MCTB/Mahasi map (although I've been able to locate myself there at times), and more similar to the Bhumi/fetters models  -- also multiple teachers have told me that expecting a "dark night" has to be part of the dukkha nanas might actually be what makes things worse, and after some practice experience, I tend to think that's pretty valid.

You are mixing different uses of the term dark night here, creating a straw man in the process. The MCTB use of dark night is the dukkha nanas, so you are basically questioning whether the dukkha nanas contain dukkha nanas. Nobody has suggested that it has to be any worse than that. If you prefer the name dukkha nanas, fine, just use that instead. However, you are mistaken if you believe that the maps or MCTB suggest that it has to be a horrible abyss for everyone. That's just sloppy reading. 
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Erica Pittman:

For the record -- my own experiences have been less on the MCTB/Mahasi map (although I've been able to locate myself there at times), and more similar to the Bhumi/fetters models  -- also multiple teachers have told me that expecting a "dark night" has to be part of the dukkha nanas might actually be what makes things worse, and after some practice experience, I tend to think that's pretty valid.

You are mixing different uses of the term dark night here, creating a straw man in the process. The MCTB use of dark night is the dukkha nanas, so you are basically questioning whether the dukkha nanas contain dukkha nanas. Nobody has suggested that it has to be any worse than that. If you prefer the name dukkha nanas, fine, just use that instead. However, you are mistaken if you believe that the maps or MCTB suggest that it has to be a horrible abyss for everyone. That's just sloppy reading. 
Oh -- I can fully own up to my sloppy communication here. However, I also have experience with dukkha nanas. Also my experiences include things that aren't so clearly on the map Daniel uses-- pretty sure largely because of practicing in a non-Theravadan/pragmatic dharma framework. This wasn't really supposed to be about my practice, though, and I'm a little intimidated about discussing it while using my real name on this forum right now while my life is super-busy and I don't have time for lengthy internet forum discussion.

In the context of RL, however, she describes "dark night" kinds of experiences that include psychosis -- which is more of a "horrible abyss" issue, and that's what I was primarily discussing here.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Olivier:
I believe that I am the first person to do this
Would agree this part in particular raises a few flags for me. 


Also this:

In 2019 I went through an intense spiritual awakening, which I have shared the story of in various formats.



...2019
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Yeah that's true... emoticon 
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
J W:
Olivier:
I believe that I am the first person to do this
Would agree this part in particular raises a few flags for me. 


Also this:

In 2019 I went through an intense spiritual awakening, which I have shared the story of in various formats.



...2019

Yes, you're picking up on the same flags I was
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Also -- as I said, RL sometimes seems to be quite on the same page with what I've learned and experienced through my own practice -- and sometimes radically mistaken (particularly about what Buddhism says) -- I wasn't trying to entirely discredit her, just questioning certain of her assertions and whether she's a great candidate for guiding people in intensive retreat practice or not. She also asserts that she hasn't sat many silent retreats, so the answer may just be right there in what she's written.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Erica Pittman:
Also -- as I said, RL sometimes seems to be quite on the same page with what I've learned and experienced through my own practice -- and sometimes radically mistaken (particularly about what Buddhism says) -- I wasn't trying to entirely discredit her, just questioning certain of her assertions and whether she's a great candidate for guiding people in intensive retreat practice or not. She also asserts that she hasn't sat many silent retreats, so the answer may just be right there in what she's written.
Right. I think the advice in Daniel's post above is pretty solid ... Buyer beware
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 2027 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Erica Pittman:

I'm concerned at what I'm seeing
...
things don't add up for me
...
she seemed to me to be mis-representing what Buddhist teachings (and my own practice experience) indicate (and she expresses a lot of apparent hostility towards what she thinks Buddhism is on her site/Twitter feed at times -- I'm sure she's run into people mis-representing it, but still.....). She just didn't seem to be paying attention to what I was saying and made a bunch of logic leaps that indicated to me she hasn't actually practiced very deeply in any Buddhist lineage -- for instance, another twitter user and I were trying to explain two-truths doctrine and she shut things down because she seemed to think we were trying to tell her that her physical body doesn't really exist when she has "heart-knowing" that it does.

I would trust your gut. If someone is not listening to you, not willing to discuss what you want to discuss and makes false assumptions about you, then why would you pay them for a service that involves being attentive to your needs?!
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Erica Pittman:

I'm concerned at what I'm seeing
...
things don't add up for me
...
she seemed to me to be mis-representing what Buddhist teachings (and my own practice experience) indicate (and she expresses a lot of apparent hostility towards what she thinks Buddhism is on her site/Twitter feed at times -- I'm sure she's run into people mis-representing it, but still.....). She just didn't seem to be paying attention to what I was saying and made a bunch of logic leaps that indicated to me she hasn't actually practiced very deeply in any Buddhist lineage -- for instance, another twitter user and I were trying to explain two-truths doctrine and she shut things down because she seemed to think we were trying to tell her that her physical body doesn't really exist when she has "heart-knowing" that it does.

I would trust your gut. If someone is not listening to you, not willing to discuss what you want to discuss and makes false assumptions about you, then why would you pay them for a service that involves being attentive to your needs?!
I wouldn't -- and for the record, that wasn't really a question for me so much as I was concerned by what I was interpreting as Daniel potentially having somehow endorsed her teachings -- which it turns out he hasn't.
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 2027 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Ah ok I'm sorry, I misread your question!
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Hey everyone,

Yes, just want to reiterate Daniel's comments - please make your own mind up about me and my content.

Just to clarify, I'm not a Buddhist, no more than I am a creationist Christian. Although there are clearly some valuable lessons that the human men the Buddha and Jesus talked about.

With regards to the comments about the aspect of experience that I am the first person to awaken, I am talking about the archetypal realm.

Jung spent a lot of time awakening this and is really the only other person that I have come across who has written about it in anywhere near as much depth as I have experienced. He also had his own bout of pyschosis in order to do this. It's not something you can understand intellectually, it's something that you have to experience.

This isn't really a dark night experience, it's a deepening into an aspect of reality that almost nobody else even goes near.  

If you would like to understand more about this I have written about the process of it here (CW - it's not an easy read):

https://rosalewis.co.uk/awakening/what-its-like-going-mad/

I will draw attention to this part of it before you embark on it:

For me, I ended up delving so far into psychosis that I never reemerged from the other side. I realised that psychosis is showing us an aspect of reality that is far closer to the truth than my previous way of looking and what is considered normal agreed reality. I'd imagine that probably lots of people don't want to hear that, so just notice if that sentiment enrages you.

Some of the questions I would pose to people, to help them engage with and explore this are:
  • What do you think non-self actually means?
  • And what about empty of inherent meaning?
  • How could these things when fully realised actually manifest in people's experience?
  • What could be the deepest realisation of those things?
Again, I'm not here to convince anyone. But just want to offer the opportunity to reflect more deeply on an aspect of reality and experience that is very rarely brought up, never mind discussed freely. 

If you do find my stuff inflammatory, then this response is showing you an aspect of yourself - either some part of you that you don't want to acknowledge or some part of experience that you care deeply about and are willing to fight for. Again, just worth recognising that how we perceive the outer world is a deep reflection of our inner worlds.

Please feel free to make up your own minds. Having a few people trash you on a forum is a pretty good sign that you have in some aspects made it, so I will take it as a compliment. 

As always, be open in how you approach things, wise in whose voice you trust when making decisions that affect your life and use everything as an opportunity to examine your inner reactions to things.

Good luck on your paths. 
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Rosa:
...Having a few people trash you on a forum is a pretty good sign that you have in some aspects made it, so I will take it as a compliment...
Hey Rosa,

Don't overlook that nobody has really trashed you here, in fact we were a few to say that you seem legit, and the criticisms were rather open-ended and not too assertive/shit talking. I say that because when people talk about you it's sometimes difficult not to overlook the parts where you're not being criticized, and I wanted to point that out emoticon 

Kind regards
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Yes, thank you for pointing that out! I actually really appreciated all the positive comments. Thanks!
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Just to add one bit : your story and website touched me.



(What about the Maitreya thing, though ? )

(emoticon)
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
So glad that it did - that is why I share this stuff emoticon

Yes, good question! Let me piece together a story for you:
From descriptions of other Buddha awakenings – this seems different to me. When describing perceiving Buddha nature people tend to talk about exactly that: perceiving it with awareness or consciousness. In my experience, this is is exactly what salvia can do to your mind.

My experience wasn’t perceiving something but embodying it. My entire heart, body and mind became this expression. It felt physically there. I haven’t heard anyone talk about this and probably one of the reasons is because of how difficult it was to get there. To percieve this it takes you to clear your entire mind, to experience it takes you to clear your entire heart, mind, body and soul, which is torturous. There’s a lot of mess in a human being.
For clarification of just how much mess... see previous post on what it's like going mad. Which, again I've never heard another practicioner talk about.
In this new way of being, both the concepts of religion and the fundamental structure of ontology that Theravadan and Mahayan Buddhism are built on don’t make sense any more.

With both of these I can see very clearly that it is harmful and false to believe in one fixed way of perceiving the truth of reality. This message has actually become part of what is masking the truth from people and lots of the concepts are damaging.

In order to explain this further we need to go down a bit of a rabbit hole...

Part of my realisation is interdependent origination. In my terminology this is very specifically different to dependent origination, which is what is taught in Buddhism. 

You can read about this here:

https://rosalewis.co.uk/awakening/what-is-interdependent-origination/

If you want to understand how what I am describing here is different to dependent origination, Erica and I actually had a very long and in-depth Twitter thread conversation about this, which lays things out pretty clearly. Unfortunately, one person involved in the conversation has hidden their tweets so you can longer really follow the conversation but some of the interactions are still visible. Here is one aspect of the conversation:
Rosa: 
'The difference between this and the Buddhist description of dependent origination is that I am not talking about our perception of these events. I am talking about the actual events themselves. There is no causal chain of events in our physical and metaphorical shared reality.'

Hidden Tweets: Various comments made countering some of my points, on the theme of emptiness and its profoundity

Rosa Lewis:
Inexpressibility, unfindability and emptiness are all just experiences that arise interdependently though. They are just things that happen to us and are no more the end of suffering than happiness, compassion or sleep, for example.

Dharma bricoleuse (Erica):
Yeah -- see the problem here is that the "us" that has those experiences isn't an "us" that has those experiences when we have them. There's no thing happening to us because of the emptiness of all conditioned phenomena.  There isn't a subject having an experience, in that sense.

Rosa Lewis:
Yes you're clairifying my original point here. That buddhism teaches dependent origination as an aspecg of subjective experience.

Hidden Tweets: Comments about the fact that nothing has arisen

Rosa Lewis:
What the f is all this stuff then, if it never arose?

Hidden Tweets: Using the classic reasoning example of the cart not being made of its parts etc.

Rosa Lewis:
Right and here is my updated reasoning for 2021.

Your smartphone is going to take over 1 million years to decompose.

If all the humans die out before then it will cease to be understood to be a smartphone, but the physical phone will still be there.

The meaning relies on the context. But the physical reality doesn't. 

This distinction is important because it has implications for climate change.

And when applied to people, for how we relate to trauma, which is held in the physical body.

Erica:
Again -- this is all being experienced and described on the level of relative reality.  This is the doctrine of "two truths" and I'm going to be lazy and post a wikipedia link because it's getting late for me: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_truths_doctrine

Rosa Lewis:
This is exactly my point about where I differ from Buddhism.

If interdependent origination applies to everything, which I believe it does, there can't be 2 truths. They are just different aspects of the same thing.

And physical matter clearly existing is part of that same thing

Erica:
Yeah -- but technically dependant orignation is only about the relative.

Rosa Lewis:
Right!!!!!! This is exactly what my original post is about.

The interdependent origination that I am talking about is about everything.

This is all on Twitter if you want to see for yourself (albeit swamped in a mammoth thread, but you can find all my responses under 'Tweets and replies').

This all sounds very esoteric but the reason it is so important are the comments about climate change and people's physical trauma. When people use 'emptiness' to imply that physical reality doesn't really exist, or is somehow 'ephereal' etc, that is totally absurd and undermining to people who have experienced trauma in life. We have to meet our physical trauma with validation and compassionate presence for what is really there if we are going to heal it and awaken that part of ourselves. 

The concept that physical reality is in any way epheral is as absurd as saying that consciousness doesn't exist. 

Let that last sentence sink in, as that is really the crux of what I am saying. 

Dependent origination takes consciousness as the source of truth and evaluates everything through that lens.

Interdependent origination sees that there is no single source of truth. All aspects of experience are valid. 

We only know that consciousness exists because we experience it. The same is true of physical reality.  Neither of these things have proof outside of that framework. They are just things that we trust to be true, partially because they are blindingly obvious.

That is what heart-knowing is. Everyone has access to it. The more deeply we awaken and heal, the clearer it gets. 

Now, doing that myself, fully awakening the heart to every aspect of experience was a total nightmare (as discussed) because a huge amount of the human experience was in shadow. There are two aspects of this, firstly, some aspects of experience are just always going to be awful to reintergrate. And secondly, is that when something is unloved, reintegrating it is horrific. As the first to break the ground, it was inherently awful.

Now I have done it though, I am in a state of consciousness where I regularly open people up to aspects of experience that they didn't even know existed and it is a pleasure when they experience it.

Part of seeing how this might work is understanding that we aren't as separate from each other as we realise. When two people are having a deep conversation, their energy bodies are intermingling in the same way that if you pour two glasses of water into the same vessel it becomes one. One person who has opened something up in their energy body, can open it up much more easily for the other person.

Just to be clear, our physical bodies are separate, so this is what keeps our experiences perceived and experienced as separate and why we don't go around just opening each other up to wild experiences in casual conversations.

Part of the reason my writing isn't technical is because all of these aspects don't really matter - while I am happy to answer questions on them they don't affect how most people experience their reality and can actually take people further away from embodying the truth. The process of awakening is more about embodied practice and interpersonal practices than it is about understanding something.

Again this goes back to being able to be present in our experience (which is all we have), being about being able to validate what is happening for us and meeting it with compassion.

Plus, most people get mad and defensive and don't want to hear about it, so it doesn't seem worthwhile to talk about it.

Finally, one of the main realisations of interdependent origination is that free will doesn't exist (again I don't talk about this because understanding this intellectually but not being able to embody it encourages spiritual bypassing, which is the opposite of what my story is about).

I very much experience reality as a character in an entirely synchronistic story. I see everyone and every thing in this way. I'm not some sort of saviour - more like someone who is a love bomb that has been thrown into reality to blow up stupid ideas about spirituality and hierarchies. Things that stop people being able to be present with their experience and that undermine or gaslight what is happeneing to them. The two things that are the opposite to awakening and healing.

I have a very clear pupose in each moment, I don't have an experience outside of this moment. I don't think about anything except dharma. All day every day. It is my entire life. I would never have chosen this life in a million lifetimes. It has been more painful than anything I could have ever imagined and it is an incredibly lonely existence. 

Part of this loneliness is feeling like a complete idiot claiming to be Maitreya (especially when I don't even believe in Buddhism). I am well aware that no-one is going to believe me without significant evidence and that I probably still have a very long and lonely road ahead of me, potentially for the rest of my life, but for some reason this is an important aspect of the story that is probably yet to unfold. Or perhaps this is it unfolding now... ;) 

Hopefully this makes some sort of sense!
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
For clarification of just how much mess... see previous post on what it's like going mad. Which, again I've never heard another practicioner talk about.

Have you ever been on Dharma Overground before? lol emoticon
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Yeah - I conccur with Dharma Bricoleuse that you might actually benefit from reading Rob Burbea's book seeing that frees.

You underestimate the depth of the dependent origination teachings.

For a point of cultural reference : the difference you make between heart knowing and consciousness knowing, is at the heart of dependent origination and the deeper end of buddhist and other spiritual systems. One example of a philosopher/practicioner who has expressed all this with exquisite finesse is Michel Henry. What you call heart knowing, he calls "the knowing of life". He also disparages the knowing of consciousness, but buddhist practice is not about the knowing of consciousness emoticon Although there is a kind of fixation on "attention"... But ultimately leading way beyond that.

And Michel Henry makes a convincing case that this is also precisely the heart (pun intended) of the christian revelation.

So you see, you are not the first.

I highly recommend his book Barbarism... In which he shows how the repression of heart knowing is actually the original gesture of the scientific revolution, and is what is currently bringing humanity on the verge of self-destruction.

Cheers
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
When people use 'emptiness' to imply that physical reality doesn't really exist, or is somehow 'ephereal' etc, that is totally absurd and undermining to people who have experienced trauma in life. We have to meet our physical trauma with validation and compassionate presence for what is really there if we are going to heal it and awaken that part of ourselves. 

The concept that physical reality is in any way epheral is as absurd as saying that consciousness doesn't exist. 

Let that last sentence sink in, as that is really the crux of what I am saying. 

Dependent origination takes consciousness as the source of truth and evaluates everything through that lens.

Interdependent origination sees that there is no single source of truth. All aspects of experience are valid. 
Totally agree that emptiness theory does NOT imply that physical reality doesn't exist... that's what I call nihilism.  I personally have never been taught that.
So... maybe I'm just missing something, but I don't see how your 'interdependent origination' is any different from the four profundities.
It just seems that you have a problem with people misunderstanding what dependent origination is (as do I).
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:
When people use 'emptiness' to imply that physical reality doesn't really exist, or is somehow 'ephereal' etc, that is totally absurd and undermining to people who have experienced trauma in life. We have to meet our physical trauma with validation and compassionate presence for what is really there if we are going to heal it and awaken that part of ourselves. 

The concept that physical reality is in any way epheral is as absurd as saying that consciousness doesn't exist. 

Let that last sentence sink in, as that is really the crux of what I am saying. 

Dependent origination takes consciousness as the source of truth and evaluates everything through that lens.

Interdependent origination sees that there is no single source of truth. All aspects of experience are valid. 
Totally agree that emptiness theory does NOT imply that physical reality doesn't exist... that's what I call nihilism.  I personally have never been taught that.
So... maybe I'm just missing something, but I don't see how your 'interdependent origination' is any different from the four profundities.
It just seems that you have a problem with people misunderstanding what dependent origination is (as do I).


Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.



My question is.... what does emptiness mean in this paragraph? I.e. can you replace the word emptiness with another word or some other words that clarify exactly what it is.  Because I have never heard anyone give a satisfactory answer to this. As soon as people start extrapolating in recorded talks and blog posts they end up talking nonsense/ revealing a fundamental flaw in what they mean.

Would be very happy to be proven wrong.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.



My question is.... what does emptiness mean in this paragraph? I.e. can you replace the word emptiness with another word or some other words that clarify exactly what it is.  Because I have never heard anyone give a satisfactory answer to this. As soon as people start extrapolating in recorded talks and blog posts they end up talking nonsense/ revealing a fundamental flaw in what they mean.

Would be very happy to be proven wrong.
Ok, I'll bite, though I'm not sure if there's much of a point.

The word 'emptiness' is best thought of a placeholder for that which cannot be conceived, cannot be accurately talked about, thought about or otherwised experienced.  The only thing you can actually say about emptiness is that you can't say anything about it.

edit: (to use a limited metaphor from a very limited personal experience, it's kind of like a knowing that everything is both infinitely complex/interconnected and also exactly as it appears, as simply as possible, at the same time)

For some reason I don't think this is going to change your mind about anything.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:
Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.



My question is.... what does emptiness mean in this paragraph? I.e. can you replace the word emptiness with another word or some other words that clarify exactly what it is.  Because I have never heard anyone give a satisfactory answer to this. As soon as people start extrapolating in recorded talks and blog posts they end up talking nonsense/ revealing a fundamental flaw in what they mean.

Would be very happy to be proven wrong.
Ok, I'll bite, though I'm not sure if there's much of a point.

The word 'emptiness' is best thought of a placeholder for that which cannot be conceived, cannot be accurately talked about, thought about or otherwised experienced.  The only thing you can actually say about emptiness is that you can't say anything about it.

For some reason I don't think this is going to change your mind about anything.
Yes, because if you can't say anything about it, then that statement is meaningless.

Form is 'something that you can't say anything about' is a clearly false statement. Or Form is something 'that cannot be conceived' - again obviously false.

You can say plenty of things about form and you can clearly conceive form.

Now the subtly is that I'm not suggesting that humans can't have an experience where things appear to feel or look 'empty' whatever that means to you. That is clearly true. But all of those things arise within a very fixed and solid reality (your body and the environment that it is in) that is very conceivable and you can say a lot about it.

You could also say...

'There are aspects of experience that it is impossible to explain or understand intellectually.'

Clearly a true statement, but I'm pretty sure this isn't what most people mean and 'form is empty' would be a weird way to put it...
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
edit: (to use a limited metaphor from a very limited personal experience, it's kind of like a knowing that everything is both infinitely complex/interconnected and also exactly as it appears, as simply as possible, at the same time)

Yes, this makes sense.

Edit:

It the knowing of this thing, or the experience of it, that is emptiness. Not the phenomena itself.

Form is not emptiness. One way of experiencing form is a knowing that everything is both infinitely complex/interconnected and also exactly as it appears, as simply as possible, at the same time.

Sounds subtle but this is what makes the world of difference.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
edit: (to use a limited metaphor from a very limited personal experience, it's kind of like a knowing that everything is both infinitely complex/interconnected and also exactly as it appears, as simply as possible, at the same time)

Yes, this makes sense.

Edit:

It the knowing of this thing, or the experience of it, that is emptiness. Not the phenomena itself.

Form is not emptiness. One way of experiencing form is a knowing that everything is both infinitely complex/interconnected and also exactly as it appears, as simply as possible, at the same time.

Sounds subtle but this is what makes the world of difference.

Ok, so I feel like I was being rude in my last post, I didn't mean to though. 

So you say form is not emptiness. And that this 'knowing' as we are referring to it is actually emptiness.  
How is this 'knowing of' form separate from form itself?  (this is dependent origination theory)

How is the 'knowing of' form separate from perception itself?  
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:
edit: (to use a limited metaphor from a very limited personal experience, it's kind of like a knowing that everything is both infinitely complex/interconnected and also exactly as it appears, as simply as possible, at the same time)

Yes, this makes sense.

Edit:

It the knowing of this thing, or the experience of it, that is emptiness. Not the phenomena itself.

Form is not emptiness. One way of experiencing form is a knowing that everything is both infinitely complex/interconnected and also exactly as it appears, as simply as possible, at the same time.

Sounds subtle but this is what makes the world of difference.

Ok, so I feel like I was being rude in my last post, I didn't mean to though. 

So you say form is not emptiness. And that this 'knowing' as we are referring to it is actually emptiness.  
How is this 'knowing of' form separate from form itself?  (this is dependent origination theory)

How is the 'knowing of' form separate from perception itself?  
Sorry, not super clear. I didn't mean that the knowing is emptiness. 

A more clear way of putting it:

We can have an experience of 'emptiness'. Emptiness here meaning a whole load of things that are indescribable.

But firstly, that experience is transitory. So who is to say that an experience of emptiness is more true or profound than a more normal experience. These experiences of emptiness can lead to embodying more wisdom, for sure, but you can't extrapolate that everything is empty, just because you experienced it like that.

For example, I have had lots of experiences where everything in the world has appeared incredibly beautiful. But to extrapolate from that, that form is beauty, beauty is form sounds new agey and jarring, because clearly there are aspects of experience that are ugly, painful and difficult. The same thing is happening with the word empty, it is just better hidden because it sounds more profound in some way.

Secondly, the feeling that everything is empty or in some way indescribable is only one aspect of what is happening/ one part of the picture. It is just that your conscious mind is focused on aspects that feel or seem indescribable or 'empty'. There is an aspect of experience, a heart-beating, lungs breathing, neurons firing, that is very much describable, it's just not what your mind is focused on at that moment in time.

The form is not what is empty.

You are having an experience that feels empty.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
Sorry, not super clear. I didn't mean that the knowing is emptiness. 

A more clear way of putting it:

We can have an experience of 'emptiness'. Emptiness here meaning a whole load of things that are indescribable.

But firstly, that experience is transitory. So who is to say that an experience of emptiness is more true or profound than a more normal experience. These experiences of emptiness can lead to embodying more wisdom, for sure, but you can't extrapolate that everything is empty, just because you experienced it like that.

For example, I have had lots of experiences where everything in the world has appeared incredibly beautiful. But to extrapolate from that, that form is beauty, beauty is form sounds new agey and jarring, because clearly there are aspects of experience that are ugly, painful and difficult. The same thing is happening with the word empty, it is just better hidden because it sounds more profound in some way.

Secondly, the feeling that everything is empty or in some way indescribable is only one aspect of what is happening/ one part of the picture. It is just that your conscious mind is focused on aspects that feel or seem indescribable or 'empty'. There is an aspect of experience, a heart-beating, lungs breathing, neurons firing, that is very much describable, it's just not what your mind is focused on at that moment in time.

The form is not what is empty.

You are having an experience that feels empty.
Hmm, well I agree with a lot of what you are saying here, to me it seems pretty consistent with my understanding of dependent origination  (as far as I understand it) as well as what MCTB teaches.

(But then again... if there was no form at all, would we be having any experience (either 'of' the form or 'at all')? emoticon
And still it is not clear how this description of perceiving something as simultaneously beautiful/ugly, or simultaneously complex/simple, is separate from said 'thing'?  And how said 'thing'/object is separate from perception/observer)

I do agree that sometimes the term 'emptiness' can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.  Perhaps a better term would be sunyata or Voidness.  When people hear the word "empty" they tend to think of nothingness, which is not really what emptiness is talking about.
(Again, if you have not read Seeing That Frees by Rob Burbea, highly recommend it!!)

I suppose another way to think about it is that dependent origination itself is 'empty of' inherent existence. In the same way that Path and Attainment are themselves 'empty of' inherent existence.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:
Sorry, not super clear. I didn't mean that the knowing is emptiness. 

A more clear way of putting it:

We can have an experience of 'emptiness'. Emptiness here meaning a whole load of things that are indescribable.

But firstly, that experience is transitory. So who is to say that an experience of emptiness is more true or profound than a more normal experience. These experiences of emptiness can lead to embodying more wisdom, for sure, but you can't extrapolate that everything is empty, just because you experienced it like that.

For example, I have had lots of experiences where everything in the world has appeared incredibly beautiful. But to extrapolate from that, that form is beauty, beauty is form sounds new agey and jarring, because clearly there are aspects of experience that are ugly, painful and difficult. The same thing is happening with the word empty, it is just better hidden because it sounds more profound in some way.

Secondly, the feeling that everything is empty or in some way indescribable is only one aspect of what is happening/ one part of the picture. It is just that your conscious mind is focused on aspects that feel or seem indescribable or 'empty'. There is an aspect of experience, a heart-beating, lungs breathing, neurons firing, that is very much describable, it's just not what your mind is focused on at that moment in time.

The form is not what is empty.

You are having an experience that feels empty.
Hmm, well I agree with a lot of what you are saying here, to me it seems pretty consistent with my understanding of dependent origination  (as far as I understand it) as well as what MCTB teaches.

I do agree that sometimes the term 'emptiness' can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.  Perhaps a better term would be sunyata or Voidness.  When people hear the word "empty" they tend to think of nothingness, which is not really what emptiness is talking about.
(Again, if you have not read Seeing That Frees by Rob Burbea, highly recommend it!!)

I suppose another way to think about it is that dependent origination itself is 'empty of' inherent existence. In the same way that Path and Attainment are themselves 'empty of' inherent existence.

Yes, I would agree that what I described is mostly inline with what Daniel teaches.

And I would agree that you could say that dependent origination is empty of inherent existence - because dependent origination is a subjective experience. As is attainment (which I apply to my own experiences and describe in my blog post about enlightenment and buddhahood).

Interdependent origination, however, is not empty in any meaningful sense of the word - it is the realisation that form, consciousness, meaning and love all arise together, within this space that we call the Universe. None of them exist separately from the others, all of them are as real as each other. 

You could take each one and say for example:

Form doesn't exist separately to anything else
Consciousness doesn't exist separately to anything else
Love doesn't exist separately to anything else
Meaning doesn't exist separately to anything else

In that way they are one form of the word 'empty' (non-dual), but they aren't empty in other ways that are implied in the dharma.

Specifically anything that leads to a conclusion of non-arising is false, unless you are talking specifically about your subjective experience in a specific given moment. 



To geek out about this further....

The trouble with the words sunyata, voidness and emptiness is that they have several, very closely overlapping but subtly different meanings depending on the context that they are being used in and that this is part of what allows people to make the jump into 'form is emptiness'.

Because the waters are muddy, the fact that is a sweeping statement isn't clear.



And actually, to bring this full circle, the only reason I've been able to perceive this with so much clarity is because I have dropped out of the experience of my mind entirely into intuition, through going psychotic and integrating all of karma, and can essentially 'look back at my mind' from intuition. Don't worry about it if you don't believe that - this is very much a subjective experience, I just wanted to add it for anyone is interested for how I see that all this ties together. 

This is what allows me to see very clearly that mind is a subjective experience. I can detangle what is subjective from what is objective with absolute clarity, where other teachers fail to. This is why I can explain this relatively clearly.


To be fair, Rob does do a very good job of this compared to everyone else. But he doesn't quite make the full leap.
He has also written a book about the insight he got from this, including on emptiness, called Seeing That Frees. I haven’t read it, but he talks about it quite succinctly in this podcast with Michael Taft. It is the closest I have heard anyone else come to being able to talk clearly about emptiness.

He doesn’t quite put his finger on it but he points to the fact that emptiness is being used to describe two different things. Seeing that frees is pointing towards emptiness as an adjective. Seeing that frees is pointing towards emptiness as a noun, or spaciousness as I like to call it.

Emptiness is actually used to describe several overlapping things, but these are two of the main ones.

I think I’m the first person to perceive this distinction clearly. I have written a comprehensive series of blog posts on this.


Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
(But then again... if there was no form at all, would we be having any experience (either 'of' the form or 'at all')? emoticon
And still it is not clear how this description of perceiving something as simultaneously beautiful/ugly, or simultaneously complex/simple, is separate from said 'thing'?  And how said 'thing'/object is separate from perception/observer)


Yes to respond to this additional bit - you have hit the nail on the head.

There is form, that is what I'm saying. And the fact that there is is the only reason we are having an experience. Because we exist separately from the rest of the of the Universe in the part of us that is form, i.e. our physical bodies, and this is the only thing that separates experience from experiencer. If we didn't have form the Universe would all be one thing and there would be no separation so nothing would be able to experience anything.

For the second bit. Again, you are correct. These things aren't seperate from each other. They are non-dual - i.e. they don't exist without each other.

But this definition of emptiness is different to other definitions of emptiness (e.g. indescribability) that get lumped in with it. 
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
(But then again... if there was no form at all, would we be having any experience (either 'of' the form or 'at all')? emoticon
And still it is not clear how this description of perceiving something as simultaneously beautiful/ugly, or simultaneously complex/simple, is separate from said 'thing'?  And how said 'thing'/object is separate from perception/observer)


Yes to respond to this additional bit - you have hit the nail on the head.

There is form, that is what I'm saying. And the fact that there is is the only reason we are having an experience. Because we exist separately from the rest of the of the Universe in the part of us that is form, i.e. our physical bodies, and this is the only thing that separates experience from experiencer. If we didn't have form the Universe would all be one thing and there would be no separation so nothing would be able to experience anything.

For the second bit. Again, you are correct. These things aren't seperate from each other. They are non-dual - i.e. they don't exist without each other.

But this definition of emptiness is different to other definitions of emptiness (e.g. indescribability) that get lumped in with it. 
Lol... so then we both agree, what I am describing is where dependent origination leads to. Tomato, tomahtoe

"But this definition of emptiness is different to other definitions of emptiness (e.g. indescribability) that get lumped in with it."

So you're saying that not everyone understands emptiness correctly... 
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:
(But then again... if there was no form at all, would we be having any experience (either 'of' the form or 'at all')? emoticon
And still it is not clear how this description of perceiving something as simultaneously beautiful/ugly, or simultaneously complex/simple, is separate from said 'thing'?  And how said 'thing'/object is separate from perception/observer)


Yes to respond to this additional bit - you have hit the nail on the head.

There is form, that is what I'm saying. And the fact that there is is the only reason we are having an experience. Because we exist separately from the rest of the of the Universe in the part of us that is form, i.e. our physical bodies, and this is the only thing that separates experience from experiencer. If we didn't have form the Universe would all be one thing and there would be no separation so nothing would be able to experience anything.

For the second bit. Again, you are correct. These things aren't seperate from each other. They are non-dual - i.e. they don't exist without each other.

But this definition of emptiness is different to other definitions of emptiness (e.g. indescribability) that get lumped in with it. 
Lol... so then we both agree, what I am describing is where dependent origination leads to. Tomato, tomahtoe

"But this definition of emptiness is different to other definitions of emptiness (e.g. indescribability) that get lumped in with it."

So you're saying that not everyone understands emptiness correctly... 


No I am saying that the conclusion that the buddhist dharma comes to on this (form is emptiness etc.) is false.

Because it lumps in this non-duality of everything, with the indescribability of some subjective experiences - combines these two things into the word emptiness and uses this to extrapolate that form is empty.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:

No I am saying that the conclusion that the buddhist dharma comes to on this (form is emptiness etc.) is false.

Because it lumps in this non-duality of everything, with the indescribability of some subjective experiences - combines these two things into the word emptiness and uses this to extrapolate that form is empty.
Yeah... seems like we're kinda going in circles here. Almost like we're in samsara or something!
emoticon
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:

No I am saying that the conclusion that the buddhist dharma comes to on this (form is emptiness etc.) is false.

Because it lumps in this non-duality of everything, with the indescribability of some subjective experiences - combines these two things into the word emptiness and uses this to extrapolate that form is empty.
Yeah... seems like we're kinda going in circles here. Almost like we're in samsara or something!
emoticon

Haha! Yeh, I mean to boil it down you basically have to choose between which one of these is correct, because they are saying completely different things:

"Form doesn't exist separately to anything else
Consciousness doesn't exist separately to anything else
Love doesn't exist separately to anything else
Meaning doesn't exist separately to anything else

None of them exist separately from the others, all of them are as real as each other."

OR

"Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty."

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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:

Haha! Yeh, I mean to boil it down you basically have to choose between which one of these is correct, because they are saying completely different things:
Not to sound rude, but actually, I don't.

Rosa:

"Form doesn't exist separately to anything else
Consciousness doesn't exist separately to anything else
Love doesn't exist separately to anything else
Meaning doesn't exist separately to anything else

None of them exist separately from the others, all of them are as real as each other."

OR

"Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty."

These both sound to be describing the exact same thing, and everything you've described up to this point seems to be in line with my own experiences, and so whether I call the way that I think about things "dependent origination" or "interdependent origination" seems trivial.

By the way, there's still a lot of unaddressed concerns/questions about your teachings and website, I feel like we've been sort of hyperfocused on this one semantic point that has not seemed to move forward in any substantial way.  (publicly claiming to be a god? misrepresenting and taking others' views out of context?)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I've got to say, I'm happy to notice that I'm not particularly attached to specific wordings that have been written down many hundreds of years ago based on oral tradition and then translated several times, and that are interpreted differently in different traditions. The wordings that resonate well with me from my knowing and experience are in terms of the cosmic lovemaking between space and its inherent liveliness, between potential and creation. There's an urge to merge but also a creativity that leads to diversity, and without some form of separation merging isn't possible. That creativity is awareness being newborn in any given moment and driven by the pure joy of setting things in motion, totally innocent and yet, paradoxically, fully situated (and sadly the situatedness often implies consequences that are much less joyous). I agree that interdependent is a better wording. I have no idea what was said originally, and quite frankly, none of us do. 

It is interesting how provoking straightforward subjectivity is to people. I find it refreshingly uncomplicated as a way of interacting.

I would love to talk. 
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Hey Linda,

For my part, the wording is not a problem... emoticon emoticon emoticon
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I've got to say, I'm happy to notice that I'm not particularly attached to specific wordings that have been written down many hundreds of years ago based on oral tradition and then translated several times, and that are interpreted differently in different traditions. The wordings that resonate well with me from my knowing and experience are in terms of the cosmic lovemaking between space and its inherent liveliness, between potential and creation. There's an urge to merge but also a creativity that leads to diversity, and without some form of separation merging isn't possible. That creativity is awareness being newborn in any given moment and driven by the pure joy of setting things in motion, totally innocent and yet, paradoxically, fully situated (and sadly the situatedness often implies consequences that are much less joyous). I agree that interdependent is a better wording. I have no idea what was said originally, and quite frankly, none of us do. 

It is interesting how provoking straightforward subjectivity is to people. I find it refreshingly uncomplicated as a way of interacting.

I would love to talk. 

I love this - it's a really beautiful description!

Sounds good, feel free to drop me an email - my email address is on my website.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:

No I am saying that the conclusion that the buddhist dharma comes to on this (form is emptiness etc.) is false.

Because it lumps in this non-duality of everything, with the indescribability of some subjective experiences - combines these two things into the word emptiness and uses this to extrapolate that form is empty.
Yeah... seems like we're kinda going in circles here. Almost like we're in samsara or something!
emoticon
Without entering into arguing about it further, my experience is that it is *not* false -- and that's based on my practice experience and not something I've just been told by some teacher or some book, although I did use the guidance of several teachers and books in my practice methods. I'd also like to suggest that it's entirely possible for you to follow those same methods rigorously to see for yoruself. I recognize that this is a frustrating concept (boy can I relate to that), but it's a path worth pursuing.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Erica Pittman:
J W:
Rosa:

No I am saying that the conclusion that the buddhist dharma comes to on this (form is emptiness etc.) is false.

Because it lumps in this non-duality of everything, with the indescribability of some subjective experiences - combines these two things into the word emptiness and uses this to extrapolate that form is empty.
Yeah... seems like we're kinda going in circles here. Almost like we're in samsara or something!
emoticon
Without entering into arguing about it further, my experience is that it is *not* false -- and that's based on my practice experience and not something I've just been told by some teacher or some book, although I did use the guidance of several teachers and books in my practice methods. I'd also like to suggest that it's entirely possible for you to follow those same methods rigorously to see for yoruself. I recognize that this is a frustrating concept (boy can I relate to that), but it's a path worth pursuing.
Yes, to continue the samsaric loop....

I have absolutely had experiences that could be variously described as emptiness, in lots of different defintions of the word.

And I know you have shared some of yours with me. That sounded very beautiful and nourishing experiences.

My objective here is not to minimise what experiences like these might mean to anyone, or how they can play some role in cultivating wisdom. 

However, as discussed before, having an experience that can be described as emptiness, is not the same as form being emptiness. That is a leap from the subjective to the objective.

See below. 

We can have an experience of 'emptiness'. Emptiness here meaning a whole load of things that are indescribable.

But firstly, that experience is transitory. So who is to say that an experience of emptiness is more true or profound than a more normal experience. These experiences of emptiness can lead to embodying more wisdom, for sure, but you can't extrapolate that everything is empty, just because you experienced it like that.

For example, I have had lots of experiences where everything in the world has appeared incredibly beautiful. But to extrapolate from that, that form is beauty, beauty is form sounds new agey and jarring, because clearly there are aspects of experience that are ugly, painful and difficult. The same thing is happening with the word empty, it is just better hidden because it sounds more profound in some way.

Secondly, the feeling that everything is empty or in some way indescribable is only one aspect of what is happening/ one part of the picture. It is just that your conscious mind is focused on aspects that feel or seem indescribable or 'empty'. There is an aspect of experience, a heart-beating, lungs breathing, neurons firing, that is very much describable, it's just not what your mind is focused on at that moment in time.

The form is not what is empty.

You are having an experience that feels empty.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Rosa:
Erica Pittman:
J W:
Rosa:

No I am saying that the conclusion that the buddhist dharma comes to on this (form is emptiness etc.) is false.

Because it lumps in this non-duality of everything, with the indescribability of some subjective experiences - combines these two things into the word emptiness and uses this to extrapolate that form is empty.
Yeah... seems like we're kinda going in circles here. Almost like we're in samsara or something!
emoticon
Without entering into arguing about it further, my experience is that it is *not* false -- and that's based on my practice experience and not something I've just been told by some teacher or some book, although I did use the guidance of several teachers and books in my practice methods. I'd also like to suggest that it's entirely possible for you to follow those same methods rigorously to see for yoruself. I recognize that this is a frustrating concept (boy can I relate to that), but it's a path worth pursuing.
Yes, to continue the samsaric loop....

I have absolutely had experiences that could be variously described as emptiness, in lots of different defintions of the word.

And I know you have shared some of yours with me. That sounded very beautiful and nourishing experiences.

My objective here is not to minimise what experiences like these might mean to anyone, or how they can play some role in cultivating wisdom. 

However, as discussed before, having an experience that can be described as emptiness, is not the same as form being emptiness. That is a leap from the subjective to the objective.

See below. 

We can have an experience of 'emptiness'. Emptiness here meaning a whole load of things that are indescribable.

But firstly, that experience is transitory. So who is to say that an experience of emptiness is more true or profound than a more normal experience. These experiences of emptiness can lead to embodying more wisdom, for sure, but you can't extrapolate that everything is empty, just because you experienced it like that.

For example, I have had lots of experiences where everything in the world has appeared incredibly beautiful. But to extrapolate from that, that form is beauty, beauty is form sounds new agey and jarring, because clearly there are aspects of experience that are ugly, painful and difficult. The same thing is happening with the word empty, it is just better hidden because it sounds more profound in some way.

Secondly, the feeling that everything is empty or in some way indescribable is only one aspect of what is happening/ one part of the picture. It is just that your conscious mind is focused on aspects that feel or seem indescribable or 'empty'. There is an aspect of experience, a heart-beating, lungs breathing, neurons firing, that is very much describable, it's just not what your mind is focused on at that moment in time.

The form is not what is empty.

You are having an experience that feels empty.


To clarify: I shared one experience with you that was an experience of the results of doing emptiness practice because you had articulated a concern that people didn't really use enough descriptive language. I did not say that it was an experience of emptiness -- it was an experience of unfabricating. I did not say "form is emptiness" either -- check my other post out about the traslation of that sutra. I actually don't think it's accurate to say "experience of emptiness" is a thing, by the way -- experience itself is empty. The very idea of emptiness is empty. Not gonna deny -- it is a difficult thing to grasp conceptually, but totally worth pursuing in practice if you ever feel so inclined. And very much related to wisdom and compassion.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Let me see if I can clarify this a bit. This is how I understand emptiness.

The unfindability thing is related to the other meanings of emptiness. If you observe something, anything, any worldly object, and you try to examine it more closely, you will find it breaks up into smaller constituent parts, or transforms into something else, or vanishes - that it is absolutely elusive and impossible to grasp, impossible to find what makes it what it is. That is to say, it seems to not exist as a solid, stable, inherently existing thing. Things don't have svabhava, self-nature, or said another way, they are not atoms, self-identical/permanent entities which are ontologically separate from the rest. This (Form is emptiness) does NOT mean that forms/things DON'T EXIST. They don't have a SEPARATE existence, at all levels. Like a rainbow : if you try to get closer to it, to touch the colors, to grasp it, you can't. Yet, the rainbow appears to you as a rainbow, as a form. If you didn't have eyes there would be no experience of a rainbow. If there was not certain aspects of the dependent origination chain present (such as : a degree of clinging, of desire, of interest), there would not be an experience at all. 

ALL experience is fabricated, all of it - time, space, memory, causality... It's all part of the creation of the things, all aspects of it are it, "One who has seen one thing, has seen them all", as Nagarjuna said. There aren't higher and lower phenomena, it's all ONE TASTE. That is standard buddhism emoticon 

Within this one-taste, the ten-thousand beings do their thing... 

Some aspects of emptiness. I agree it can be a confusing term. Sunyata comes from sunya which means both Fullness/Plenitude and Voidness, and could be translated as Openness. It is a way to express the "ultimate nature" of reality, self and world. A statement that things are neither real nor not real, as Burbea would put it. That is the "ontological middle way" : you can't pinpoint anything yet things appear vividly. There is suffering, yet no sufferer is found. There are perceptions of self as this agent doing stuff, a prceiver HERE perceiving stuff THERE, yet upon further inspection this all appears as just a kind of mirage, you can see how that is all just stuff being put together and that there is no underlying ground to support it, - but just because you see that perception is groundless, does not mean perception as it happens does not keep happening. There is something mysterious and magical to that. Another possible translation of Emptiness is Absence. Absence is Presence, Presence is Absence. All pairs of opposites are contained within one another, they can't exist independently.

All forms/objects/perceptions etc., are constantly being born and dying. It's impossible to hold anything. This world is Death. There is Nothing. No-thing. But these no-things are all just aspects of the broader manifestation. There is nothing which is not present within manifestation, nothing outside of this world, no back-world. The individual things are illusory, but there is the Absolute. This world is Eternal. So much so that it might seem sometimes that a superior way of talking about reality, is to say that the arising and passings are all fabricated and mirage-like projections, and that ALL EXPERIENCE IS ACTUALLY NON-ARISING.

That Creation is Uncreated, that the Born is Unborn, Presence is Absence and vice-versa, that Being is Becoming, Becoming is Being - these are alternative ways of expressing the insight (for instance, the greeks Parmenides and Heraclitus), and which in my mind is also a formulation of Dependent Origination. Dependent origination transcends these oppositions, for regardless - there is becoming, there is being, unfathomably. This is like saying : the particular is the absolute ; the absolute is the particular ..... Nirvana and samsara are both contained within the present moment... etc. This existence is a "Kaleidoscope of darkness"... 

There are both analytical and experiential dimensions to this emptiness and dependent origination business, and levels of depth, from the more horizontal, "rain exists because of rivers" causal aspect, to the more vertical and absolute levels of "the universe exists because we know it", "causality, time and space are also dependently originated along with my likes and dislikes", etc. Dependent origination DOES point to that co-creating you speak of, Rosa. In fact, another translation that was proposed by Thich Nhat Hahn is INTERBEING. The expression you use, interdependant origination, has also been used, for example by Raymond Abellio in his Manifest for a new gnosis. 

In fact, there is nothing I can find in what you wrote, that is not expressed in the Heart Sutta passage you quote. Buddhism sees reality as a "Middle way" between, or beyond the extremes of Nihilism and Eternalism. The forms that appear do appear, but, when you look for them, you can't find them as separate from any of the other things, they are seen to be empty, groundless, interpenetrating and hanging-there, lacking inherent existence and substantiality - there are experiences which lead upon repeated contemplation to cognizing, to understanding in an organic and non-objective way, to a REALIZATION, leading one to embody and become the knowing that this is the nature of things, regardless of the experience.

Realizing that is NOT a way of looking or an experience. It is non-objective knowledge, the deep adequation of being and knowing, the embodying of knowing - it is not a knowing of consciousness. It is about fully embracing, espousing manifestation as it manifests with a complete and unwavering trust that there is nothing higher to be found. The later parts of the path are much more about this heart integration and trusting and opening, than about any specific experiences, perceptive upgrades, or whatever. It's about non-resistance to the completeness and perfection of the present-moment. See the blog Awakening to reality for a particularly clear delineation between experiences/realizations.

Hope that's helpful.

Edited a bit.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Ok, so I don't know if this is what you wanted but here are my thoughts on this.... Feel free to ignore if not!


Let me see if I can clarify this a bit. This is how I understand emptiness.


The unfindability thing is related to the other meanings of emptiness. If you observe something, anything, any worldly object, and you try to examine it more closely, you will find it breaks up into smaller constituent parts, or transforms into something else, or vanishes - that it is absolutely elusive and impossible to grasp, impossible to find what makes it what it is. That is to say, it seems to not exist as a solid, stable, inherently existing thing.

Is this true? Your smartphone is going to take over 1 million years to decompose. Can you really say that that is not solid or stable?

You perception of it is not stable but the physical atoms are there. 


Things don't have svabhava, self-nature, or said another way, they are not atoms, self-identical/permanent entities which are ontologically separate from the rest.

Correct. If the smart phone snapped in two, it would arguably stop being a smartphone. But that doesn't mean the physical parts of it are not solid.


This (Form is emptiness) does NOT mean that forms/things DON'T EXIST. They don't have a SEPARATE existence, at all levels. Like a rainbow : if you try to get closer to it, to touch the colors, to grasp it, you can't.

This is true of a rainbow, not true of a smartphone or other physical objects, which is what I am talking about. The analogy of the rainbow is specifically confusing around this. 



Yet, the rainbow appears to you as a rainbow, as a form. If you didn't have eyes there would be no experience of a rainbow.

Correct - there would be no experience of a rainbow, but there would be a rainbow. The conditions for rainbows existed on earth before animals, so with everything that we know to be true about the Universe, there were rainbows before anyone could see them.

Just to make this point clear, as again some people will probably say - but how can you know there were rainbows? The truth is we can't know for sure.

And my question would be do you agree that the planet earth existed before animals were present on it? What about the sun?

If not, fair enough, but that's quite an extreme degree of solipsism, which is actually what dependent origination is pointing towards.



If there was not certain aspects of the dependent origination chain present (such as : a degree of clinging, of desire, of interest), there would not be an experience at all. 

Correct - this is cessation. Again, there would be no experience. But your physical body would still be there - heart-beating, lungs breathing, neurons firing - to create the conditions for you to have a 'non-experience'



ALL experience is fabricated, all of it - time, space, memory, causality... It's all part of the creation of the things, all aspects of it are it, "One who has seen one thing, has seen them all", as Nagarjuna said. There aren't higher and lower phenomena, it's all ONE TASTE. That is standard buddhism emoticon 

Within this one-taste, the ten-thousand beings do their thing... 

What does fabricated mean in this context? Because if you take that fancy word out, this is essentially just saying 'everything is everything', which is obviously true and I can get on board with that.


Some aspects of emptiness. I agree it can be a confusing term. Sunyata comes from sunya which means both Fullness/Plenitude and Voidness, and could be translated as Openness. It is a way to express the "ultimate nature" of reality, self and world. A statement that things are neither real nor not real, as Burbea would put it. That is the "ontological middle way" : you can't pinpoint anything yet things appear vividly.

This is what doesn't land for me. As discussed above, there is no ultimate nature of reality - everything is just everything. One taste. There's no separate thing that is the 'true' thing. 

Part of that one taste is the realisation that a bunch of stuff is just real. That smartphone is real. It's gonna be there for a million years. How can that be described as not real in any meaningful way?

You can perceive it in a way that it doesn't feel real, in your subjective experience, but there is no objective reality where it isn't real. 



There is suffering, yet no sufferer is found.

There is someone who is suffering right here. And the suffering occurs in the physical body. A human physical body can only bear so much pain.

It is separate from the rest of the Universe. Even if the cells change over time, I inhabit a body that will carry me through from the day I was born to the day I die in a slow enough process of change that it will give me a sense of continous experience in it.



There are perceptions of self as this agent doing stuff, a prceiver HERE perceiving stuff THERE, yet upon further inspection this all appears as just a kind of mirage, you can see how that is all just stuff being put together and that there is no underlying ground to support it,

The underlying ground is the physical body that it is occuring in. No matter how much you are at one with the Universe in all the other ways you are still a separate being in the sense of your physical body. 



- but just because you see that perception is groundless, does not mean perception as it happens does not keep happening. There is something mysterious and magical to that. Another possible translation of Emptiness is Absence. Absence is Presence, Presence is Absence. All pairs of opposites are contained within one another, they can't exist independently.

Sure - again this confusing perception of experience with experience itself. And talking about paradox and non-duality and magic. Which is fine but there are clearer ways to say this.



All forms/objects/perceptions etc., are constantly being born and dying. It's impossible to hold anything. This world is Death. There is Nothing. No-thing.

True, impermanence is happening. On a much slower time-scale with physical matter, but agreed that it's still happening. 

The question here is what is all this stuff, if there is nothing?



But these no-things are all just aspects of the broader manifestation. There is nothing which is not present within manifestation, nothing outside of this world, no back-world. The individual things are illusory,

In what way is the smart phone, or any physical object, illusory?



but there is the Absolute. This world is Eternal. So much so that it might seem sometimes that a superior way of talking about reality, is to say that the arising and passings are all fabricated and mirage-like projections, and that ALL EXPERIENCE IS ACTUALLY NON-ARISING.


That Creation is Uncreated, that the Born is Unborn, Presence is Absence and vice-versa, that Being is Becoming, Becoming is Being - these are alternative ways of expressing the insight (for instance, the greeks Parmenides and Heraclitus), and which in my mind is also a formulation of Dependent Origination. Dependent origination transcends these oppositions, for regardless - there is becoming, there is being, unfathomably. This is like saying : the particular is the absolute ; the absolute is the particular ..... Nirvana and samsara are both contained within the present moment... etc. This existence is a "Kaleidoscope of darkness"... 

If all experience is non-arising, what is this? How are we here?



There are both analytical and experiential dimensions to this emptiness and dependent origination business, and levels of depth, from the more horizontal, "rain exists because of rivers" causal aspect, to the more vertical and absolute levels of "the universe exists because we know it", "causality, time and space are also dependently originated along with my likes and dislikes", etc. Dependent origination DOES point to that co-creating you speak of, Rosa. In fact, another translation that was proposed by Thich Nhat Hahn is INTERBEING. The expression you use, interdependant origination, has also been used, for example by Raymond Abellio in his Manifest for a new gnosis. 

In fact, there is nothing I can find in what you wrote, that is not expressed in the Heart Sutta passage you quote. Buddhism sees reality as a "Middle way" between, or beyond the extremes of Nihilism and Eternalism. The forms that appear do appear, but, when you look for them, you can't find them as separate from any of the other things, they are seen to be empty, groundless, interpenetrating and hanging-there, lacking inherent existence and substantiality -

I'm saying they are substantial. If they weren't we wouldn't be having an experience.



there are experiences which lead upon repeated contemplation to cognizing, to understanding in an organic and non-objective way, to a REALIZATION, leading one to embody and become the knowing that this is the nature of things, regardless of the experience.


Realizing that is NOT a way of looking or an experience. It is non-objective knowledge, the deep adequation of being and knowing, the embodying of knowing - it is not a knowing of consciousness. It is about fully embracing, espousing manifestation as it manifests with a complete and unwavering trust that there is nothing higher to be found. The later parts of the path are much more about this heart integration and trusting and opening, than about any specific experiences, perceptive upgrades, or whatever. It's about non-resistance to the completeness and perfection of the present-moment. See the blog Awakening to reality for a particularly clear delineation between experiences/realizations.

Yes, I would agree with this. This is what I call heart-knowing.

And I know that physical objects are real ;) I've showed my workings above. 



By the way, it's fine if you know in your experience that physical objects are non-real and that your experience is that all things are un-real and non-arising. I'm very happy to agree to disagree here. Just sharing what I know from my exprience. 



I'm also very wary of the use of the word perfection. If the moment was perfect, we wouldn't have an existence. It is the struggle or the separation that creates experience. Perfection would mean that everything came togethe in unity and everything in the Universe would just stop still, like a chemistry experiment coming to an end. 

It can be 'perfectly imperfect' - but I'm just always very careful about that, as when people hear the word perfect they get a huge long list of assumptions of what that means and it tend to be the opposite of helpful for getting people to arrive in their present moment.

I get it, these questions sound dumb. But they are closer to the truth. The other stuff is intellectualisation - it is adding concepts to concepts. Taking you away from the experience that you are actually having. 

Awakening is being present with what is here. It is not a separate thing that we have to talk our way into. 


Now, as Erica has pointed out. Some of this has been helpful for her in having experiences that have helped her cultivate wisdom.

Lots of people find Rob Burbea's teachings in particular helpful for this. I'm not underminding that these ways of describing things can be helpful for people to have experiences that cultivate wisdom, compassion, presence etc. 

But they are like a poem or a story. They are not actually true in any meaningful sense of the word. As those very basic questions revealed.



The problem arises when people extrapolate that these things are true, comments like 'there is no sufferer' come up, which in a different context outside of a very narrow situation (a dharma talk or guided meditation), is massively undermining to all the people in the world who are suffering immensely. 

A world view that is based on 'no sufferer' and 'non-arising' undermines physical trauma and climate change.

If these words and descriptions are used purely with the caveat of 'everything I am talking about here applies only to subjective experience and cannot be applied to objective reality', then that is fine.

But that's exactly the distinction I am making.

Emptiness, in its different guises, can be experienced subjectively. It does not apply to objective reality or 'form'.




Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
I would also just like to say.

There there is a real desire in humans for the profound. For the meaningful. For a sense of purpose and connection to something bigger than us. And that is where a lot of this type of language comes from.

That desire is so real and so important.

Some would say that the desire is a cause for suffering and needs to be extinguised. I would argue it the other way around - that that desire is a huge inspiration. It inspires us to keep going when life is hard, which it is for most people, most of the time. 

Part of what I'm describing is that the mythical and magic aspects of reality are absolutely real in an emotional way, too. 

The stories that people tell and the poetic language that people use to describe experience can be incredibly beautiful and vital for giving us a sense of connection and belief in things that make life meaningful. 

I just want to clarify that by trying to be clear about what is real, I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't use this poetic language or create art that inspires people to practice diligently and know their experience better. Inspiration is a means and an end <3
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:

Interdependent origination, however, is not empty in any meaningful sense of the word - it is the realisation that form, consciousness, meaning and love all arise together, within this space that we call the Universe. None of them exist separately from the others, all of them are as real as each other. 

You could take each one and say for example:

Form doesn't exist separately to anything else
Consciousness doesn't exist separately to anything else
Love doesn't exist separately to anything else
Meaning doesn't exist separately to anything else

In that way they are one form of the word 'empty' (non-dual), but they aren't empty in other ways that are implied in the dharma.

Specifically anything that leads to a conclusion of non-arising is false, unless you are talking specifically about your subjective experience in a specific given moment. 
Sounds like dependent arising to me! Tomato, tomat-ah-to, as they say.  But anything that helps you with your own understanding, and if you feel like this is a better/easier way for you to communicate with others about experience, go for it!

Rosa:


To geek out about this further....

The trouble with the words sunyata, voidness and emptiness is that they have several, very closely overlapping but subtly different meanings depending on the context that they are being used in and that this is part of what allows people to make the jump into 'form is emptiness'.

Because the waters are muddy, the fact that is a sweeping statement isn't clear.


The trouble with the words sunyata, voidness and emptiness is that they have several, very closely overlapping but subtly different meanings depending on the context that they are being used in and that this is part of what allows people to make the jump into 'form is emptiness'.
Rosa:


And actually, to bring this full circle, the only reason I've been able to perceive this with so much clarity is because I have dropped out of the experience of my mind entirely into intuition, through going psychotic and integrating all of karma, and can essentially 'look back at my mind' from intuition. Don't worry about it if you don't believe that - this is very much a subjective experience, I just wanted to add it for anyone is interested for how I see that all this ties together. 

This is what allows me to see very clearly that mind is a subjective experience. I can detangle what is subjective from what is objective with absolute clarity, where other teachers fail to. This is why I can explain this relatively clearly.

I don't doubt it at all - to me it sounds like a good candidate for MCTB 2nd path (stream entry) which is quite a nice accomplishment, but I am no expert in this.

Totally appreciate you and your willingness to tackle the hard questions.  In my humble opinion it's difficult for any one person to totally integrate and re-wire thousands of years of tradition and theory into this exciting and fast-moving modern world. Collaboration is important in this fourth turning into the Metadharma! (PS I think there's a few Maitreyas lurking around the DhO - I am optimistic this is all going to work out!)
Best of luck to you. 
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:

Interdependent origination, however, is not empty in any meaningful sense of the word - it is the realisation that form, consciousness, meaning and love all arise together, within this space that we call the Universe. None of them exist separately from the others, all of them are as real as each other. 

You could take each one and say for example:

Form doesn't exist separately to anything else
Consciousness doesn't exist separately to anything else
Love doesn't exist separately to anything else
Meaning doesn't exist separately to anything else

In that way they are one form of the word 'empty' (non-dual), but they aren't empty in other ways that are implied in the dharma.

Specifically anything that leads to a conclusion of non-arising is false, unless you are talking specifically about your subjective experience in a specific given moment. 
Sounds like dependent arising to me! Tomato, tomat-ah-to, as they say.  But anything that helps you with your own understanding, and if you feel like this is a better/easier way for you to communicate with others about experience, go for it!

Rosa:


To geek out about this further....

The trouble with the words sunyata, voidness and emptiness is that they have several, very closely overlapping but subtly different meanings depending on the context that they are being used in and that this is part of what allows people to make the jump into 'form is emptiness'.

Because the waters are muddy, the fact that is a sweeping statement isn't clear.


The trouble with the words sunyata, voidness and emptiness is that they have several, very closely overlapping but subtly different meanings depending on the context that they are being used in and that this is part of what allows people to make the jump into 'form is emptiness'.
Rosa:


And actually, to bring this full circle, the only reason I've been able to perceive this with so much clarity is because I have dropped out of the experience of my mind entirely into intuition, through going psychotic and integrating all of karma, and can essentially 'look back at my mind' from intuition. Don't worry about it if you don't believe that - this is very much a subjective experience, I just wanted to add it for anyone is interested for how I see that all this ties together. 

This is what allows me to see very clearly that mind is a subjective experience. I can detangle what is subjective from what is objective with absolute clarity, where other teachers fail to. This is why I can explain this relatively clearly.

I don't doubt it at all - to me it sounds like a good candidate for MCTB 2nd path (stream entry) which is quite a nice accomplishment, but I am no expert in this.

Totally appreciate you and your willingness to tackle the hard questions.  In my humble opinion it's difficult for any one person to totally integrate and re-wire thousands of years of tradition and theory into this exciting and fast-moving modern world. Collaboration is important in this fourth turning into the Metadharma! (PS I think there's a few Maitreyas lurking around the DhO - I am optimistic this is all going to work out!)
Best of luck to you. 

Just to be clear, it's different because the conclusion of dependent origination is:

'Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.'

And as we have discussed this conclusion is false and changes everything about what aspects of experience are considered to be real or valid. 

The conclusion of interdependent origination is that all experience is valid.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
Just to be clear, it's different because the conclusion of dependent origination is:

'Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.'

And as we have discussed this conclusion is false and changes everything about what aspects of experience are considered to be real or valid. 

The conclusion of interdependent origination is that all experience is valid.
Well, I think we just have different definitions of what 'dependent origination' and 'emptiness' actually mean (at least as I have been taught them).  Again, that's probably mostly just a language and conditioning problem.  

Dependent origination does not lead me to the conclusion that 'not all experience is valid' (quite the opposite).  I'm not sure where you got your understanding of dependent origination, the only person who you have directly referred to as holding this misunderstanding is Erica, who is on this thread, and has gone out of her way to express more than once that you are misquoting and misrepresenting her statements and her views.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:
Just to be clear, it's different because the conclusion of dependent origination is:

'Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.'

And as we have discussed this conclusion is false and changes everything about what aspects of experience are considered to be real or valid. 

The conclusion of interdependent origination is that all experience is valid.
Well, I think we just have different definitions of what 'dependent origination' and 'emptiness' actually mean (at least as I have been taught them).  Again, that's probably mostly just a language and conditioning problem.  

Dependent origination does not lead me to the conclusion that 'not all experience is valid'.  I'm not sure where you got your understanding of dependent origination, the only person who you have directly referred to as holding this misunderstanding is Erica, who is on this thread, and has gone out of her way to express more than once that you are misquoting and misrepresenting her statements and her views.

Right yeh, we've talked very clearly about the different descriptions of emptiness.

And  the conclusion of dependent origination is taught as this:

'Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.'

This statement (form is empty...) is what invalidates aspects of experience. Because, as we have discussed, it is absurd to say that form is empty in any meaningful way.

If your conclusion of dependent origination is not this, but is in fact just the non-duality of everything. Then yeh, we are agreed. 
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:

This statement (form is empty...) is what invalidates aspects of experience. Because, as we have discussed, it is absurd to say that form is empty in any meaningful way.

If you are defining 'emptiness' as nothingness or worthlessness, which is actually not the correct definition...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

So I think you just have a problem with the word "emptiness". Which is fair!
(lots of discussions lately on redefining terms and vocabulary lately, especially here on the DhO)

Anything can be misunderstood emoticon

Again... language emoticon
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:

This statement (form is empty...) is what invalidates aspects of experience. Because, as we have discussed, it is absurd to say that form is empty in any meaningful way.

If you are defining 'emptiness' as nothingness or worthlessness, which is actually not the correct definition...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

So I think you just have a problem with the word "emptiness". Which is fair!

Anything can be misunderstood emoticon

Again... language emoticon


No. The only way that form can be meaningfully described as empty is replacing it with the word non-dual. 

'Form is non-dual; non-duality is form. Non-duality is not other than form; form also is not other than non-duality. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are non-dual.'

This statement is confusing at best and non-sensical at worst. 

You would just say form is non-dual. 

All other forms of the word emptiness cannot be used to describe form. 

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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 767 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:

'Form is non-dual; non-duality is form. Non-duality is not other than form; form also is not other than non-duality. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are non-dual.'

This statement is confusing at best and non-sensical at worst.

Originally non-duality pointed to realization that on some level we are one being. There is very tangible experience associated with it that is called as the experience of Atman (and which could be literally described as Advaita's enlightenment). Tangible because exeriencing it makes you literally connected to everything else in such a way that it can even verify itself and in fact constantly does.

On the other hand most explanations I find are from traditions which should not even have this concept and are pure nonsense, not to mention that using non-duality to check what authors have in mind reveals that what non-duality came to be is typically a kind of experience that is like what you get studying Zen koans but not even quite that. Not terrible in itself but have nothing to do with original super-mundane meaning of non-duality.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
Rosa:

'Form is non-dual; non-duality is form. Non-duality is not other than form; form also is not other than non-duality. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are non-dual.'

This statement is confusing at best and non-sensical at worst.

Originally non-duality pointed to realization that on some level we are one being. There is very tangible experience associated with it that is called as the experience of Atman (and which could be literally described as Advaita's enlightenment). Tangible because exeriencing it makes you literally connected to everything else in such a way that it can even verify itself and in fact constantly does.

On the other hand most explanations I find are from traditions which should not even have this concept and are pure nonsense, not to mention that using non-duality to check what authors have in mind reveals that what non-duality came to be is typically a kind of experience that is like what you get studying Zen koans but not even quite that. Not terrible in itself but have nothing to do with original super-mundane meaning of non-duality.
Yes 100%. This is the experience I am having.

But this statement is a much clearer description of that:

"Form doesn't exist separately to anything else
Consciousness doesn't exist separately to anything else
Love doesn't exist separately to anything else
Meaning doesn't exist separately to anything else

None of them exist separately from the others, all of them are as real as each other."

The way that each one manifests as non-dual is different. And is dealt with in different traditions. 



The point I was making here was that when you phrase it this way it doesn't make sense:

'Form is non-dual; non-duality is form. Non-duality is not other than form etc. etc.'

It's a bit like saying something like:

'Form is cheese; cheese is form; cheese is not other than form'

The words kind of work but it doesn't really actually mean anything clear or specific.



But that doesn't really matter. I agree with what you're saying here.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
And  the conclusion of dependent origination is taught as this:

'Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.'

I'm gonna add one more thought here, mostly because this is a good opportunity to elucidate what is in fact an often misunderstood subtlety of emptiness theory.

I also think I might have a better understanding of what one of your root misunderstandings is here and there is a (if i had to guess - extremely small) chance that this might help with that understanding.

.
.
.

The Four Profundities (Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.) are most certainly NOT the "conclusion" of dependent origination.

In fact it is much, much deeper and nuanced than that.  

Have you ever heard the expression "Never mistake the finger for the moon?"
(If you haven't, here's a quick overview of that expression: https://mindfulambition.net/finger-and-moon/)

That's exactly what you are doing here when you take the four profundities (which are actually just a small part of the heart sutra, which is itself only one of the sutras) as this sort of holy grail of buddhism, which it is not.  This is purely a misunderstanding on your part.

Again, I think at least some basic research into traditional views on dependent origination is warranted here, here's just a few random links I pulled from Google, in none of these random sites is it described the way you describe it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da
https://www.buddha101.com/p_origin.htm
http://www.buddhanet.net/funbud12.htm
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 767 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:
And  the conclusion of dependent origination is taught as this:

'Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.'

I'm gonna add one more thought here, mostly because this is a good opportunity to elucidate what is in fact an often misunderstood subtlety of emptiness theory.

I also think I might have a better understanding of what one of your root misunderstandings is here and there is a (if i had to guess - extremely small) chance that this might help with that understanding.

.
.
.

The Four Profundities (Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.) are most certainly NOT the "conclusion" of dependent origination.

In fact it is much, much deeper and nuanced than that.  

Have you ever heard the expression "Never mistake the finger for the moon?"
(If you haven't, here's a quick overview of that expression: https://mindfulambition.net/finger-and-moon/)

That's exactly what you are doing here when you take the four profundities (which are actually just a small part of the heart sutra, which is itself only one of the sutras) as this sort of holy grail of buddhism, which it is not.  This is purely a misunderstanding on your part.

Again, I think at least some basic research into traditional views on dependent origination is warranted here, here's just a few random links I pulled from Google, in none of these random sites is it described the way you describe it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da
https://www.buddha101.com/p_origin.htm
http://www.buddhanet.net/funbud12.htm
Didn't Rosa already state that this sentence is absurd?
Maybe my first coffee didn't kick in but to me it seems you took sentence out of context, made bunch of assumption and hastily went to "education mode on" emoticon
Nicolai, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Post: 1 Join Date: 1/17/20 Recent Posts
Hey Guys,
do you know this article by Jayarava Attwood?
It's a scholarly view on those famous lines of the Heart Sutra which I found very fascinating. :-)
http://www.jocbs.org/index.php/jocbs/article/view/164
Take Care,
Nicolai
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
J W:
Rosa:
And  the conclusion of dependent origination is taught as this:

'Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.'

I'm gonna add one more thought here, mostly because this is a good opportunity to elucidate what is in fact an often misunderstood subtlety of emptiness theory.

I also think I might have a better understanding of what one of your root misunderstandings is here and there is a (if i had to guess - extremely small) chance that this might help with that understanding.

.
.
.

The Four Profundities (Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.) are most certainly NOT the "conclusion" of dependent origination.

In fact it is much, much deeper and nuanced than that.  

Have you ever heard the expression "Never mistake the finger for the moon?"
(If you haven't, here's a quick overview of that expression: https://mindfulambition.net/finger-and-moon/)

That's exactly what you are doing here when you take the four profundities (which are actually just a small part of the heart sutra, which is itself only one of the sutras) as this sort of holy grail of buddhism, which it is not.  This is purely a misunderstanding on your part.

Again, I think at least some basic research into traditional views on dependent origination is warranted here, here's just a few random links I pulled from Google, in none of these random sites is it described the way you describe it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da
https://www.buddha101.com/p_origin.htm
http://www.buddhanet.net/funbud12.htm
Didn't Rosa already state that this sentence is absurd?
Maybe my first coffee didn't kick in but to me it seems you took sentence out of context, made bunch of assumption and hastily went to "education mode on" emoticon
"Maybe my first coffee didn't kick in but to me it seems you took sentence out of context, made bunch of assumption and hastily went to "education mode on" emoticon"

Ok, that's fair. In my defense though I am only responding with a tone appropriate to what I perceive as someone who speaks with total authority on a subject while assuming everyone she's talking to is completely ignorant or weakminded, all still without providing any real sources for substantiating her strawman claims. 


"Didn't Rosa already state that this sentence is absurd?"

She's said several times over the course of this conversation that, basically, I have to choose between "the four profundities" or her slightly reworded version of the four profundities.  What exactly do you mean?  
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
[quote=]Yes, because if you can't say anything about it, then that statement is meaningless.
Because only words carry meaning?  

emoticon

Rosa, with all due respect I think you may be misjudging something here. I'm not looking to argue/"debate" with you about this.  The argument has been had hundreds of times already, here on this forum, but also countless times throughout history.  Yes, it's a paradox. 

If you aren't able to see that there are a great many similarities between the thoughts and ideas that you have (some of which, I am sure, are wonderful ideas) and many thinkers throughout human history, I'm certainly not going to be the one to change your mind about that.

But I am totally with Erica on this one, please hang out and stay a while.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
On that form is emptiness, emptiness in form bit from the heart sutra:

In one of Rob's talks on emptiness pre-book (check dharmaseed for his emptiness retreats), he talks about the fact that one of the translators that he knows says it should be more accurately translated as:

Form            Emptiness
Emptiness    Form

i.e., they take out the "is" -- because it's a better representation of the real relationship and interplay between the two. Still conceptually paradoxical, but more accurate 
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Rosa:

Part of this loneliness is feeling like a complete idiot claiming to be Maitreya (especially when I don't even believe in Buddhism). I am well aware that no-one is going to believe me without significant evidence and that I probably still have a very long and lonely road ahead of me, potentially for the rest of my life, but for some reason this is an important aspect of the story that is probably yet to unfold. Or perhaps this is it unfolding now... ;) 


I can viscerally relate to that loneliness which I used to feel, thinking that no one could understand what I came to understand because, as Nietszche would have it, "I stared into the abyss... and the abyss looked back". It can dissipate - I no longer feel that at all. Part of the dissipitation was a deepening of wisdom, and also education about what other people have said about all this. I really think you could benefit from reading that link I shared above...
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Olivier:
Rosa:

Part of this loneliness is feeling like a complete idiot claiming to be Maitreya (especially when I don't even believe in Buddhism). I am well aware that no-one is going to believe me without significant evidence and that I probably still have a very long and lonely road ahead of me, potentially for the rest of my life, but for some reason this is an important aspect of the story that is probably yet to unfold. Or perhaps this is it unfolding now... ;) 


I can viscerally relate to that loneliness which I used to feel, thinking that no one could understand what I came to understand because, as Nietszche would have it, "I stared into the abyss... and the abyss looked back". It can dissipate - I no longer feel that at all. Part of the dissipitation was a deepening of wisdom, and also education about what other people have said about all this. I really think you could benefit from reading that link I shared above...

For sure it can dissipate. It's dissipated immensely from where it was. Because we arise with our environment, we aren't separate to it and I have found friends who validate my experience and accept it. 

Loneliness becomes less as connection becomes more and there is more connection happening in my corner of the Universe these days. May the trajectory long continue.
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:


Plus, most people get mad and defensive and don't want to hear about it, so it doesn't seem worthwhile to talk about it.

I don't mean this to sound aggressive in any way, but, with all due respect, have you considered that perhaps what you are perceiving as 'defensiveness' may not actually be that?  Or that perhaps whatever reactions you do perceive, may be caused by something other than what you think they are caused by?
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
I've said this already in that Twitter thread, but still not sure you saw it, Rosa: I have not been saying that physical bodies don't exist. I know there is an issue with more conservative Buddhists using emptiness to argue that there's no place for politics in Buddhism (and therefore no place for race, class, gender, climate etc... discussions) -- that's not where I'm coming from *at all*.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Rosa:

I have a very clear pupose in each moment, I don't have an experience outside of this moment. I don't think about anything except dharma. All day every day. It is my entire life. I would never have chosen this life in a million lifetimes. It has been more painful than anything I could have ever imagined and it is an incredibly lonely existence. 


Rosa, I’m wondering if you might be able to give some helpful input on a situation with a friend of mine who is suicidal. He is diagnosed bipolar and has had quite severe psychoses while being into the dharma. During one of them he was describing what he called quantum flux now, which was very painful to him. During it he knew stuff about people that he as an individual would not be able to know and based on that gave advice that he felt was needed, and a formerly close friend of his has still not forgiven him for overstepping boundaries with regard to a severe trauma in doing so (he deeply regrets it and thinks she has every right to protect herself). Some energetic connections with others did land well, however, and they were very grateful. I’m not at all saying that it’s the same thing as where you are at. You are clearly very cautious about people’s traumas. Also, for him it didn’t stick, and he was not able to deal well with whatever his experience of the moment was. His experience outside of psychosis is very flat. It sounds like depersonalization to me. He has no sense of agency, but no sense of purpose in the moment either. He has lost interest in the dharma and he isolates himself because he's afraid of causing others harm. If there is anything in your experience or intuition that you think could help, I would be grateful. I have never actually met him (we are penpals) but he is a very lovable person that I care about a lot. I can't help but thinking that he actually had some deep spiritual experiences that sort of landed wrong. 
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Rosa:

I have a very clear pupose in each moment, I don't have an experience outside of this moment. I don't think about anything except dharma. All day every day. It is my entire life. I would never have chosen this life in a million lifetimes. It has been more painful than anything I could have ever imagined and it is an incredibly lonely existence. 


Rosa, I’m wondering if you might be able to give some helpful input on a situation with a friend of mine who is suicidal. He is diagnosed bipolar and has had quite severe psychoses while being into the dharma. During one of them he was describing what he called quantum flux now, which was very painful to him. During it he knew stuff about people that he as an individual would not be able to know and based on that gave advice that he felt was needed, and a formerly close friend of his has still not forgiven him for overstepping boundaries with regard to a severe trauma in doing so (he deeply regrets it and thinks she has every right to protect herself). Some energetic connections with others did land well, however, and they were very grateful. I’m not at all saying that it’s the same thing as where you are at. You are clearly very cautious about people’s traumas. Also, for him it didn’t stick, and he was not able to deal well with whatever his experience of the moment was. His experience outside of psychosis is very flat. It sounds like depersonalization to me. He has no sense of agency, but no sense of purpose in the moment either. He has lost interest in the dharma and he isolates himself because he's afraid of causing others harm. If there is anything in your experience or intuition that you think could help, I would be grateful. I have never actually met him (we are penpals) but he is a very lovable person that I care about a lot. I can't help but thinking that he actually had some deep spiritual experiences that sort of landed wrong. 
My first thought would be to recognise that everyone has their own path and their own story and sometimes people have to go through really hard stuff.

It can be really hard to watch this from the outside and to feel powerless to be able to help - noticing these feelings in yourself and the pain and challenge with this is really important, so that you can take care of yourself and maintain healthy boundaries for both of you. I'm not suggesting that you aren't doing this at all, it's just a very very difficult thing to do when someone you care about is suffering so much. Starting from the place of acknowledging how difficult the situtation is for both of you means you can move from a place of compassion for both yourself and him and don't get sucked into a trap of feeling like you aren't doing enough. 

It also feels worth saying that just having people around that you know are there for you, in the way of a supportive friend, is invaluable. For me, just having people to chat with and hang out with when I felt up to it, even if I couldn't share what I was going through, was a life-saver.

Everyone likes to be supported differently, so it may be worth asking him what would feel most helpful? 

I have some friends who really like having lots of space to talk and some who would rather just have space to disappear for a while and process, for example. Not everyone knows themself well enough to tell you, but it's always worth asking.

It definitely sounds like there have been some big spiritual openings and a really difficult integration process. 

It's hard to give any more solid advice than that, without knowing the situation, but one thing comes to mind.

You mention that he is afraid of hurting others, that his experience is flat and he has disconnected from others.

Joy is a really powerful way of creating connection and overcoming fear - it can reach into our darkness and help us express things in a way that is meaningful and connecting. Something creative - e.g. painting or writing about his experiences - might help with this. As you know this has been very helpful for me emoticon

But it's important that compassion comes first. If he is struggling to function, the idea of doing something creative might feel beyond him and that's ok. 

You being there for him as a supportive friend, and giving him space to write to you sounds great. 

I'd be happy to talk to him, if he would like to and he felt that would feel helpful.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Thankyou for caring! I will ask him if he wants to talk to you. He is planning suicide and has alternative plans for dates for when to do it. He can't feel joy, hasn't been able to do so since the last time he was manic. Hasn't felt joy outside of mania for many years. He appreciates our contact but doesn't really want support apart from other suicidal people on the internet with which he exchanges concerns about how to die. He would have committed suicide already if he weren't concerned about his parents' wellbeing. He feels like their caring about him staying alive is a burden. He has no drive whatsoever to do anything, except for ending his life. I know that he has been wondering a lot about his experiences, though, and if anyone can help him understand what he has been going through, it's probably you. 
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thankyou for caring! I will ask him if he wants to talk to you. He is planning suicide and has alternative plans for dates for when to do it. He can't feel joy, hasn't been able to do so since the last time he was manic. Hasn't felt joy outside of mania for many years. He appreciates our contact but doesn't really want support apart from other suicidal people on the internet with which he exchanges concerns about how to die. He would have committed suicide already if he weren't concerned about his parents' wellbeing. He feels like their caring about him staying alive is a burden. He has no drive whatsoever to do anything, except for ending his life. I know that he has been wondering a lot about his experiences, though, and if anyone can help him understand what he has been going through, it's probably you. 

Oh man, that's so hard, I'm so sorry. Let me know if you wanted to chat sometime as well - it must be a really hard situation for you also.

I hope it takes a turn for the better for him.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Hmm...

You're separating and responding to individual statements which are meant to be taken as a whole... some of them are "temporary" and supposed to lead into a next contradictory statement, and these get synthesized afterwards... Which leads to your responding to a superficial and incomplete version of what I wrote - thus actually distorting what I said !

It appears to me you don't fully understand what I'm actually saying, while positioning yourself as an authority on this, and engaging in point by point  debating to prove the limitations of something you don't appear to get, from my perspective, while asserting the superiority of your own understanding.

This is actually what Erica was disturbed by, it seems to me...

So I'm kind of starting to share her concerns now, ...

I don't consider that one has to do that when they are officially offering teachings, it's ok to teach and have limits to one's understanding. In fact, a lot of realized people I respect are very open to real discussion...

For instance, do you not see the contradiction between saying that time is entirely contained within the present moment and everything has already happened, or that he hard to accept truth of awakening is that there is no-one here doing anything, and refusing to accept that there's a certain perspective from which it can be said that all experience is non-arising, as well as denouncing this kind of statement as detrimental for people who suffer... ? 

Subtle points of understanding are not necesarily intellectualizing. Higher realization is about different degrees of understanding about the same experience, which is indeed just what is. The understanding differs. From outside it seems like intellectualizing - it is not. I invite you to check out the references I gave !!

The minimum that humility dictates one do before claiming they are the first to understand anything, is to check out what others might have said before, and actually engage with that in a deep and caring way, without preconceptions...

I guess your goal is more to help people get through difficult stuff like you nicely offered to do with Linda's friend, than get to the bottom of this, which is great.

One should be clear about that, though... ! with others, with oneself.  ...

Just my 2cts.

Cheers emoticon

Edited slightly 
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Olivier:
Hmm...

You're separating and responding to individual statements which are meant to be taken as a whole... some of them are "temporary" and supposed to lead into a next contradictory statement, and these get synthesized afterwards... Which leads to your responding to a superficial and incomplete version of what I wrote - thus actually distorting what I said !

It appears to me you don't fully understand what I'm actually saying, while positioning yourself as an authority on this, and engaging in point by point  debating to prove the limitations of something you don't appear to get, from my perspective, while asserting the superiority of your own understanding.

This is actually what Erica was disturbed by, it seems to me...

So I'm kind of starting to share her concerns now, ...

I don't consider that one has to do that when they are officially offering teachings, it's ok to teach and have limits to one's understanding. In fact, a lot of realized people I respect are very open to real discussion...

For instance, do you not see the contradiction between saying that time is entirely contained within the present moment and everything has already happened, or that he hard to accept truth of awakening is that there is no-one here doing anything, and refusing to accept that there's a certain perspective from which it can be said that all experience is non-arising, as well as denouncing this kind of statement as detrimental for people who suffer... ? 

Subtle points of understanding are not necesarily intellectualizing. Higher realization is about different degrees of understanding about the same experience, which is indeed just what is. The understanding differs. From outside it seems like intellectualizing - it is not. I invite you to check out the references I gave !!

The minimum that humility dictates one do before claiming they are the first to understand anything, is to check out what others might have said before, and actually engage with that in a deep and caring way, without preconceptions...

I guess your goal is more to help people get through difficult stuff like you nicely offered to do with Linda's friend, than get to the bottom of this, which is great.

One should be clear about that, though... ! with others, with oneself.  ...

Just my 2cts.

Cheers emoticon

Edited slightly 

I guess just to point out the way I am interacting here, these are contained in my response:

- "here are my thoughts on this.... Feel free to ignore if not!"

- "By the way, it's fine if you know in your experience that physical objects are non-real and that your experience is that all things are un-real and non-arising. I'm very happy to agree to disagree here. Just sharing what I know from my exprience."


And to respond to this:
For instance, do you not see the contradiction between saying that time is entirely contained within the present moment and everything has already happened, or that he hard to accept truth of awakening is that there is no-one here doing anything, and refusing to accept that there's a certain perspective from which it can be said that all experience is non-arising, as well as denouncing this kind of statement as detrimental for people who suffer... ?

- I experience time as only being in the present moment. Subjective experience not objective reality.
- The objective reality of time is that it's complicated. There is an aspect of it that is that everything that is going to happen has already happened, along with other aspects of it. I can go more into my ideas of that but that doesn't feel particularly helpful here. People can find this on my website if they are particularly interested.
- In my experience I know that there is no free will. That is different to saying that there is no-one. There is a Rosa body, that is experiencing its own personal experience it's just not in charge of anything.
- Yes - I don't accept non-arising and I do believe that this kind of statement can be dentrimental. I don't think badly of anyone who does accept it - I believe that everyone is welcome to their own world view. No, in my world view none of this is a contradiction to the above statements. 



Hope that clarifies where I'm coming from!

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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 767 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thankyou for caring! I will ask him if he wants to talk to you. He is planning suicide and has alternative plans for dates for when to do it. He can't feel joy, hasn't been able to do so since the last time he was manic. Hasn't felt joy outside of mania for many years. He appreciates our contact but doesn't really want support apart from other suicidal people on the internet with which he exchanges concerns about how to die. He would have committed suicide already if he weren't concerned about his parents' wellbeing. He feels like their caring about him staying alive is a burden. He has no drive whatsoever to do anything, except for ending his life. I know that he has been wondering a lot about his experiences, though, and if anyone can help him understand what he has been going through, it's probably you. 
Let me guess, this friend of yours practiced to get liberation/relief and never found these ideas as toxic? emoticon
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Hey -- maybe this is unnecessary, but I am in the midst of clinical training and want to say that your friend should definitely seek out professional mental health support if he hasn't already -- particularly in situations of suicidiality. Also -- there are therapists out there who can and do deal with non-ordinary states and spiritual matters quite well. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Erica Pittman:
Hey -- maybe this is unnecessary, but I am in the midst of clinical training and want to say that your friend should definitely seek out professional mental health support if he hasn't already -- particularly in situations of suicidiality. Also -- there are therapists out there who can and do deal with non-ordinary states and spiritual matters quite well. 

He has done that and it doesn't help. It's not a new situation. 

Well, usually they lock him up. 

I'm asking Rosa, not anyone. We have already covered the basics. 
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Erica Pittman:
Hey -- maybe this is unnecessary, but I am in the midst of clinical training and want to say that your friend should definitely seek out professional mental health support if he hasn't already -- particularly in situations of suicidiality. Also -- there are therapists out there who can and do deal with non-ordinary states and spiritual matters quite well. 

He has done that and it doesn't help. It's not a new situation. 

Well, usually they lock him up. 

I'm asking Rosa, not anyone. We have already covered the basics. 
Fair enough -- that really sucks for your friend, I hope he finds better support. As someone with both clinical training and some experience in these other spiritual matters, it felt important to make sure at least said that. I also know people who have gone through suicidal episodes and had significant experience with meditative realization and non-ordinary states, and they haven't all had to deal with that kind of reception from mental health professionals.
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Ben V., modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 366 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
As a mental health professional, I second what Erica says here 100%. 

A suicidal person with psychotic antecedants needs someone trained to deal with those very specific issues. 

That a person drops in and claims to be Maitreya (just as someone who would clain to be the coming "Christ"), writes that she has awakenings never attained before in the history of humanity and other extraordinary self-claims that sound like A&P on steroids, and says in her 'How I work section' "if anyone tries to pull any punches - asserting power over or undermining people unnecessarily - be warned that there is every chance I may destroy you, in the most loving way possible" (note that if one understands some basic dynamics of psychotic-level functioning, words like "I will destroy you" will jump in their face reading this and be enough to trigger the annihilation terror common in psychotic functioning, so a terrible thing to write in a 'How I work' Section), and then a group moderator to openly and so readily and quickly want to refer a suicidal person with psychotic features to such a person, is troubling to me as a mental health professional.

Linda, I by no means wish to discredit you as a person nor as a meditator. I have enjoyed, looked up to, and benefited from posts of yours in the past on meditation. But I think refering a person who is that much in danger requires to be very careful to whom you refer. I felt obliged as a mental health professional to intervene and yes, "overstep" boudaries (your question was not to me). In suicidability, I was literallly trained to overstep boundaries sometimes when it is a case of suicidability (e.g. calling an ambulance or relative despite the confidentiality rule, etc).

Rosa, your response to Linda about her suicidal friend is full of compassion, good advice, and even some good professionalism from where I stand (offering  a supportive space, etc). So much that I hesitated to write this response. But still, do you have training for suicidal people? Do you understand intervention with psychotic patients? do you understand the "DOs and Don'tS" with them? Do you agree that spiritual openings don't make one an expert in everything, for instance intervention in severe mental health crisis?

Have you considered after your spiritual opening that it might be wise to let it "cook" for a while (it seems very recent), let it take the test of time? You read MCTB. What do you think of the A&P section? And how A&P can make one believe and feel grandiose things about oneself?
I by no means wish to "trash-talk" you, as you may have been concerned about, but it's a repetitive scenario in history when some people believe they have some highest enlightenment, and then fall hard from that and things going dead wrong.

Linda, sometimes hospitalisation (locked up, as you say) IS the right intervention, although I would certainly add that creating a loving, empathic and supportive environement is way underestimated, even in hospital settings sometimes, in helping severly suicidal and psychotic patients, so this should be incorporated with the hospitalization as much as possible (from the staff, family members, close friends..). Still. hospitalization is sometimes the only way to protect the life of a person. You described your friend as having plans and dates of suicide: this is a 911 emergency!

 I would be relieved to be wrong. But I felt morally obliged not to stay silent on my personal (or professional) red flag alert here.

Metta to you all.



Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Rosa, your response to Linda about her suicidal friend is full of compassion, good advice, and even some good professionalism from where I stand (offering  a supportive space, etc). 

I'd agree that this is a very delicate topic and I'm not offering a service to replace any mental health services. But having someone to speak to who may be able to understand and hold space for you to openly talk about your experiences without being branded as crazy is invaluable.
You described your friend as having plans and dates of suicide: this is a 911 emergency!
I appreciate your alarm and this just isn't my experience of how the real world works. The reaction is often either underwhelming (lack of response/ support if the plans aren't taken seriously) or overbearing (treating people cruelly and unempathetically, which is damaging in the long-run).

I'm not saying that this person, or their friends and relatives, shouldn't contact emergency or mental health services, but I'm saying if they don't I would 100% understand why not. 

And would rather offer a compassionate space where someone can talk, as a spiritual friend, than not. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Rosa, I'm sorry for putting you in the situation of having to take heat for being there as a human being for another human being, because obviously that's upsetting to people. I should have realized that. People with severe mental health issues are apparently not supposed to have any connections outside of a strict clinical setting, because society knows better than letting them develop friendships and have someone care for them. My bad. 
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
I think both Linda and Rosa are acting responsibly here, in light of offering this desperate man friendship, a safe ear, and supportive space. Linda knows the situation better than anyone, and she's the only one holding his lifeline at this point. The guy's suicide plan involves a date "in somewhere from March to after next psychosis," and any intervention now, a 911 call, a hospitalization, is as likely to aggravate the situation as it is to ease it. He has professionals on his case, and Linda and Rosa are not offering themselves as professionals here, but simply as human beings who care. As basic human support.

Ben, your personal and professional alarm bell went off, but hopefully with fuller knowledge here you will agree. Certainly your moral duty is discharged. This is a supplement to the professional and insititutional safety net, and it is the kind of thing that actually saves people's lives, on th groujnd, in real time. It's not an emergency, it's a potential tragedy in process, and good people are doing their best here to avert the tragedy and support the real human being in his real situation.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Linda, please don't feel bad!  Situations like this are intense - noone likes the idea of a tragedy.

Hope you know that you've done all the right things and that it's great that you can be there for him.  And much rather that you asked me about it than didn't <3
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streamsurfer, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 1/19/16 Recent Posts
Rosa, it seems most of the concerns here are not aiming for what you do, but how you relate it to contemporary meditation culture and other practicioners. I guess time will tell, if you really are the next buddha who will enlighten rest of humanity. You are talking about layer after layer being released - well, what's about the layer of maritreya? How do you know you have reached the end, and furthermore, are more realized than any other being? Many practioners report in their further practice, that there is more illusion and ignorance to be cut through, than they have seen before.
And yes, obviously you can deflect all of the points in this thread with your maritreya claim, we get that.
I just hope, for the sake of your clients and yours, that your path of teaching will include some amount of honest self reflection and that it is for the best of all beings, as you aim to.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
I can't answer these things for certain, but they are good questions and I have spent thousands of hours processing them. These are some brief reflections from my blog:

If anyone has heard of anyone else who has integrated or attempted to integrate all humans shadows, which requires going psychotic, I would be very interested to have a conversation with them or to read about their experiences. Especially if they have also experienced these other forms of awakening.

I have never heard of any other person who has experienced reality in this way and with this level and depth of vulnerability, honesty and clarity. I believe that this is reflected in the way that I can perceive and speak clearly, simply and openly about a wide-range of topics that other people either barely touch on or talk about in very opaque, confused, defensive or overly-complicated ways. Even very awake people and the most senior and respected spiritual leaders.

However, depending on which paradigm you’re looking at it from, depends on whether I believe that I am Maitreya or not. I have destroyed the entire concept of religion in my experience. It doesn’t make sense any more, because it is a fixed social structure that is essentially a pyramid scheme of authority. The only truth that it holds is the agreed truth that person X knows more than person Y. 

From this world-view I am not a Buddha. However, I still need to interact with the rest of the world so it makes sense in some contexts to claim Buddhahood. Quite honestly, I hate this and would rather not do it, but it appears to be part of the role I need to play in dismantling the hierarchical systems that people automatically use to understand spirituality. 

When viewed from the old or existing paradigm, I believe I am the last Buddha. My role was to awaken from the need for Buddhism or any kind of hierarchical spiritual framework, to love all experience and be able to trust in our inherent goodness as human beings.

From the new paradigm, which I am embodying and that I can help people to navigate towards, I'm just another person embodying their values. My experience is a place in which we can all just be wonderfully human and show up in our fullness without needing to define ourselves.

The result is I feel very normal in my experience and yet very empowered to speak my truth and make an impact on the world.

Also with regards to the question about the A&P - I don't really use this concept in the way I make sense of the world and the way I support other people - but I'm aware that there are a lot of wild experiences on the spiritual journey.

The process really started for me in 2015 and I went through a lot of strange and intense experiences. Just as one example, a few years ago I had a kundalini energy awakening after which I was in a bliss state for 6 weeks, I was full of energy, only needed to sleep for a few hours a night (normally I'm a 9 hours a night kinda girl) and regularly gave my then-husband electric shocks during this time.

I say my awakening happened in 2019, because this is when it really fell of a cliff in terms of awakening becoming all that was left in my experience.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Karma

Karma very clearly tells us that
You need to take responsibility
For your challenges
If you want to be able to move past them.
Difficult thoughts, emotions and feelings
Will get stuck inside of us
If we can’t find a way to release them

But one of the most fundamentally important things
To grasp about karma is this:
You do not deserve the hand you’ve been given
And those same thoughts, emotions and feelings
Don’t belong to you.
All of that pain and stress and difficulty is arising
From a history
That started long before you were born
And from an environment
That is shaped by forces we don’t control

Trauma is written into our fabric.
Our beings are an extension
Of a moment so explosive it created space-time
Can you imagine the noise that made?
And the feeling of being torn into this world.

The most incredible thing about this
Is that human beings have arisen out of this Universe
With the capacity to take all of that
Brutal and terrifying life force
And occasionally turn it into something
That makes you shed a tear
Or burst out laughing
Or just stop and pause for a moment.
This is alchemy in action.

Transforming chaos and darkness
Into joy and understanding
Happens moment by moment
Conversation by conversation.
We are all an expression of the fabric of the Universe
And if you have the capacity
To take something terrible from your experience
And release it in a way that doesn’t hurt others
Or to support someone else to do the same
Know that the Universe will be grateful for your service


by Rosa Lewis
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Ben V.:
As a mental health professional, I second what Erica says here 100%. 

A suicidal person with psychotic antecedants needs someone trained to deal with those very specific issues. 

That a person drops in and claims to be Maitreya (just as someone who would clain to be the coming "Christ"), writes that she has awakenings never attained before in the history of humanity and other extraordinary self-claims that sound like A&P on steroids, and says in her 'How I work section' "if anyone tries to pull any punches - asserting power over or undermining people unnecessarily - be warned that there is every chance I may destroy you, in the most loving way possible" (note that if one understands some basic dynamics of psychotic-level functioning, words like "I will destroy you" will jump in their face reading this and be enough to trigger the annihilation terror common in psychotic functioning, so a terrible thing to write in a 'How I work' Section), and then a group moderator to openly and so readily and quickly want to refer a suicidal person with psychotic features to such a person, is troubling to me as a mental health professional.

Linda, I by no means wish to discredit you as a person nor as a meditator. I have enjoyed, looked up to, and benefited from posts of yours in the past on meditation. But I think refering a person who is that much in danger requires to be very careful to whom you refer. I felt obliged as a mental health professional to intervene and yes, "overstep" boudaries (your question was not to me). In suicidability, I was literallly trained to overstep boundaries sometimes when it is a case of suicidability (e.g. calling an ambulance or relative despite the confidentiality rule, etc).

Rosa, your response to Linda about her suicidal friend is full of compassion, good advice, and even some good professionalism from where I stand (offering  a supportive space, etc). So much that I hesitated to write this response. But still, do you have training for suicidal people? Do you understand intervention with psychotic patients? do you understand the "DOs and Don'tS" with them? Do you agree that spiritual openings don't make one an expert in everything, for instance intervention in severe mental health crisis?

Have you considered after your spiritual opening that it might be wise to let it "cook" for a while (it seems very recent), let it take the test of time? You read MCTB. What do you think of the A&P section? And how A&P can make one believe and feel grandiose things about oneself?
I by no means wish to "trash-talk" you, as you may have been concerned about, but it's a repetitive scenario in history when some people believe they have some highest enlightenment, and then fall hard from that and things going dead wrong.

Linda, sometimes hospitalisation (locked up, as you say) IS the right intervention, although I would certainly add that creating a loving, empathic and supportive environement is way underestimated, even in hospital settings sometimes, in helping severly suicidal and psychotic patients, so this should be incorporated with the hospitalization as much as possible (from the staff, family members, close friends..). Still. hospitalization is sometimes the only way to protect the life of a person. You described your friend as having plans and dates of suicide: this is a 911 emergency!

 I would be relieved to be wrong. But I felt morally obliged not to stay silent on my personal (or professional) red flag alert here.

Metta to you all.



I don't know where he lives, what his address is or anything. We are penpals via email. He hasn't told me the dates, as they aren't definite yet. So how do you suggest I go about calling 911 for somewhere in the US from Sweden about a date somewhere from March to after next psychosis for someone with a fairly common name? I'm working on at least getting to talk to him before he actually does something.

Of course locking somebody up is the right thing when they are suicidal, but that's actually not what they are doing. They only lock him up when he is psychotic, not when he is suicidal which is basically all the time that he isn't locked up. I wasn't reaching out to Rosa to deal with all that, but to help him process the dharma-related psychosis by listening without judging and sharing her own experiences.

As someone who has seen the other side of different kinds of care, I find it both condescending and ignorant to be alarmed about letting people talk to others that have gone through similar things. I reached out to Rosa as a human being with unique experiences. He already has psychiatric care and I'm not looking for a repleacement but an additional contact that fills the gap that has never been addressed. 

I would prefer if people could just respect that I asked Rosa about this and stop assuming things on their own. Also, you all can stop moralizing because he won't talk to anyone anyway. Happy?
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Yeah -- just for the record, I had read Linda's messages as having said that she only knows this person online and the "basics" that were handled had to do with the professional mental healthcare stuff. I didn't go further with that than I did because my general impression was that my clinical opinion was not welcome/needed and/or would not be listened to anyway, and this was more about providing spiritual support for the individual -- not to mention that people should seek clinical advice somewhere other than DHO.

Having said that, the majority of people I know who have trained as meditation teachers in the West (at least in the past 2-3 decades) have all been trained in some way to handle situations where students/yogis are suicidal and/or having mental health crises, and I do see that competence as an essential component of ethical teacher practice. At a bare minimum, that means a teacher assessing when the situation is more risky than then can handle safely and they need to tell the person to get clinical support. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Having said that, the majority of people I know who have trained as meditation teachers in the West (at least in the past 2-3 decades) have all been trained in some way to handle situations where students/yogis are suicidal and/or having mental health crises, and I do see that competence as an essential component of ethical teacher practice. At a bare minimum, that means a teacher assessing when the situation is more risky than then can handle safely and they need to tell the person to get clinical support. 

Hi, Erica. Is there any data on this? I'm not as sure as you are that the majority of western dharma teachers are trained in suicide prevention and communication. I agree that it is an essential component of ethical dharma teacher training but... I suspect those teachers that you happen to know are not a representative sample.

Thanks for listening.
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Having said that, the majority of people I know who have trained as meditation teachers in the West (at least in the past 2-3 decades) have all been trained in some way to handle situations where students/yogis are suicidal and/or having mental health crises, and I do see that competence as an essential component of ethical teacher practice. At a bare minimum, that means a teacher assessing when the situation is more risky than then can handle safely and they need to tell the person to get clinical support. 

Hi, Erica. Is there any data on this? I'm not as sure as you are that the majority of western dharma teachers are trained in suicide prevention and communication. I agree that it is an essential component of ethical dharma teacher training but... I suspect those teachers that you happen to know are not a representative sample.

Thanks for listening.
Yes -- I don't have data, this is purely anecdotal -- that's why I said the majority of people I know. For some context -- I've worked for dharma orgs and volunteered at retreat centers -- all either within or with a relationship to the Insight Meditation tradition -- so I know a *whole lot* of dharma teachers, not even counting the ones I've actually been in a student/teacher relationship with. I am definitely not trying to make a generalization about all dharma teachers in the West -- I was trying to make a statement about teacher competence standards.

Also -- I have not interviewed all the teacher I know -- this is coming from snippets I've heard about retreat teacher training via various Insight Meditation training programs as well as dharma leader-type training by a senior Insight Meditation teacher with a large urban sangha.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I know a *whole lot* of dharma teachers, not even counting the ones I've actually been in a student/teacher relationship with.

I don't doubt this. But we don't know how many dharma teachers aren't affiliated with organized hierarchies and standards. I suspect there are a whole lot of those. People who put up the ol' shingle and go for it. Some of them have no training in anything - they just happen to be long-time practitioners who want to share.

I would heartily welcome dharma teacher standards!
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
I know a *whole lot* of dharma teachers, not even counting the ones I've actually been in a student/teacher relationship with.

I don't doubt this. But we don't know how many dharma teachers aren't affiliated with organized hierarchies and standards. I suspect there are a whole lot of those. People who out up the ol' shingle and go for it. Some of them have no training in anything - they just happen to be long-time practitioners who want to share.

I would heartily welcome dharma teacher standards!
I mean -- this is just a huge topic and one I don't have time for at the moment, but.....

Standardization is a double-edged sword -- while I think it is important that dharma teachers be able to have minimally competent ways of handling crisis situations and avoid making things worse, or of engaging in attuned ways to people that account for things like trauma and systemic oppression -- instituting standards also opens up some tricky and potentially dystopian possibilities as well. Needs a lot of careful and nuanced analysis and discussion.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Standardization is a double-edged sword.

True. Many things are. Still, I believe it's worth thinking about. The risks of not having any rules weighed against the risk of over-regulation and guild-like behavior. We've managed to do this licensing thing with psychologists and therapists, right? So it's possible.


Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Standardization is a double-edged sword.

True. Many things are. Still, I believe it's worth thinking about. The risks of not having any rules weighed against the risk of over-regulation and guild-like behavior. We've managed to do this licensing thing with psychologists and therapists, right? So it's possible.


Lol -- as someone in the midst of clinical training who is aware of how licensing standards get developed, I cannot begin to fathom how to get all the relevant people to come to agreement about licensing dharma teachers. Agreeing that dharma teachers need to know about suicide prevention, maybe with an immense and draining amount of effort -- licensing? Probably not.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I wonder why we regulate therapists, and how did we make it happen? We license all kinds of professionals. Sometimes it's self-regulation by a profession, sometimes it's done by a government entity. But it's done.

emoticon
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
I wonder why we regulate therapists, and how did we make it happen? We license all kinds of professionals. Sometimes it's self-regulation by a profession, sometimes it's done by a government entity. But it's done.

emoticon

Professional licensing is generally oriented around measurable things (or arguably measurable things). So much in spiritual practice falls outside the realm of what can be measured, policed and legislated -- that's one of the reasons it's so important that students take their spiritual process into their own hands to a great extent by really scrutinizing teachers, asking questions, and being attuned to their own intuitive sense of what's helpful/necessary for them in this moment.

Again, though -- this is a huuuge topic and I can't get pulled into it further.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Professional licensing is generally oriented around measurable things (or arguably measurable things). So much in spiritual practice falls outside the realm of what can be measured, policed and legislated -- that's one of the reasons it's so important that students take their spiritual process into their own hands to a great extent by really scrutinizing teachers, asking questions, and being attuned to their own intuitive sense of what's helpful/necessary for them in this moment.

What you say is also true of doctors and their patients, lawyers and their clients, and so on. Just my opinion, of course, but this issue is also very much about behavior and ethics, which are often more important than the "arguably measurable things" you mentioned.

And by the way, you can stop replying any time you'd like.

emoticon
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Professional licensing is generally oriented around measurable things (or arguably measurable things). So much in spiritual practice falls outside the realm of what can be measured, policed and legislated -- that's one of the reasons it's so important that students take their spiritual process into their own hands to a great extent by really scrutinizing teachers, asking questions, and being attuned to their own intuitive sense of what's helpful/necessary for them in this moment.

What you say is also true of doctors and their patients, lawyers and their clients, and so on. Just my opinion, of course, but this issue is also very much about behavior and ethics, which are often more important than the "arguably measurable things" you mentioned.

And by the way, you can stop replying any time you'd like.

emoticon

Ohhhh -- have a little compassion -- I am trying to get back to clinical/schoolwork after two isolated weeks off in a pandemic when my entire social/work/everything life now takes place online -- this is not the only interesting discussion I am trying to contain rn. Social media's addictive effects on the brain are well-documented by now, surely..... emoticon

Also trying to keep following other things on the thread.....
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
We're all in this pandemic thing together: I'm stuck working in isolation at home every day, in my daughter's old bedroom. My productivity suffers horribly because of my inclination to visit sites like this one, and far too often. I'm getting way behind in my duties, and I no longer see my customers in person. My company's revenue, dependent as it was on in-person "stuff," is down by well over 50%. Things can't go on this way much longer or we might have to fold up the tent and stop altogether.

So yes, I get it and I do have compassion for you.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
BTW - I'm sure you know much more about the licensing of therapists than I do. But as someone who has had dharma teachers with little or no training, and who has seen very, very bad advice given by some of them. Someone who has seen the damage bad advice can do to another human being, I'd argue that some kind of required training, maybe leading to licensing, would be worth the conversation. 

It's obviously hard to do. I'm sure it was hard, once upon a time, to get educational standards and licensing in place for physicians and nurses, let alone accountants (CPAs) and other professions. Again, my personal belief is that it's, at minimum, worth a discussion.
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
BTW - I'm sure you know much more about the licensing of therapists than I do. But as someone who has had dharma teachers with little or no training, and who has seen very, very bad advice given by some of them. Someone who has seen the damage bad advice can do to another human being, I'd argue that some kind of required training, maybe leading to licensing, would be worth the conversation. 

It's obviously hard to do. I'm sure it was hard, once upon a time, to get educational standards and licensing in place for physicians and nurses, let alone accountants (CPAs) and other professions. Again, my personal belief is that it's, at minimum, worth a discussion.

Yes -- I have seen some of that damage in other people, and I have also been on the receiving end of bad advice -- don't intend to minimize the validity of that. I just don't necessarily have the perfect answer at my fingertips, and my efforts/energies are focused on other worthy projects at the moment. Try me in two years if you get something going.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Erica, I'm not asking you to solve this issue today  emoticon
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Having said that, the majority of people I know who have trained as meditation teachers in the West (at least in the past 2-3 decades) have all been trained in some way to handle situations where students/yogis are suicidal and/or having mental health crises, and I do see that competence as an essential component of ethical teacher practice. At a bare minimum, that means a teacher assessing when the situation is more risky than then can handle safely and they need to tell the person to get clinical support. 

Hi, Erica. Is there any data on this? I'm not as sure as you are that the majority of western dharma teachers are trained in suicide prevention and communication. I agree that it is an essential component of ethical dharma teacher training but... I suspect those teachers that you happen to know are not a representative sample.

Thanks for listening.
Also -- I didn't say they were trained in suicide prevention and communication per se -- just that situations where a student discusses suicidiality was a topic of training. What I was trying to say (based on what little I've seen at retreat centers), is that sometimes in a retreat setting this means not getting in over one's head, but making sure the person in question knows to get trained professional help (as well as making sure they don't continue with intensive practice and/or leave the retreat if things keep escalating). Retreat centers can't afford to have clinical staff on hand -- at least not the ones I know -- they also bear the burden of a huge potential liability.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 4066 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I went to suicide prevention training when I was working with Compuserve. It was useful, but limited. It was intended only to help me act appropriately when someone on a message board made a suicidal comment. It was pretty much useless otherwise, but yes, it did help me to not get in over my head but to get the appropriate professionals involved. This sounds similar to what you're saying. And hooray for the retreat centers and organizations who are doing this.

... they also bear the burden of a huge potential liability.

Yes, an under-appreciated appreciated fact that is also true of message boards, BTW.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
(I read the article : nice. Ever heard of Plato's world of Ideas though ?? emoticon As for the Male Gaze VS Feminine Feel, right on, but you will find that a lot of people HAVE talked about this throughout the centuries and that it's actually an essential aspect of many spiritual teachings, notably dzogchen, for instance, but also mystical christianity - and all the other religions, basically ... 

So, I really feel like you're touching the earth, but realize a lot of people throughout history have understood and experienced a lot, humans having always been humans, and expressed it in very cool and deep ways. There is some really weird shit out there. Actually, just reading the most famous of philosophers, Plato, feels like gazing into the mind of a hallucinated person... All the talk of the God taking possession of people and all that...

Actually, might I dare to make a couple of suggestions, in a non-patronizing way at all : you say you struggle with being able to communicate deeply still : 1 - might getting acquainted with more cultural references help you with this sense of having understood/experienced things which are impossible to talk about (idiosyncratic) ? And 2 - For some reason I feel like linking you this : thank you for the ref shargrol. A bit technical, sure. But : Feeling alone with your deep understanding makes me think of the penultimate stage on this model. A lot of people who have some deep understandings and non-conventional experiences have struggled with that.

I might be totally wrong, of course.

Said with good intentions.

emoticon)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Personally I would rather go to retreat with someone who is open about their nonconformative experiences than with someone who feels the need to maintain facades, and I have been asking myself a lot how it is possible that so many practicioners do not seem to be prepared to turn much of their views of reality around. If that's really the case, getting into the dharma seems like risky business. The dharma is bound to turn things upside down and inside out. 
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:

With regards to the comments about the aspect of experience that I am the first person to awaken, I am talking about the archetypal realm.

Rosa, it's thoughtful of you to respond and I think it does show a lot of self awareness and patience.  Though I am not sure that people 'trashing you' is always a good sign (And I guess you seriously think of this place as being that closed-minded).

But, I would second Olivier's comment that no one was "trashing" you here, at least I wasn't.  When I say something "raises flags" what that means to me is simply that it raises questions.

Psychosis, deity yoga and empowerment, savior complexes and the like are not uncommon subjects here. I've had experiences with them all myself.

I do believe that society would be better off understanding these things from an archetypal standpoint but I am not convinced this tantric (?) approach of presenting something in a "scary" way is always the best way forward in terms of exchanging self with others, though I could be wrong.

I can understand though, how it could be beneficial to your own acceptance process to publicly present things a certain way.

Sorry if I'm not making much sense.

I think of this story:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Psychonaut/comments/4ip7zy/i_have_a_brother_who_is_in_a_mental_hospital_he/
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
I do believe that society would be better off understanding these things from an archetypal standpoint but I am not convinced this tantric (?) approach of presenting something in a "scary" way is always the best way forward in terms of exchanging self with others, though I could be wrong.


Right. The truth of it is terrifying. Every single thought, every single emotion, every single micro action, every bit of evil, everything you're annoyed about, everything you're sad about, every tragic thing that has ever happened in your experience, every bill you've ever had to pay, every hope, the time you dropped dinner all over the floor, the thing your attention was drawn towards and then the next thing and then the next thing from the moment you were born until the moment you die, the endearing qualities about the person you love, the decision your cat made to walk out of the room, your most embarassing moment, the decisions that your boss made to hire you, the person who got elected in every election, racism, sexism, the way that society has developed and unfolded over thousands of years....

None of it involves any free will from anyone. That is what no-self means. There is no-one making a decision, the Universe is one cosmic being.

When you get down to the bottom of how time actually works, it has all already happened.

Awful, terrible, full of existential dread for this human being that is experiencing it play out in human time. Not something I recommend experiencing. 

But clearly it's important that this point is made here, or it wouldn't be being typed through my fingers.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 739 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Rosa:
I do believe that society would be better off understanding these things from an archetypal standpoint but I am not convinced this tantric (?) approach of presenting something in a "scary" way is always the best way forward in terms of exchanging self with others, though I could be wrong.


Right. The truth of it is terrifying. Every single thought, every single emotion, every single micro action, every bit of evil, everything you're annoyed about, everything you're sad about, every tragic thing that has ever happened in your experience, every bill you've ever had to pay, every hope, the time you dropped dinner all over the floor, the thing your attention was drawn towards and then the next thing and then the next thing from the moment you were born until the moment you die, the endearing qualities about the person you love, the decision your cat made to walk out of the room, your most embarassing moment, the decisions that your boss made to hire you, the person who got elected in every election, racism, sexism, the way that society has developed and unfolded over thousands of years....

None of it involves any free will from anyone. That is what no-self means. There is no-one making a decision, the Universe is one cosmic being.

When you get down to the bottom of how time actually works, it has all already happened.

Awful, terrible, full of existential dread for this human being that is experiencing it play out in human time. Not something I recommend experiencing. 

But clearly it's important that this point is made here, or it wouldn't be being typed through my fingers.
Rosa, why don't you hang out here on this forum with us a bit ? Your contribution would add to the discussion, and cross-fertilization is sure to happen.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
[quote=Olivier
]Rosa, why don't you hang out here on this forum with us a bit ? Your contribution would add to the discussion, and cross-fertilization is sure to happen.This sounds like an excellent idea
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:

But clearly it's important that this point is made here, or it wouldn't be being typed through my fingers.


And what point are you making, exactly?  (Maybe I'm just dense)
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
J W:
Rosa:

But clearly it's important that this point is made here, or it wouldn't be being typed through my fingers.


And what point are you making, exactly?  (Maybe I'm just dense)
That this conversation has already played out exactly as it is going to play out.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Rosa:


If you do find my stuff inflammatory, then this response is showing you an aspect of yourself - either some part of you that you don't want to acknowledge or some part of experience that you care deeply about and are willing to fight for. Again, just worth recognising that how we perceive the outer world is a deep reflection of our inner worlds.

Please feel free to make up your own minds. Having a few people trash you on a forum is a pretty good sign that you have in some aspects made it, so I will take it as a compliment. 

As always, be open in how you approach things, wise in whose voice you trust when making decisions that affect your life and use everything as an opportunity to examine your inner reactions to things.



Just to clarify here -- I didn't say I found your stuff "inflammatory" -- just that you seem to misquote and misrepresent a lot of Buddhist teachers/teachings , and we emailed about some of this (for instance, you claimed that Rob Burbea believes that heart states are mental constructs, which is not something he has actually said -- and you have confirmed that you've never read his book on emptiness where he discusses this). Pretty sure that's not me projecting my own issues, as you seem to be implying in what you say above -- it has more to do with communicative accuracy -- in other words, right speech and ethics. 

I also don't believe that I'm "trashing" you in anything I've said here. Certainly not how intended any of this -- I really didn't intend to cause any harm.
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts


"May the Universe and all its beings experience enough joy to make the shit-show worthwhile." 

Rosa Lewis ( 
A Preamble to All My Writing – Rosa Lewis )



Amen.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:


"May the Universe and all its beings experience enough joy to make the shit-show worthwhile." 

Rosa Lewis ( 
A Preamble to All My Writing – Rosa Lewis )



Amen.

emoticonemoticon
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 767 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Quickly skimmed around Rosa's website (like very very quickly) and from energy alone I would say she is pretty advanced all things considered. It is just not the kind of direction that people from pragmatic dharma typically take though so do not expect full compatibility of views.
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streamsurfer, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 1/19/16 Recent Posts
Well this reminds me of Wittgenstein, concluding he had "solved" all of philosophy with his zen-esque approach.

All of humanity and:
- no one who unterstands the paradox of the (non-)dualistic emptiness concept?
- no shaman who did his/her work?
- no cultural references which express what Rosa means?

Traditional shamans working with their plants and spirits since they are children and not having any clue about the magickal realms? I would really be wondering...

I respect your spiritual work and insights Rosa, but I also see a lot of straw man punching here.
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 767 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
streamsurfer:

- no cultural references which express what Rosa means?
For someone like me not having cultural references for what I say literally means that there is quite high possibility that I am actually ahead of the curve (like in normal distribuion of spiritual level) and the world was just left in the dust emoticon

Based on energies I feel from Rosa and from her claims ("I believe I am the first person to fully awaken" as a crude example) I would say her attitude toward having different opinions should be roughly the same emoticon
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
streamsurfer:

- no cultural references which express what Rosa means?
For someone like me not having cultural references for what I say literally means that there is quite high possibility that I am actually ahead of the curve (like in normal distribuion of spiritual level) and the world was just left in the dust emoticon

Based on energies I feel from Rosa and from her claims ("I believe I am the first person to fully awaken" as a crude example) I would say her attitude toward having different opinions should be roughly the same emoticon
I think streamsurfer was referring to Rosa's strawman claims (her interpretation of buddhist teachings), not the descriptions of her own experiences

(at least that's how I read it)
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 767 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
J W:

I think streamsurfer was referring to Rosa's strawman claims (her interpretation of buddhist teachings), not the descriptions of her own experiences

(at least that's how I read it)
Yeah but if you are practitioner and not a scholar then you do not care for what is the agreement among scholars but what makes sense to you and this is what you will be telling people these things mean.

What is the procedure here for having valid interpretations? If something is said and repeated by hundred/thousandths of years does it makes it good? When people who have no experience but it kinda sounds ok-ish then that makes it valid? I personally do not think so.

As for attitude... I find it as something which is at least somewhat genuine and might possibly lead to interesting discussions. Least interesting discussion to me are dharma scholars discussing books. Then when such people (obviously also present on DhO to put it lightly...) are confronted with someone who ignores all this stuff and use their own interpretations then you are for terrible kind of discussion. I personally prefer to use my own terms, or at least those which no one uses (and of course really good stuff doesn't resonate as much with populus emoticon) and that way people are like "I have no idea what you are talking about" and everything remains nice emoticon
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J W, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 512 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
J W:

I think streamsurfer was referring to Rosa's strawman claims (her interpretation of buddhist teachings), not the descriptions of her own experiences

(at least that's how I read it)
Yeah but if you are practitioner and not a scholar then you do not care for what is the agreement among scholars but what makes sense to you and this is what you will be telling people these things mean.

What is the procedure here for having valid interpretations? If something is said and repeated by hundred/thousandths of years does it makes it good? When people who have no experience but it kinda sounds ok-ish then that makes it valid? I personally do not think so.

As for attitude... I find it as something which is at least somewhat genuine and might possibly lead to interesting discussions. Least interesting discussion to me are dharma scholars discussing books. Then when such people (obviously also present on DhO to put it lightly...) are confronted with someone who ignores all this stuff and use their own interpretations then you are for terrible kind of discussion. I personally prefer to use my own terms, or at least those which no one uses (and of course really good stuff doesn't resonate as much with populus emoticon) and that way people are like "I have no idea what you are talking about" and everything remains nice emoticon
I never said anything about her interpretations not being valid. My beef is strictly with her miscontruing the beliefs of others and repackaging/re-presenting those beliefs into a format which she then defines as invalid.

Nothing wrong with using your own terms and coming up with new flavorful/meaningful ways of talking about things! I'm all for it!  And trust me, i've got plenty of issues with dogmatic/traditional maps of awakening especially those that are overly scholarly (plenty of us do here). So yeah, i'm totally with you emoticon

In my opinion making blanket statements like in this thread, is not the way to combat those problems... (and I'm not calling you out on this, Ni)
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
[quote=
]I never said anything about her interpretations not being valid. My beef is strictly with her miscontruing the beliefs of others and repackaging/re-presenting those beliefs into a format which she then defines as invalid.

Nothing wrong with using your own terms and coming up with new flavorful/meaningful ways of talking about things! I'm all for it!  And trust me, i've got plenty of issues with dogmatic/traditional maps of awakening especially those that are overly scholarly (plenty of us do here). So yeah, i'm totally with you emoticon

In my opinion making blanket statements like in this thread, is not the way to combat those problems... (and I'm not calling you out on this, Ni)

Yes, and my original concern had to do with an exchange in which it seemed I was being told that my own beliefs -- based in practice experience, mind you (not just texts and what teachers have said), were invalid. Not exactly what I'm looking for from someone proffering spritual guidance these days.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
J W:

I think streamsurfer was referring to Rosa's strawman claims (her interpretation of buddhist teachings), not the descriptions of her own experiences

(at least that's how I read it)
Yeah but if you are practitioner and not a scholar then you do not care for what is the agreement among scholars but what makes sense to you and this is what you will be telling people these things mean.

What is the procedure here for having valid interpretations? If something is said and repeated by hundred/thousandths of years does it makes it good? When people who have no experience but it kinda sounds ok-ish then that makes it valid? I personally do not think so.

As for attitude... I find it as something which is at least somewhat genuine and might possibly lead to interesting discussions. Least interesting discussion to me are dharma scholars discussing books. Then when such people (obviously also present on DhO to put it lightly...) are confronted with someone who ignores all this stuff and use their own interpretations then you are for terrible kind of discussion. I personally prefer to use my own terms, or at least those which no one uses (and of course really good stuff doesn't resonate as much with populus emoticon) and that way people are like "I have no idea what you are talking about" and everything remains nice emoticon
Yes -- except there are people who are both scholars *and* deep practitioners, and for some minds, that kind of rigor is helpful for realization.

Some people resonate with using heady, conceptual intellectual frameworks and centuries-old textual debates, while others do not. The teacher Catherine Mcgee might describe this as a matter of different souls having eros for different things. Some are more drawn to the devotional. Still others have magical sudden experiences of gnosis. Some people resonate with all three modalities and there are others for whom none of these really does anything, but there's some other entirely different thing that lights them up and brings them to dharma practice. There are different ways in for different souls/minds/hearts.

I don't see a reason to argue for the primacy of one framework over another. The problems arise when people decide their way must be the only and best way and therefore everyone who does this other way must not be as awake as they are.
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streamsurfer, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 1/19/16 Recent Posts
For starters, one could go with the many of Oliviers empathic hints.

As far as I'm concerned:

(1) Not needing intellectualization for explaining your own spiritual experience is fine. But claiming to have solved the puzzle of metaphysics and explaining it intellectually, you have to expect a feedback which is exactly that - intellectual.

(2) The criticism of buddhist aspects, like ideology, blindsight of real world relative suffering, is not new. (actually nedless to state this on DhO)

(3) To reject dogmatic terms and find new ones for a broader and more open-minded discussion is fine, but the new view is presented as dogma here as well.

(4) The problem with using "own spiritual terms" is that it quickly gets relativistic, if one doesn't actively examine the context of the discussion. Relation between meaning, words and context is key.

(5) Not knowing a debate or arguments already being made doesn't make me the first one having a thought on this and rest of humanity stupid.

And for the awakening part:
I say I have an awakening - cool!
I use my insights and compassion to help other people - very cool!
I claim that I am more enlightened than any other being - ouch!! emoticon we've heard that before...
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
And for the awakening part:
I say I have an awakening - cool!
I use my insights and compassion to help other people - very cool!
I claim that I am more enlightened than any other being - ouch!! emoticon we've heard that before...

Fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds and don't expect people to believe it.... if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him and all that.

'The year is 2025. Taylor Swift has entered full Buddhahood and is spreading compassion and wisdom throughout the world, destroying the concept of time and dismantling the patriarchy by waking people up to to the fact that no truth can exist within intellectualisation....'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM


Basically the reality I live in, feel free to laugh at it - much healthier and more fun than hating.

The reality I live in is also one of eternalism, that everything that is going to happen has already happened, so time will tell....




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streamsurfer, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 1/19/16 Recent Posts
When it comes to societal questions, I appreciate the truth that can be found in precise and meaningful intellectual work.
How else could we be talking about sexism, racism, justice, dignity, ....?

I get where the notion of anti-intellectualism is coming from, but it turns out that just dwelling in the spiritual realms is not the only and sufficient way to confront social issues. (looking at you, abusive hippie communes)

I also get the power of the heart and connection, which makes things real, alive and meaningful in the first place. As said, I don't want to criticise your spiritual experience neither your work. I wanted to point out the larger wisdom of human community, be it in whatever domain. Pretty sure there are some crazy enlightened beings out there. And, also pretty sure, the DhO is a darn good place to discuss any of these topics open minded. What goes around, comes around emoticon

By the way, I already listened to your podcast with Daniel in the last weeks and did enjoy it very much. Can't get enough of magick wisdom.
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

Yes, I hear what you're saying. Precise and meaningful intellectual work is definitely important. 

I would personally say that it doesn't show us the truth because anything that is a mental construct is either just an idea or a consensus reality, rather than a truth - but this doesn't really matter in the context of the point you are making. It's a good point.

I have actually written about exactly these topics and how we also need to be engaging with sexism, racism etc. from the heart if we want any hope of healing. In case you are interested:

https://rosalewis.co.uk/awakening/the-second-arrow-of-suffering/
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Rosa:
And for the awakening part:
I say I have an awakening - cool!
I use my insights and compassion to help other people - very cool!
I claim that I am more enlightened than any other being - ouch!! emoticon we've heard that before...

Fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds and don't expect people to believe it.... if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him and all that.

'The year is 2025. Taylor Swift has entered full Buddhahood and is spreading compassion and wisdom throughout the world, destroying the concept of time and dismantling the patriarchy by waking people up to to the fact that no truth can exist within intellectualisation....'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM


Basically the reality I live in, feel free to laugh at it - much healthier and more fun than hating.

The reality I live in is also one of eternalism, that everything that is going to happen has already happened, so time will tell....




Yes, but Rosa -- my perspective is that this all started precisely because you were on Twitter hating on emptiness -- I don't really see the compassion here.
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
In any case, (going into communications strategy mode here) I'm still going to recommend that you consider checking out how other non-Buddhist (or not-all-Buddhist) teachers do their thing without devoting the a substantial chunk of their online posting to taking down Buddhism. If you are using Buddhist practices and concepts and tearing down Buddhism all the time, you're still defining yourself in terms of Buddhism, which is problematic, if you're trying to do something completely different. 

For instance, I know a great shamanic teacher who also describes experiences that may be more along the lines of what you have experienced. He has studied and practiced in many contexts -- including some Buddhism, but he doesn't make that the center of what he does: https://thepowerpath.com/ -- his name is José Stevens, and I suspect you would find more resonance with some of his stuff -- might have to get one of his books, though to get the full picture.

Erica
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Here's another teacher who reports experiences similar to some of yours: http://serabeak.com/
Erica Pittman, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Having said all of this, it sounds to me from material on your site that you've had some bad encounters with Buddhist teachers and I'm very sorry, if that's the case. It makes me question whether that's related to what's going on here for you (for instance, when you say on Twitter that the majority of your blog posts say "fuck buddhism"). Nonetheless, I hope someday you're able to reconnect with some of these teachings (doesn't have to be emptiness -- emptiness is not necessarily everyone's jam) and this tradition in a way that's more supportive for you.
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 767 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Rosa:
Fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds and don't expect people to believe it.... if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him and all that.
Worry not, this community lack arguments to kill fighting spirit of Buddhas and at most can disappoint them emoticon (edit: in humanity emoticon)

How do you define Buddha path?
In a sense how it differs from eg. Arhat path, what are the requirements for becoming a Buddha.

'The year is 2025. Taylor Swift has entered full Buddhahood and is spreading compassion and wisdom throughout the world, destroying the concept of time and dismantling the patriarchy by waking people up to to the fact that no truth can exist within intellectualisation....'
Taylor? Isn't she like already enlightened anyway? emoticon

Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
Rosa:
Fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds and don't expect people to believe it.... if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him and all that.
Worry not, this community lack arguments to kill fighting spirit of Buddhas and at most can disappoint them emoticon (edit: in humanity emoticon)

How do you define Buddha path?
In a sense how it differs from eg. Arhat path, what are the requirements for becoming a Buddha.

'The year is 2025. Taylor Swift has entered full Buddhahood and is spreading compassion and wisdom throughout the world, destroying the concept of time and dismantling the patriarchy by waking people up to to the fact that no truth can exist within intellectualisation....'
Taylor? Isn't she like already enlightened anyway? emoticon

Hahaha!

Yes so Buddha path. A lot of this is just me describing awful experiences, because that is what is has been.

It depends which lens you are looking at experience through. Here is the quick run-down of some of the aspects.

Just as a pre-note: This has been an immensely painful and traumatic process for this human body to go through and there is a lot of vulnerability in sharing this. I don't mind if people don't believe me, and am also happy for people to laugh at it (as expressed above) but I would ask for some kindness around not tearing apart these sharings of the personal experience that I have been through (not suggesting anyone would, just pre-requesting).


Looking through the lens of awareness, i.e. The Hero's Journey

This was basically the most immensely painful experience, more than I possibly ever could have imagined. It was essentially having my entire psyche and energy body torn apart and ripped out of me slowly, layer by painful layer. 

To give some perspective - a while before this process started I had a pretty terrible 24 hours - my ex-husband accidently dropped a concrete roof tile on my head from a roof and gave me a concussion, later that day my dad died of alcoholism and I had to go and comfort and care for a close family member about it who was hospitalised with a serious condition.

I'm a strong person and I also don't check out emotionally, I would open to my emotional responses, including the depths of grief (my mum died when I was younger, so I was already well practiced in parental grief).

This 24 hours, was less than 1/1000 as awful as 24 hours spent in my worst states of consciousness.

And I was in them, day in day out for months.  There is no way to communicate this. The level of pain and fundamental human animal distress is incomprehensible and unimaginable from the state of comfortable consciousness that I am now in.

Now, the outcome of this, is that's it has almost completely removed my mind, essentially. By destroying all my fixed perceptions. It feels like I only connect to the world with intuition. I don't expect people to believe this, it's kind of a hard thing to explain, I expect this to show up on an EEG/ fMRI/ brain scan at some point.

I have no sense of self, by this I mean specifically I don't have any free will. I do have a body that has it's own needs and separate experience.

The next phase of the hero's journey is that I have started to bring my skills and experience back into the shared reality and am helping others with it. 

Once you've got rid of the self in this way, the whole concept of the 'hero's' journey becomes a bit farcical. I don't feel proud of myself or have any sense of agency.

What I do see is that there is an uprising of amazing people starting to create a wave of a different way of being (AOC, Brene Brown are a couple that come to mind) and I believe my story will probably thread in somewhere here to this change that is happening across humanity. In terms of spirituality Jeff Brown's grounded spirituality feels very much of the same wave and Daniel's EPRC project.

It's about grounding in basic human goodness - care, love, connection, wellbeing etc. rather than any kind of transcendence or super clever intellectual ideas. 

Looking through the lens of love i.e. how we receive experience

This is where embodying paradox sits. And it is because I have been able to integrate all the darkness of humanity and the Universe that I am able to embody it so fully.

This feels like a deep oneness and a trust in the inherent goodness of the Universe and human beings. 

It also feels like a multi-dimensional rainbow fractal that everything is made out of.

It also feels like mychorrizal funghi that connects us all - the beating heart of the Universe that decides in each moment what is important and sends us a little message to our hearts.

It also feels like being able to receive the heart-felt meaning of what someone is saying and expressing, rather than the surface level information, and to be able to be with people's deepest pain and most dark aspects, without judgement.

Looking through the lens of story, i.e. everything is just a process that is continually unfolding

This is the lens that I experience most of life through. It's basically where everything is a metaphor or an allegory. I am so used to this, that I forget how far away this is from normal experience and it's hard to remember what is different about my experience.

This is where the pyschosis went so far, that everything just became pyschosis. When this started, I experienced hundreds of dumb-founding synchronicities a day. Now I experience several a day to the point where I don't even notice them anymore, everything is just a synchronicity. 

All of humanity and all of life, is like a flock of starlings moving in sync. 

There are stories that are being told across humanity (in my world Trump as president is a cararicature for the peak of the capitalist patriarchy, the fact that his name is Trump is not an uncommon joke/ synchornicity/ metaphor. There are plenty of jokes and memes and things like that baked in to the meaning of the Universe). 

There are stories being told through each and every person's life and the choices they think they're making. We are all one cosmic story. One cosmic being.

It's basically like life is a big pixar movie that we are all characters in that has an absurd amount of detail. It's like animinism, but if animism was just everything, not something special.

An example of this is my pen will run out at the exact moment that I need to focus on some deeper meaning of the word that I've just written - this doesn't sound that big of a deal until you realise that the exact amount of ink in that pen, plus the exact amount of time that was needed for it to be writing for it to run out had to occur for those events to happen.

Now, people will say, 'but you are just crazy, that is you adding the meaning to the word'. And that is an absolutely fine and very sane conclusion to come to. I do not think badly of anyone coming to that conclusion.

Things like this have happened in my experience many many times a day, involving far more complex scenarios than this, revealing incredibly deep insights, for over 18 months. Yes, it is crazy. My entire reality has become craziness.... and this makes more sense to me than my old reality.

Happy to agree to disagree on this one.

What this means for Buddhahood is that dharma has become my entire life.

I left everything for it - I left my husband, sold my house, got rid of everything except my car and the carful of possessions that I need to live.

Every single second of every single day is dharma. Everything is communicating a meaning or processing some energy or telling some story that needs to be told. There is nothing that isn't that. It is all I have left.

One definition of dharma is 'the way things are' and this rings true for me. It's like dharma is just the way things are. Always and everything. 

There is a way that how I behave could be framed as super altruistic - that 'I just want to give back' - but honestly, there is a selfish element to it because it is the only thing that feels meaningful to me now. Everything else, apart from maintaining a certain degree of human wellness, feels very meaningless (and empty, ha!) to me.

Without meaning and connection, human bodies wither and die - I am very aware of that process and what that begins to feel like from the process I have been through. So I am driven by finding meaning and connection through giving back through the dharma.

Looking through the lens of physical reality i.e. 'here we are together in this moment'

There is a bunch of stuff that is weird about my subjective experience of being in my body - I really look forward to the day when this can be explored through science.

This has come from being totally rewired from the painful description I described above. It was like having everything taken out and slowly put back in again. You sort of have to let go of a lot of scientific materialism to embrace this - it's a different paradigm. Please feel free to write this off as crazy if it doen't ring true to you.

Some things that I talk about, like a feeling of light shooting out the top of my head have shown up on an EEG machine.

A few of the things that are present:

I am basically only present in this moment - I lack the capacity to plan or project into the future. This makes being in situations where other people are outside this moment, quite a painful experience. It also makes it incredibly hard to be in the present moment when it is a painful place to be - this is one of the reasons that the process I went through was so difficult, because there was zero escape except to be there.

I feel a lot like I'm on a moderate to low dose of magic mushrooms most the time. It's kind like everything's softer, I'm not really separate from anything, I feel stuff with my heart. I'm very centreless, I don't feel positioned behind my eyes in anyway.

I still have lots of desire for things (e.g. connection, love, care) but I don't have any conflicting thoughts or desires.

In my personal experience it feels as though I am primarily an energy body - that floats around in the world feeling the vibes of things. I feel things, rather than think things. 

When I interact with people I generally feel very connected to them.



This is some of what comes up... hopefully it makes sense. Feel free to ignore what doesn't ring true to you.
Stephen, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 18 Join Date: 1/5/17 Recent Posts
I've been following the discussion on emptiness here and it has forced me to think a bit more about how I would frame the conversation around emptiness. I can't help but feel that a look at David Chapman's article on emptiness might shed some light on this discussion as this has been one of the most helpful resources for me. In this article he points out that much of what is written about emptiness is not useful for the lay practitioner (and perhaps not comprehensible). He points to the Tibetan tradition he's familiar with. In their writings on emptiness they emphasize the form aspect much more than other traditions such as the Theravadan. It seems like Rosa is struggling with the emptiness side of things, ie, things lacking inherent existence. Anyway this seemed particularly relevant to Rosa's claim of eternalism and also her position that things like iPhones are "real". 
Rosa, if you're familiar with David Chapman's writing on emptiness, I'd be curious what your thoughts are. You both seem to share the view of emphasizing non-duality when talking about emptiness. But he rejects eternalism, as Nagarjuna does. His view along with the Dzogchen and Mahamudra stuff I've read have been most helpful for me in making sense of emptiness in the Buddhist context.
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Stephen:
I've been following the discussion on emptiness here and it has forced me to think a bit more about how I would frame the conversation around emptiness. I can't help but feel that a look at David Chapman's article on emptiness might shed some light on this discussion as this has been one of the most helpful resources for me. In this article he points out that much of what is written about emptiness is not useful for the lay practitioner (and perhaps not comprehensible). He points to the Tibetan tradition he's familiar with. In their writings on emptiness they emphasize the form aspect much more than other traditions such as the Theravadan. It seems like Rosa is struggling with the emptiness side of things, ie, things lacking inherent existence. Anyway this seemed particularly relevant to Rosa's claim of eternalism and also her position that things like iPhones are "real". 
Rosa, if you're familiar with David Chapman's writing on emptiness, I'd be curious what your thoughts are. You both seem to share the view of emphasizing non-duality when talking about emptiness. But he rejects eternalism, as Nagarjuna does. His view along with the Dzogchen and Mahamudra stuff I've read have been most helpful for me in making sense of emptiness in the Buddhist context.

This is both helpful and quite entertaining, thank you! I recognize the validity of Rosa's critique of the term emptiness, and also the frustration what seems like over-intellectualization (although I am not anti-intellectual). It's difficult for me right now to forumulate a great short-form articulation of emptiness largely because my studying and writing energies are mostly tied up elsewhere, but this seems like a great move in that direction!
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Stephen:
I've been following the discussion on emptiness here and it has forced me to think a bit more about how I would frame the conversation around emptiness. I can't help but feel that a look at David Chapman's article on emptiness might shed some light on this discussion as this has been one of the most helpful resources for me. In this article he points out that much of what is written about emptiness is not useful for the lay practitioner (and perhaps not comprehensible). He points to the Tibetan tradition he's familiar with. In their writings on emptiness they emphasize the form aspect much more than other traditions such as the Theravadan. It seems like Rosa is struggling with the emptiness side of things, ie, things lacking inherent existence. Anyway this seemed particularly relevant to Rosa's claim of eternalism and also her position that things like iPhones are "real". 
Rosa, if you're familiar with David Chapman's writing on emptiness, I'd be curious what your thoughts are. You both seem to share the view of emphasizing non-duality when talking about emptiness. But he rejects eternalism, as Nagarjuna does. His view along with the Dzogchen and Mahamudra stuff I've read have been most helpful for me in making sense of emptiness in the Buddhist context.

This is definitely a good article - much better insights, but it still doesn't hit the nail on the head for me.

So to share some of my perspectives on emptiness here is what someone has said about working with me:

You can feel that she’s an open heart, born from great insight into suffering. Because of this, I feel like nothing is out of bounds for shared investigation – everything is welcome. Together, we are exploring the depths of suffering, the heights of joy and playfulness, and the furthest reaches of the imagination.

[...]

Briefly stated, imaginal practice can be described as a kind of fully embodied engagement with story, with imagination, with archetype – from a stance of ‘creation-discovery’ – participation in creative processes where the imaginal is held more lightly than either ‘true or untrue’. The imaginal can be said to become ‘emotionally true’, like the truth of an intense dream perhaps. This imaginal practice has been extremely interesting to play around with. But Rosa really lives in the realm of the archetypical and imaginal

Now, here is a story that another person I work with shared with me about a dream they had and how they had managed to experience it differently because of our work:

A guy was chasing me with two tame owls, and my reaction now is always to stand my ground against stuff like that, and really just look at it. I started to float myself, then I entered the mind of a demon, and through that, the mind of god. And then reality folded in on itself. The tendency to understand the evil stuff that is chasing me has been there a lot in my dreams, but this was the first time I actually entered the mind of an evil being.

And it was just empty. I think it has to do with my description of these beings as kind of robots or AI. It was just natural dynamics. Flows of energy. 

It was really interesting to go THROUGH the nature or mind of evil. Into the mind of reality or whatever. 

I just had that mind of demon mind of god collapsing reality, then woke up and was like 'NEAT, OK back to listening to music'.

This arose because we'd spent a lot of time working with the demons - we had worked through the idea that the demons were fundamentally bad in some way, even if they were an embodiment of evil, and got to know them as things to be curious about. Evil is something we all experience and we opened to the emptiness of the concept. Through shedding these fixed perceptions, we had turned the entirety of experience into a big kid's sandbox where everything could be played with and seen in different ways.

This is one of the deepest forms of emptiness. Nothing has a fixed meaning and nothing arises without the other things, i.e. demons are only there becuase you need them as the yin to your yang and to learn from them.

I love this story because it also embodies emptiness in other ways - the fact that the demons perceptions were also empty in the dream and the attitude of emptiness towards the experience itself - it meant what it meant and then the person moved on. It didn't need to mean anything more than that.

This is what I mean when I say emptiness applies to subjective experience, not objective reality. In objective reality me and the people I coach are obviously always physically there in our bodies and that never disappears.

To extrapolate this out one last time - I spent a very distressing number of weeks stuck in a place of various forms of emptiness experience (subjective) and this was my description of it:

When my mind was totally aligned with awareness, I spent weeks feeling like everything was a mirage. Whenever I closed my eyes for a second I would disappear into formless realms. But no matter how empty everything arose as, my physical reality and body never became empty. You still need to breathe.

I cannot tell you how distressing it is to not have a place for your experience to land in this way. It's not pleasant and ultimately emptiness is not a thing that can be applied to objective reality, or form.

The test for this is to hold your breath for 1 minute and see if the need to breathe can be described as empty in any meaningful way.

Now sure, to be sure we don't get stuck in this loop again..... Yes, you can say form is non-dual, or maybe even form is empty of inherent existence, depending on what that means to you, but as soon as you add the other statements it becomes nonsense yoda speak. i.e. 'Empty of inherent existence is form.'
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Ben V., modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 366 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
I skimmed through some of her stuff, but not everything. Btw, this is not necessarily a response just to Erica but more of a reflection, first on the notion of integrating ALL aspects of experience, then on the Maitreya claim.

Before that though, there are a few things I like from what she says. I like what she (Rosa) says about relating to the body and trauma with compassion and avoid spiritually bypass it with notions of ''emptiness''. But this is an insight Buddhist therapists have been having for decades. So nothing new here.

I also appreciate the work of integrating/bringing to awareness  aspects of experiences which lurk in the shadow, a very somewhat Jungian thing he called Individuation (more on that in a second), but that has nothing to do with awakening in the Buddhist sense. 

I say 'somewhat'Jungian because Jung did not  encourage the integration of ALL aspects of experience, as this could induce psychosis. As a psychoanalytic psychotherapist myself, I view the integration of unconscious material as something that has to be done only when needed, at targeted times throughout the life cycle or specific crisis. I think Jung saw it this way too. Also, strictly from a Jungian perspective, one can (and should) only integrate unconscious aspects of experience that are attempting to emerge in the 'now'. Those that are not actively emerging in the moment need to be left alone. They will come up at their own needed time. The therapist is not there to help any patient integrate ALL aspects of experience, only to facilitate those that are emerging in a given situation in the now.

Jung has in fact said that most of the time in life, the unconscious should be left alone.

Jung also taught that Individuation is a never ending process. There is no one final point where one is fully individuated (integrated), because by its very nature the psyche always have unconscious material. Integrating unconscious aspects of experience has no end. Anyone who claims to have integrated ALL aspects is in fact claiming absolute omniscience (to know everything), to have no unconscious material left (read Jung's article  'Approaching the Unconsious' for more on that), and this is just not possible. For example, at this very moment there are millions of things and functions that both my mind and body are doing, and it is impossible to be conscious of all of them. Most will remain unconscious forever.

Also, we have to be careful when doing Religious (mis)Appropriation of terms that mean one thing in it's religious/textual context and completely change its meaning. Let's take the term 'Maitreya', a term that many cult leaders have misappropriated to refer to themselves.

In Buddhist scritptures Maitreya is the future Buddha. A Buddha is said to arise in the world only when the Dhamma, the teachings of Awakening, have completely disappeared from the world (we are not in this historical context now!). As for Maitreya, it is said he is awaiting that precise time in the Tusita heaven. The suttas also say ''he'' (scriptures say a Buddha is always a man) will come in the world when human life span is 80 0000 years, and the world will be led by a universal virtuous monarch, and the only diseases will be hunger and fatigue.

Obviously, much to challenge here from our modern perspective (from the point of view of science, feminism, etc). But then why use a term that refers to the above paragraph? If one doesn't buy into the above then why use the very term that means just that? If what one has attained does not match the term, then why not use another term?
Rosa, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 4/15/19 Recent Posts
Ben V.:
I skimmed through some of her stuff, but not everything. Btw, this is not necessarily a response just to Erica but more of a reflection, first on the notion of integrating ALL aspects of experience, then on the Maitreya claim.

Before that though, there are a few things I like from what she says. I like what she (Rosa) says about relating to the body and trauma with compassion and avoid spiritually bypass it with notions of ''emptiness''. But this is an insight Buddhist therapists have been having for decades. So nothing new here.

I also appreciate the work of integrating/bringing to awareness  aspects of experiences which lurk in the shadow, a very somewhat Jungian thing he called Individuation (more on that in a second), but that has nothing to do with awakening in the Buddhist sense. 

I say 'somewhat'Jungian because Jung did not  encourage the integration of ALL aspects of experience, as this could induce psychosis. As a psychoanalytic psychotherapist myself, I view the integration of unconscious material as something that has to be done only when needed, at targeted times throughout the life cycle or specific crisis. I think Jung saw it this way too. Also, strictly from a Jungian perspective, one can (and should) only integrate unconscious aspects of experience that are attempting to emerge in the 'now'. Those that are not actively emerging in the moment need to be left alone. They will come up at their own needed time. The therapist is not there to help any patient integrate ALL aspects of experience, only to facilitate those that are emerging in a given situation in the now.

Jung has in fact said that most of the time in life, the unconscious should be left alone.

Jung also taught that Individuation is a never ending process. There is no one final point where one is fully individuated (integrated), because by its very nature the psyche always have unconscious material. Integrating unconscious aspects of experience has no end. Anyone who claims to have integrated ALL aspects is in fact claiming absolute omniscience (to know everything), to have no unconscious material left (read Jung's article  'Approaching the Unconsious' for more on that), and this is just not possible. For example, at this very moment there are millions of things and functions that both my mind and body are doing, and it is impossible to be conscious of all of them. Most will remain unconscious forever.

Also, we have to be careful when doing Religious (mis)Appropriation of terms that mean one thing in it's religious/textual context and completely change its meaning. Let's take the term 'Maitreya', a term that many cult leaders have misappropriated to refer to themselves.

In Buddhist scritptures Maitreya is the future Buddha. A Buddha is said to arise in the world only when the Dhamma, the teachings of Awakening, have completely disappeared from the world (we are not in this historical context now!). As for Maitreya, it is said he is awaiting that precise time in the Tusita heaven. The suttas also say ''he'' (scriptures say a Buddha is always a man) will come in the world when human life span is 80 0000 years, and the world will be led by a universal virtuous monarch, and the only diseases will be hunger and fatigue.

Obviously, much to challenge here from our modern perspective (from the point of view of science, feminism, etc). But then why use a term that refers to the above paragraph? If one doesn't buy into the above then why use the very term that means just that? If what one has attained does not match the term, then why not use another term?


Talking of emptiness...

As described above, words and stories are where emptiness is actually most true. No words have a fixed meaning, certainly not ones from thousands of years ago. 

Here are some excerpts from my writing:
“The coming of Maitreya will be characterized by a number of physical events. The oceans are predicted to decrease in size, allowing Maitreya to traverse them freely. Maitreya will then reintroduce true dharma to the world.”

I hadn’t read about Maitreya before all this unfolded for me. I was flying freestyle just following my nose and doing whatever I thought needed to be done in each moment.

It just so happens that at one point in my psychosis, I thought I was going to literally have to drain the ocean. Kinda impractical.

Then as I started to get more of a clear understanding of karma, or the archetypal realm, or the shared soul, or the Universal story (they are all expressing slightly different perspectives and aspects of the same part of our experience), I realised that draining the ocean was a metaphor for something I had been spending a lot of my time and energy doing during the process of waking up.

The ocean is symbolic for the heart and the subconscious. Water is symbolic of emotions and the ocean is where there is one big body of water that is completely interconnected. We are not separate from each other here, as in the heart, which is where we access our subconscious material.

I couldn’t just get an intellectual understanding of it either. Everything I found, I had to let it impact me physically, emotionally, in my relationships and by really believing that stuff was true. Hence the psychosis.


Some of the things this involved just off the top of my head:
  • Processing hundreds of hours of rape visualisations that were representative of how the feminine energy had been oppressed
  • Communicating with spiritis in my head for months 
  • Believing that other people were controlling my body from the outside for weeks - one example they were using my hands to wash me in the shower - this was a vehicle for processing the trauma we have from feeling weird about being washed as babies
  • Going into the part of us where we fancy our parents
  • Feeling like my body had turned into a wolf and howling and clawing at things
  • Going deeper and deeper into pyschosis until everything just is what would be described as pyschosis

I had no choice in this - if i did I wouldn't have done it.

Edit: the closest thing I can use to describe this is it was like having all of karma downloaded and processed through my body. Buddhism's 'karma' and Jung's 'soul' are talking about the same aspect of experience

a very somewhat Jungian thing he called Individuation (more on that in a second), but that has nothing to do with awakening in the Buddhist sense. 

I say 'somewhat'Jungian because Jung did not  encourage the integration of ALL aspects of experience,

Quite. This is really what I'm saying. It's awakening all aspects of experience, which has never been talked about before. See above, if you have seen anyone else who has gone through anything similar would be very happy to hear from. 

A Buddha is said to arise in the world only when the Dhamma, the teachings of Awakening, have completely disappeared from the world (we are not in this historical context now!).
Depends what you count as dharma and awakening. This opinion is going to be controversial.... but this highlights the point above.

A lot (not all) of what I would call awakening has been lost. We no longer have a sense of our interconnectedness as beings (what I would describe as dharma) - for most people meditation and awakening is something that individuals do with their minds.

From my world view that is absurd. Like totally absurd. Calling sitting on a cushion on your own trying to do something with your mind dharma or awakening is like calling driving your car dharma or awakening. One activity is not more profound than the other.

Awakening comes from opening our hearts (literally and metaphorically) dharma is a deep sense of interconnectedness with all beings. This is what I'm here to teach.

But then why use a term that refers to the above paragraph? If one doesn't buy into the above then why use the very term that means just that?

Because the plot twist in all this is that this wave of dharma is going to smash the patriarchy and sometimes you need a bit of shock value to be able to do that.
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts

Because the plot twist in all this is that this wave of dharma is going to smash the patriarchy and sometimes you need a bit of shock value to be able to do that.

Just want to briefly respond to this before I "peace out" from this thread for a while because of other commitments -- I have substantial experience with matters of patriarchy and how to smash it, which includes questions of how to handle these things in dharma contexts.

Patriarchy is characterized by rigid and oppressive hierarchy that makes totalizing claims about who is somehow more worthy than whom and therefore has the right to dominate the other. 

Smashing the patriarchy does not mean abandoning centuries of spiritual practices and teachings just because they are mostly masculine and replacing them with more feminine ones -- that would just be flipping the same problematic power structure over. And Rosa -- if you claim yourself as Maitreya and claim that emptiness is not "truth" (or whatever) because you have seen the way and you are the only one who has seen the way and old ideas of dharma are now outdated and somehow wrong (big paraphrase here), this is pretty much what it looks like you are doing -- just repeating the same power dynamic we've had for centuries with new people in the same patriarchal roles.

I don't think this is what you want to be doing from everything you've been saying. I agree with comments above that it seems like you need to "cook" your insights some more. 

Also just want to say -- someone brought up appropriation and it really hit the nail on the head of why I am so bothered by the fact that Rosa is "wrong on the internet" about emptiness: it's precisely because I see this as partly a matter of cultural appropriation.

Dharma as a concept (no matter how you define it), is still something coming out of the rich cultural history of POC, and every white European dharma teacher I know who is worth their salt has respect for that tradition and origin, whether they innovate upon it or not. They have spent years, often decades, practicing with these teachings and have a clear integrity in relationship to them -- this is partly why the texts and translations are important.

Plenty of teachers innovate and translate and expand. Off the top of my head, Rob Burbea and Catherine McGee's soulmaking dharma and Gregory Kramer's relational dharma are two examples -- but in both cases, these are people who have practiced much more thoroughly and respectfully in the traditions they are changing and building upon. In both cases, they have students from all over the world -- including Asia, where the dharma originated. 

On your site, you differentiate yourself, at times, from "religious" buddhists, but here in the US that phrase is often used to refer to POC buddhist sanghas as distinct from white, middle-class Western convert sanghas. This is why care and study and nuance and translation-awareness are important.

So -- some of my critique here has to do with not wanting you to be subject to the same critiques I see going on around "white girl yoga" -- as a white girl in the dharma myself, I really think we need to hold ourselves to standards in which we avoid colonizing and appropriating moves, like inventing our own "dharma" or versions of these practices without first going very deeply into them as they already are -- and becoming very very sure that we've made a thorough effort to at least try to conceptually understand all sides of the philosophical and metaphysical debate we're taking sides on. (And for me re: emptiness, that means putting substantial time in doing emptiness practices and reading about the history of emptiness as a concept if you're going to be a teacher making claims about what emptiness is/is not about).

Also -- on your site I do see that you draw heavily on Rob and Catherine's imaginal/soulmaking stuff, even using Rob's language -- and -- frankly -- I see lots of ways you're changing that into your own version of things that don't seem accurate and well-grounded either. I've gone pretty deeply into that path of practice too, and I suspect some of the difficulty you're having (particularly around this Maitreya thing), may have to do with not having a good foundation for holding some of your mystical experiences -- a foundation that Rob actually sets in many of his later soulmaking talks (I realize there is a lot of material and it is all dharma talks up on dharmaseed and hard to sort through, but I still recommend digging deeper than it seems you have).

By the way, right after I posted this, Sebene Selassie posted a great instagram post about the fact that the phrase "woo woo is a jokey term masking a colonized mindset" -- and she references this great critic (Boaventura de Sousa Santos) who talks about epistemicide, which is the historical erasure of the ways of knowing of oppressed people -- this includes women and indigenous peoples, and also encompasses mystical experience. Sebene is a great teacher to follow if you're into smashing the patriarchy in relation to dharma.

Also -- I am not arguing against *all* hierarchy here when I talk about patriarchy -- some hierarchies are helpful and important and developmentally-based -- like parent/child. This is worth unpacking further -- Vince Horn has recently been playing around with the concept of "natural hierarchy" based on Ken Wilbur's work, if anyone is interested.
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 2027 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I’m not replying to anyone in particular here, I’m just reflecting on my own experience in relation to some of the topics under discussion.

I’ve processed a certain amount of “small t” trauma in meditation and had some near psychotic experiences (depersonalization, hearing voices, seeing visions, feeling like I had a unique understanding of the world). Yes these experiences were real and amazing and powerful and energizing, and in one sense all experiences are equally valid, but I’ve always come down from them and I’ve come to have a grudging respect for consensus reality(s). Yes I’m a middle-aged white guy and patriarchy sucks, but I would be equally happy to live in a matriarchy (actually I kind of do as a househusband lol). But even then there would still have to be some version of matriarchal consensus reality which makes the world go round (hierarchies, power structures/relations etc.). Yes consensus reality (however we define it) is also fabricated and the consensus can be captivated by a charismatic but deluded individual, so one needs to use common sense and preserve a degree of individuality – there’s no safety purely in numbers. I don’t know, it’s just that when I see individuals claiming unique insights, making radical lifestyle changes and going “all in” on the dharma, aggressively marketing a spiritual brand and soliciting followers, well it makes me nervous (whether they are young women or old guys). Maybe I'm just too cynical, but it's hard not to have at least some reservations when one sees the unfortunate ways so many "charismatic" movements play out over time.
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
George S:
I’m not replying to anyone in particular here, I’m just reflecting on my own experience in relation to some of the topics under discussion.

I’ve processed a certain amount of “small t” trauma in meditation and had some near psychotic experiences (depersonalization, hearing voices, seeing visions, feeling like I had a unique understanding of the world). Yes these experiences were real and amazing and powerful and energizing, and in one sense all experiences are equally valid, but I’ve always come down from them and I’ve come to have a grudging respect for consensus reality(s). Yes I’m a middle-aged white guy and patriarchy sucks, but I would be equally happy to live in a matriarchy (actually I kind of do as a househusband lol). But even then there would still have to be some version of matriarchal consensus reality which makes the world go round (hierarchies, power structures/relations etc.). Yes consensus reality (however we define it) is also fabricated and the consensus can be captivated by a charismatic but deluded individual, so one needs to use common sense and preserve a degree of individuality – there’s no safety purely in numbers. I don’t know, it’s just that when I see individuals claiming unique insights, making radical lifestyle changes and going “all in” on the dharma, aggressively marketing a spiritual brand and soliciting followers, well it makes me nervous (whether they are young women or old guys). Maybe I'm just too cynical, but it's hard not to have at least some reservations when one sees the unfortunate ways so many "charismatic" movements play out over time.

Yeah -- from some feminist/other standpoints, the charismatic leader model in spirituality could be seen as a manifestation of the abusive nature of the patriarchal model. Indeed, some of the shamanic teachers I know point out that deep communion with the divine/spirit is a basic human right that we've forgotten we can all exercise for ourselves in many ways. This shifts the role of teacher to something still important, but different from the authoritiative way it is often constructed. Also -- we have a messed up relationship to authority here in the West which makes all this worse. 

Also going to say -- I do see mystical experiences as different from psychosis (having some experience with both as a clinician and practitioner). Not always easy to tell the difference -- granted.
George S, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 2027 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Erica:

Yeah -- from some feminist/other standpoints, the charismatic leader model in spirituality could be seen as a manifestation of the abusive nature of the patriarchal model. Indeed, some of the shamanic teachers I know point out that deep communion with the divine/spirit is a basic human right that we've forgotten we can all exercise for ourselves in many ways. This shifts the role of teacher to something still important, but different from the authoritiative way it is often constructed. Also -- we have a messed up relationship to authority here in the West which makes all this worse. 

I agree with everything you say except  "divine/spirt" makes me nervous, partly because it's a patriarchal concept I suspect (devolving power to another being). I'm more comfortable saying saying it's a basic human right for everyone to be able to fully access and commune with their human nature.
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
George S:
Erica:

Yeah -- from some feminist/other standpoints, the charismatic leader model in spirituality could be seen as a manifestation of the abusive nature of the patriarchal model. Indeed, some of the shamanic teachers I know point out that deep communion with the divine/spirit is a basic human right that we've forgotten we can all exercise for ourselves in many ways. This shifts the role of teacher to something still important, but different from the authoritiative way it is often constructed. Also -- we have a messed up relationship to authority here in the West which makes all this worse. 

I agree with everything you say except  "divine/spirt" makes me nervous, partly because it's a patriarchal concept I suspect (devolving power to another being). I'm more comfortable saying saying it's a basic human right for everyone to be able to fully access and commune with their human nature.
Sure -- I can see why you have trouble with that. I'm more referring to different kinds of shamanic frameworks in which there isn't one creator god, but everything (including humans) is understood to be a part of spirit/the divine -- so the power structure here is not so clearly patriarchal, although it can be construed as such, for sure.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
We are upgrading Liferay to version 7, so any posts after about noon Central Time, including this post and the previous one, will likely vanish in 24 hours and not return. So, I recommend you stop posting anything you wish to remain through the upgrade until this is done. Thanks! -Daniel, DhO owner and administrator.
Stephen, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 18 Join Date: 1/5/17 Recent Posts
I just want to put out there that I would LOVE it if this doesn't begin a thread on cultural appropriation. The claim of cultural appropriation of "emptiness." seems absurd, especially coming from someone who is coming from the same "white" culture. Leveling such a claim and then saying you're going to "peace out" is not a good faith way to have level claims and I don't think that's something you would do if the person was right in front of you, but is somewhat easy to do on a message board.
Why not just talk from your own experience about Rosa and what she is doing. It seems like you perceive her as a threat, but no need to bring up cultural appropriation from cultures that you don't belong to.

I have my own skepticism about things that have been discussed in this thread, but I don't think we need to go down this particular rabbit hole. 
Erica, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 4/5/13 Recent Posts
Stephen:
I just want to put out there that I would LOVE it if this doesn't begin a thread on cultural appropriation. The claim of cultural appropriation of "emptiness." seems absurd, especially coming from someone who is coming from the same "white" culture. Leveling such a claim and then saying you're going to "peace out" is not a good faith way to have level claims and I don't think that's something you would do if the person was right in front of you, but is somewhat easy to do on a message board.
Why not just talk from your own experience about Rosa and what she is doing. It seems like you perceive her as a threat, but no need to bring up cultural appropriation from cultures that you don't belong to.

I have my own skepticism about things that have been discussed in this thread, but I don't think we need to go down this particular rabbit hole. 
Well -- I don't have infinite time right now to have discussions on message boards was my point, but if you would like to discuss this in more detail later, perhaps we could set up a time to do so on a dedicated thread for that purpose? I have a semester starting up soon, and need to curb my pandemic-supported internet discussion addiction, so would prefer if this happens in a more controlled way.

As to your argument that white people in the dharma can't talk about cultural appropriation -- I think it's high time we had these conversations. My qualifications to do so include more than 30 years studying postcoloniality and cultural appropriation in literary and cultural contexts and a decade teaching such things in literature and women's studies departments. I'm not pretending to speak for BIPOC here, but I think it is possible for me to be part of this conversation, yes. So do many of my BIPOC teachers and friends, by the way.

Critiquing cultural appropriation does not mean saying that white people can't practice and teach in these lineages -- that is not necessarily cultural appropriation. It means having more awareness about matters around appropriation and colonization and acting accordingly. My first dharma teachers were Tibetans, and they were happy to empower me to do these practices. Many of my white teachers were also empowered to teach (and to train teachers) by BIPOC teachers. It's not a simple issue, and I'll be happy to discuss it in more detail once I've gotten my last semester of more schoolwork/clinical training finished.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Rosa Lewis?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Moderator:

Several posts in this thread have gone missing during the Liferay upgrade. Now that things have settled a bit, I'm going to re-lock the thread, not to prevent anyone from speaking their mind but in the hope of a less entangled and confused conversation. This thread branched off quite a bit. The original question as to whether Rosa Lewis is endorsed by Daniel Ingram as a teacher has already been answered. If there is an interest to further discuss any of the other topics that arose, such as the "true" meaning of specific phrases/terms and what terms and phrases we prefer, or what qualifications we think are important for those who organize retreats, or how to talk about attainments or personal experiences, I suggest that we do that in separate threads. I copied the posts that I wrote during the upgrade so if anyone wants them to be republished for transparancy or to address them, please make a request in a new thread. 

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