John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 10 Days ago.

John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
John Yates, aka Culadasa, died yesterday of complications of cancer. He co-authored the book The Mind Illuminated with Matthew Immergut and Jeremy Graves, which has been popular in pragmatic circles.

Sending best wishes to all who cared for him.

​​​​​​​(Thanks for the editorial suggestions). emoticon
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Balint Pinczes, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 61 Join Date: 8/3/18 Recent Posts
RIP. May his teaching serve the benefit of all beings. 
shargrol, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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may he rest in peace
Eudoxos ., modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 80 Join Date: 4/6/14 Recent Posts
Thanks to Culadasa for inspiring many to practice.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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Sad news, even though it was expected.
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Stefan R, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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Rest in peace, may his teachings continue to be of benefit to all beings 
Dan Ing, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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"...he helped write the book The Mind Illuminated, which has been somewhat popular in pragmatic circles."

lmao Wow. Petty even in his death, huh? That's a really good look, Danny boy!
SigmaTropic, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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I agree that "helped write the book" does sound a bit like a low blow given how influential Yates has been in the community in recent years. TMI has become 'somewhat' of a standard text in these circles, far as I can tell.
Adi Vader, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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An accomplished yogi, a straightup meditation master and a teacher par excellence who wrote TMI a modern day masterpiece in collaboration with two of his students has died. The world is left poorer because of it.
Real One, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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It's certainly not an every day occurrence to have two arahants in one thread.
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Josef C, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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I think Daniel was just referring to the fact that there are 3 authors and I thinks its best not to ascribe something to malice so easily. But yes Culadasa has contributed the masterpiece which is the TMI and its sad to hear of his passing. 
Real One, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/6g4zyr/how_best_to_incorporate_the_body_scan/dinn0u2/

I think Daniel is referring to this.
ya fevo, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Post: 1 Join Date: 9/14/21 Recent Posts
As someone who isn't an arahat and is in a bad shape, I can say I'm definitly triggered by the lack of respect in that post. I don't know much about you, but each time I heard something from you it was about some childish egotistical fight. If you don't want to pay your respect, just don't do it, would be better that those demeaning comments
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Apologies for how the tone was misinterpreted in text. Meant no disrespect or anything demeaning at all. Best wishes.
Dan Ing, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 2 Join Date: 9/14/21 Recent Posts
Thanks for the edit, Daniel. I apologize for the snarky and rude comment I wrote before. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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May Culadasa rest in peace.

Metta for Daniel.
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Griffin, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 168 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
Rest in peace Culadasa. Thank you for everything!
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Ben V., modified 10 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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Rest in peace Culadasa. May your work continue to benefit many.
Bananas Bananas, modified 9 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/8/20 Recent Posts
Thank you for your staggering contributions to my practice and well-being, and those of so many others around the world. Such a beautiful mind. May you rest in peace, Culadasa.
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David Matte, modified 9 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 89 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
Very grateful the universe could create the man that is Culadasa. Thank you for your teachings that have helped so many. Peace to you.
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Not two, not one, modified 9 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 938 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Metta to all.  Thanks to Culadasa who has benefitted many.  May those who suvive him find satisfaction and comfort in his accomplishments, as well as in the the man he was, whom we only dimly glimpse.
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Stephen, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 18 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
May he rest In peace. I’m eternally thankful for his contributions to the meditation community. The Mind Illuminated transformed the practice and lives of myself and everyone I’ve passed it on to.

​​​​​​​I vaguely remember hearing him on a podcast talk about two new books he was working on, one focused on a TMI style approach to the path of insight and.. I’m blanking on the other. Hopefully that work sees the light of day in some form.
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Pepe ·, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 436 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
RIP

I vaguely remember hearing him on a podcast talk about two new books he was working on, one focused on a TMI style approach to the path of insight and.. I’m blanking on the other. Hopefully that work sees the light of day in some form. 

Announcement From Culadasa to the TMI Sangha: The Heart Illuminated, by Dor Konforty, continuing in the spirit of The Mind Illuminated.

​​​​​​​
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Stephen, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 18 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
That's great news, looking forward to seeing what Dor and him have put together. Thanks for sharing.
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Ian And, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

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I just logged in and saw this. Sad to hear this news.

Culadasa, as he prefered to be known, at least during the time that I communicated with him on a Yahoos Group forum during my own training, is a bright light within the Dhamma community. I say "is" because his contributions to the Dhamma community can never be taken away or lessened. His writings and video presentations live on into the future. I'm sure it was his fondest hope that these works might assist others in their practice and path toward awakening. 

This man had a special mind and a beautiful way of illuminating insight for those of us who sought his commentary. He was very instrumental in my own training as we communicated on a long since dead Jhana-Insight Yahoos Group forum in the early two thousands. He helped to explain various nuanced deep meditation phenomena to me in a way that I could confirm from my own direct empirical observation, and to clarify various points of the practice that helped propel my practice forward. He will be sorely missed by all those who would profit from his knowledge and deep experience in the Dhamma.

As a tribute to the insight that Culadasa had into the process of the practice of samatha and vipassana on the path toward awakening, I would like to recount one of my experiences with his commentary which help to corroborate my own experience. I recorded it in log that I was keeping at the time that I called my Consciousness Log. Perhaps this will demonstrate how incredibly valuable was this man's contribution to the practice we all engage in. And, better yet, perhaps this might help someone here in their own practice.

I tried to find a way to shorten this entry, but was unable to. Each paragraph is necessary in order to understand the full import of the final paragraphs.

Entry:  26.12.2006  Tuesday
In a post which John Yates (Culadasa) posted on Jhana_insight (Dec. 24, 2006), he
mentioned that there is a stage in the development of concentration (samadhi) which is
without piti/sukha
. I found this illuminating as I have had a similar experience in endeavoring
to locate the piti/sukha after I had developed my meditation practice to a certain point. This
remark would seem to go along with many of the other similar experiences I have had with
the meditative process in that there is a sign at one point to help the meditator to be able to
determine where they are in the process of the technique they are using, which then
disappears after a while (in subsequent meditative practice, that is)
. It seems as though the
sign was meant to appear only once or twice and then to subside so as not to become a
distraction in practice
.

He then makes the following statement: "It seems this dry 7th stage of single-pointedness
without piti/sukha can be passed through quite quickly, or it can last a very long time
. I am
trying to understand why this is so, and to discover ways of helping people to get through it
more quickly. The need to be wary of developing distraction and dullness and making an
effort to stay single-pointed seem to be obstacles to piti/sukha arising. When, through
practice, the mind can stay focused without the need for watchfulness and effort, then piti
begins to arise pretty quickly
. But sometimes the meditator tends to keep up the effort long
after it has become unnecessary, so then he needs to learn to 'stop trying'."

    He then went on to describe the time several flies landed on his face and
started walking around and wouldn't leave. "Throughout this I exerted myself to remain
focused on the sensations of my breath and to observe them with the utmost clarity. It really
was an effort. Then the last fly went away, and after a bit it became apparent he wasn't
going to return. What a relief! I let go of all that effort and just rested on the sensations of
the breath, and then there it was, piti/sukha spreading over me in waves and then
stabilizing. I have been grateful to that fly ever since. But it wasn't as though I could then
repeat the experience at will.
Letting go again was harder than it might seem, and I needed
to learn a lot about this issue of control and the ego-fear of letting go of control over my
mind before I could experience piti again.
And even more so in order to be able to do it
thereafter with any degree of consistency."

    So apparently, the experience of the piti/sukha returned for him, which would
seem to rule out my idea that it was meant for only a sign to encourage the meditator to
continue making a diligent effort at practice during a certain stage of his practice. I have had
occasion to experience piti/sukha after having gone through the preliminary stage of the
development of jhana, but it was of a more refined and less agitating nature, so subtle as to
almost be not noticeable at all.


And now we get into commentary on a very subtle area of the practice that intermediate and advanced practitioners would benefit from paying close attention to.

    John then goes on to describe his thoughts on the reason the Buddha rejected
certain parts of the jhana experience as indicative of enlightenment
. He says: "It is not
unusual for a meditator who is becoming familiar with piti/sukha and becoming skilled in its
generation to conclude that this is Enlightenment, that they are Enlightened and have
discovered the antidote to all suffering
. There are many warnings about this in meditation
texts and commentaries. . . . A bhikkhu whose life revolves between long periods of jhanic
absorption in meditation at the level of 4th jhana or beyond, the flow activity of performing
his monastic responsibilities, and the flow activity of teaching while basking in the adulation
of his students, might well conclude that this is Enlightenment, that the suffering of the world
has been transcended . . . . Perhaps this is what first Alara Kalama, and later Udakka
Ramaputta offered the Bodhisattva. But as I think you must know quite well, this meditative
pleasure and jhanic bliss is not easily come by nor easily sustained. It requires a lot in the
way of supporting conditions, and even then it is vulnerable to the exigencies of life, pain,
sickness, old age, and death. . . . So, yes, once again I am saying that it is the conditioned
and impermanent nature of piti/sukha and the jhanas in general that caused the Buddha to
reject them as the final answer.
. . . It is obvious that he did not reject the jhanas as a tool.
The Suttas are replete with references to jhana practice as a part of the Path. But it is, I
think, equally obvious that simply abiding in the formless jhanas, or any of the jhanas for
that matter, is not the goal of the Path
."

    As for this interpretation which John outlines, I also fully agree that this is the
case. He continues, stating: "It is apparent that the Bodhisattva was fully aware of the Truth
of Suffering, the Truth of the Cause of Suffering, and the Truth of the End of Suffering
(perhaps not as Aryan Truths, because he lacked the Insight of an Arya, but certainly as
facts readily evident to the attentive mind). What he had yet to find was the Truth of the
Path to Desirelessness that brings about the complete and permanent end of suffering, and
he could see that sitting in jhana was not going to do it.
Jhana practice in and of itself
greatly attenuates desire but does not destroy it, and as the passadhi of jhana fades, desire
returns
." This, too, I can agree with.

    He (Culadasa) then progresses to make an even more refined point about
samadhi (concentration) and sati (mindfulness) which I too have seen the light about. After
explaining what the Buddha did (in the way of austerities) in an effort to remove desire from
the mind and finding that these austerities were not working, "he put aside the failed
remedies and decided to turn his attention to a more thorough investigation of the problem
itself. . ." The Buddha then discovered a new use for the jhanas: "All of a sudden these
same tools have a new use and purpose. He was not interested in the piti/sukha or the bliss
of the higher jhanas. It was the single-pointed focus of samadhi and the intensity and clarity
of awareness of sati that the Bodhisattva recognized as the tools he needed for his
investigation
. This is what the Bodhisattva recognized when he remembered his childhood
experience. It is in upacara samadhi and the first jhana, not the higher jhanas, that
conscious awareness takes an object other than mind itself and that its investigative power
is therefore most obvious.
And it is in the 4th jhana that the mind itself is the primary object
of awareness
. And so this is what he used as the basis for his investigation and what led to
his Insight into the process of becoming, or Dependent Co-Arising."

     John continues: "At one time I was puzzled by the two different descriptions of
the Buddha's Enlightenment. First there is the one in MN 36 where he describes the
knowledge of the recollection of past lives, the knowledge of the passing away and
reappearance of creatures, and the knowledge of the exhaustion of taints. Then there is the
one in SN XII, 65 where he describes his Insight into Dependent Co-Arising. The first of
these two seems to be about siddhis, and so one may wonder if the attainment of the
siddhis in the 4th jhana is essential to Insight and Enlightenment. But then I realized that
both accounts are talking about the same thing. If one examines the course of life after life
of being after being, a consistent pattern emerges and becomes apparent, one that is
repeated not only in one lifetime after another, but also in each day between waking and
sleeping, and most especially from one moment to the next, over and over again.
The
Buddha analyzed this pattern and gave us the links of Dependent Co-Arising as a result.
With the benefit of his Insight and analysis, we don't need to examine hundreds of
thousands of lifetimes ourselves, we only need to examine our own experience as it unfolds
moment by moment every day in this very lifetime to understand this pattern. We don't
need the 4th jhana in order to have Insight into Dependent Co-Arising. We only need to
have the samadhi and sati necessary to practice Satipatthana.
"

    And it is here that I concur most strongly with his impressions. This parallels my
own progression of realization about this process and the need to develop concentration
(samadhi) and mindfulness (sati) to a greater degree in order to practice Satipattana. John
then concludes by stating: "So what the Buddha rejected was the idea that simply practicing
the jhanas and enjoying jhanic bliss was the Path to the End of Suffering. And he rejected it
because they are conditioned and impermanent and do not provide complete and final
liberation
. But he certainly embraced the jhanas as a means to that ultimate Path."
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 5891 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Thanks for sharing this, Ian And! What a beautiful testimony!

I never interacted with Culadasa, only read parts of his book and listened to him on youtube, so I can't say much, but that type of nuanced replying was something I found helpful listening to, and reading this reminded me of some nuances that I had forgotten. It would probably be helpful for me now to go back to some of it to refresh it. I never did the full TMI practice, but have been more of a cherrypicker. This reminded me of the awesome cherries in it. There's a lot of great tech there, and lots of great teaching. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: John Yates/Culadasa died yesterday

Posts: 5891 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I have heard from inside sources that Culadasa was being cared for by people well versed in the dharma until the end, and it sounded beautiful. I wasn't given much detail, but I got the impression that Culadasa was able to make the most of his death as part of the path. Much respect for that! May we all make the best of our deaths. 

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