Help in Australia

Daniel Mon, modified 24 Days ago.

Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
Hi there, I live in Cairns, QLD, went through the A&P event some 7 years ago, can get to Equanimity on a 10 day retreat, but not past it. I am tired of the reactions I get when sharing my experiences with people running retreats, that range from indiference, to incredulity, to... something dark. Mostly though, I'm frustrated that they can't help me, so I'm on my own.

Would appreciate being in touch with other practicioners in Australia to get direct advice on how to change path, or to support each other on our way to it. Also, do you know of any retreat centre down under where they acknowledge the stages of the path and can guide you through them?

Cheers, Dani

PS: Surprised there is no geographical thread where people from different continents can discuss stuff of local interest? @danielmingram?
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Jim Smith, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 961 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
It sounds like you have a lot of expectation about practice. Maybe that is a problem? I think it would help if you would try samatha meditation first to prepare for vipassana. When the mind is serene, all those expectation become irrelevant and you can see more clearly what the mind is doing.

By samatha meditation I mean just sit and notice your breath, breathe in a relaxing way and notice the pleasant feeling of relaxation. If your mind is turbulent you can count breaths up to ten and then start over. Or you can just think "in" and "out" as you inhale and exhale.

In my opinion, people don't need anybody to tell them about milestones or stages or attainments. That does not help them, it only gets them addicted to attainments. It tells people to do the opposite of what they need to do. It causes attachment instead of letting go. Just relax and observe your own mind and notice how dukkha arises and how it ceases. 
Daniel Mon, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
Thanks @jimsmith, certainly your comment is very equanimous! emoticon I am familiar with the risks of attachment to attainments, and also with the risks of not paying enough attention to them. ;) Mostly though, I am terrified by the highs and lows of conditioned existence, and really, really, have a will to escape the inherent suffering of my otherwise privileged life.

Thanks for your advice, which I think I am mostly following. I am actually pretty good at relaxing (while on retreat) and at observing the objects of the mind and letting them go as they come. A&P stuff, right? I think I've got that quite well and every time I go through it I get better at it and discover fascinating complementary aspects of it, which is great, but only incremental and doesn't take me away from the cycles of Samsara, or at least not for long after I come back from retreat. I would not mind to stay on the equanimity stage I reach while on retreat, not at all! Problem is, retreats end, I come back to normal life... and it is quite difficult (to me) to remain equanimous in the worldly world. emoticon

So yeah, I understand that I don't need anyone to tell me about attainments, but I would really appreciate if someone could guide me, particularly while on retreat, as to the best way to change path/attain fruition, particularly since I believe I might be so close. I keep hearing that it does substantially reduce your attachment to the highs and lows of life and, thus, to suffering. Also, stream entry is one big step closer to hopefully eliminate them completely! emoticon

Any specific advice as to what I am missing when I reach equanimity during retreat? What I feel mostly is that I might need a longer retreat, perhaps it'd be as simple as that. Two weeks is just so short (to me, anyway).

Thanks heaps! Daniel

PS: The stuff about gradual enlightment is very interesting. But the descriptions I get are that once you experience sunyata, you keep experiencing it regularly, weekly at the most. It would be hard not to notice that?
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Jim Smith, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 961 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Daniel Mon
Thanks @jimsmith, certainly your comment is very equanimous! emoticon I am familiar with the risks of attachment to attainments, and also with the risks of not paying enough attention to them. ;) Mostly though, I am terrified by the highs and lows of conditioned existence, and really, really, have a will to escape the inherent suffering of my otherwise privileged life.

Thanks for your advice, which I think I am mostly following. I am actually pretty good at relaxing (while on retreat) and at observing the objects of the mind and letting them go as they come. A&P stuff, right? I think I've got that quite well and every time I go through it I get better at it and discover fascinating complementary aspects of it, which is great, but only incremental and doesn't take me away from the cycles of Samsara, or at least not for long after I come back from retreat. I would not mind to stay on the equanimity stage I reach while on retreat, not at all! Problem is, retreats end, I come back to normal life... and it is quite difficult (to me) to remain equanimous in the worldly world. emoticon

So yeah, I understand that I don't need anyone to tell me about attainments, but I would really appreciate if someone could guide me, particularly while on retreat, as to the best way to change path/attain fruition, particularly since I believe I might be so close. I keep hearing that it does substantially reduce your attachment to the highs and lows of life and, thus, to suffering. Also, stream entry is one big step closer to hopefully eliminate them completely! emoticon

Any specific advice as to what I am missing when I reach equanimity during retreat? What I feel mostly is that I might need a longer retreat, perhaps it'd be as simple as that. Two weeks is just so short (to me, anyway).

Thanks heaps! Daniel

PS: The stuff about gradual enlightment is very interesting. But the descriptions I get are that once you experience sunyata, you keep experiencing it regularly, weekly at the most. It would be hard not to notice that?


I am not among those people who believe breakthroughs are needed to get to the next level. Instead of a longer retreat my advice is to learn to practice more in daily life. Then you don't need a retreat. Life is your teacher and life always tells you the truth.

I am very skeptical of the concensus view which has produced so many arhats involved in sexual and other type of abuse scandals. Maybe they are experiencing something every week or every day or every second but if they are abusers, what they are experiencing is not IT. And none of the concensus supporters recognized it. In my opinion, the truth is somewhere else. The truth is not in Asia, it's not in the West, it is not in a retreat center, it is in your experience of your own mind.
Daniel Mon, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
Thanks @jimsmith to practice more in daily life is excellent advice of course. In a purely conceptual way I suppose that the difference between a flight of stairs and a ramp is just scale. Thus, I don't see that daily practise and continous progress is incompatible with the flagging of "attainments" along that path. Whether you decide to visualise the path as steps or as a ramp is merely conceptual after all (Whatever floats your boat. I like to think about it as a spiral). However, having "landmarks" along the path IS kind of helpful, at least to me.

Personally, going through the A&P event (and recognising it as such) did change my life quite significantly, and clearly changed the course of my life for the best. It transformed me from a slacker poor meditator to a quite proficient and motivated one. Just for that, totally worth it. Also, knowing what the heck had just happened was a huge relief, and unfortunately it took me some weeks until I finally came upon MCTB and understood what happened because, you know, no one in the retreat centre had direct experience of what I was experiencing, which is sad. But yes, of course there are changes in my daily life, and the benefits of the practice are obvious and proportional to my efforts, and I do get more bang for every "effort-buck" that I put now. I can only imagine that your "return for investment" would be even better after you change path?

As for the abuse scandals in your link I did find an interesting discussion dealing with abuse very generically, but could not find names or events that linked any specific event to any specific "Arhat". Do you have more detailed info? It is an important and interesting subject, of course, and would be informative of the limitations of enlightment (whatever that means). But I'm here for the pain, you see, if it makes me suffer less, it's good to know that I will have to be jsut as diligent in actively having an ethic behaviour, but I do that now, if I could do it with less attachment/suffering, all the better emoticon ;)

Cheers, Daniel.
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Stefan R, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 70 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
G'day Daniel, 

Australia, as far as I'm aware, has no real "hardcore Dharma" scene. We've got a lot of real Buddhists and mindfulness meditators, but no real discernable pragmatic scene. 

My personal opinion: I honestly think there's a bit of overemphasis on maps in general, and I prefer to explain all my phenomenology with metaphors, the sights/sounds/etc., and keep descriptions as real to what I'm about than simply saying "I'm in X". Because every sit is so unique, and offers us subtle lessons about each and every moment. Saying "I'm in X" just glosses over the rich complexity of our lives as they're unfolding and it's a tragedy that we do that. Obviously, knowing the maps is great, but they're kinda useless except for knowing that you're there (helps orientate) and knowing what "to do" once you're there (the real benefit).

With all that being said, are you learning the lesson that equanimity is teaching you? emoticon
Daniel Mon, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
G'day Stefan! Yeah good point, I am learning the lesson alright, but although it's relatively easy to remember the "lyrics" of it during my worldly life, it is much harder to remember the "music".

My personal opinion is that overemphasis on maps only exists in this small community, but certainly not out of it. Another way to say it is I am overemphasising elightment, not really the path to it! ;)

The maps are great but, as you said, each person is different, and someone who has direct experience of the process would possibly be better able to point me to the rigth direction, at the right time, it could make a difference. That's exactly what I would love to have, someone who could help me understand precisely "what to do once I'm there". And if that doesn't work, well, at the very least it would make me able to share my process with someone who understands it.

Full scene or only scattered "real" meditators, any help will be much appreciated! Cheers, Daniel.
George S, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 1629 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
This compilation of shargrol's posts has lots of good advice on how to navigate through equanimity ... enjoy :-)
Daniel Mon, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
Much appreciated George! Going through it now, good stuff emoticon

D.
George S, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 1629 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
To be more equanimous in the worldly world it helps to have a practice which addresses the specific causes of reactivity in daily life. The book Wake Up To Your Life is excellent for this, specifically chapters 5 and 6 on dismantling reactive emotional patterns. There are lots of excercises which you can practice when equanimity gets disrupted in daily life.
Daniel Mon, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
Thank you so much George, this is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. The link above is priceless! I've made it a document so I can read through the resulting 200 pages of text (plus links!) in my ebook. Had purchased already a copy of the book, looking forward to delve into those two chaptes, thanks for pointing them out! Pity I couldn't find the ebook for it, but the entire audiobook is available in Spotify for free! emoticon

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5CVrNrOwgrToerOybQn61Z?si=b87e9b3774874b94

Will keep you posted of advances, within this thread. Cheers, Dani.
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Nikolai ., modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Mon Hi there, I live in Cairns, QLD, went through the A&P event some 7 years ago, can get to Equanimity on a 10 day retreat, but not past it. I am tired of the reactions I get when sharing my experiences with people running retreats, that range from indiference, to incredulity, to... something dark. Mostly though, I'm frustrated that they can't help me, so I'm on my own. Would appreciate being in touch with other practicioners in Australia to get direct advice on how to change path, or to support each other on our way to it. Also, do you know of any retreat centre down under where they acknowledge the stages of the path and can guide you through them? Cheers, Dani PS: Surprised there is no geographical thread where people from different continents can discuss stuff of local interest? @danielmingram?
Hi Daniel,

I'm based in Melbourne. Pragmatic Dharma here seems scattered at best, though there was a Google Hangout for Australia that I think Noah was in charge of? Noah?

Nick
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Noah D, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 1143 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Hi -

the hangouts chat is inactive.  I know of at least 2 public , global prag dharm online chat groups .

https://collaborativedharma.com/

https://www.sit-heads.com/

id recommend joining those or similar 

-Noah 
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Dream Walker, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 1330 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
under the category "playground" is different contenents-

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/category/1156315
Daniel Mon, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
Oh yeah! Thanks @dreamwalker !
Dani Mon, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Help in Australia

Posts: 30 Join Date: 6/16/16 Recent Posts
Hi all, I created a slack group for Australians, Kiwis, and other "dharmatics" in the Asia Pacific region. I can't find an easy way to have fluent conversations here, or even calls, so I hope this helps. If you want to join simply follow this link: https://join.slack.com/t/ozpragmaticdharma/shared_invite/zt-pum8rmz5-gNKM~OMBQgwa4y~ek9ZKMg

Talk to you there! Dani.

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