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Locked Thread X.O. Hologram 1/8/22 10:35 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/3/22 2:52 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant shargrol 1/4/22 6:32 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/4/22 6:33 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/4/22 6:35 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/4/22 9:54 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Stefan Stefan 1/4/22 8:13 PM
RE: The Path to the Arahant terry 1/4/22 6:49 PM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Martin 1/4/22 8:26 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant Stefan Stefan 1/5/22 12:22 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant shargrol 1/5/22 2:27 PM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/6/22 11:37 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/7/22 4:38 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/6/22 1:30 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/7/22 5:49 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/7/22 6:14 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/7/22 6:24 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant Chris M 1/7/22 6:28 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant shargrol 1/7/22 6:52 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant X.O. Hologram 1/8/22 2:09 AM
RE: The Path to the Arahant Papa Che Dusko 1/8/22 4:15 AM
RE: . Chris M 1/8/22 8:56 AM
XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 10:35 AM
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/3/22 2:52 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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Hi Travis. You said --

I would describe myself and my practice as secular, pragmatic, and with the intention of avoidance of all narrative. 

​​​​​​​May I ask that you re-think this part of your comment? It'll save you some headaches, maybe even some time on your journey. The mind does what the mind does. It's a narrative-making machine and it always will be. My point is this - don't waste time seeking a totally, permanently still mind. Do spend time learning how the mind actually works. The Dhammapada might be a good read for you.

Just a quick comment for you to ponder.
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/4/22 6:33 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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This approach is known as Vipassana, Satipatthana, or as I like to call it "The Path of Insight". 

That's the very same path I followed.

​​​​​​​EDIT: For many years.
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 1/4/22 6:32 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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The meaning behind this is that the path that I follow is one of observation of sensations while having equanimity towards them. It is the awareness of experience paired with non-reaction to experience (including avoiding giving the sensations a "name"), that has advanced me on the path.

Best wishes for your search for a long-term retreat center. My best suggestion is to make sure you have done a lot of one week and two week retreats... and then do the 1.5 month and/or 3 month retreat at IMS. https://www.dharma.org/retreats/738 This is a very serious and yet compassionate way to proceed because it allows the body/mind to develop and assimilate insights... and it isn't the all-or-nothing thing that people do because they lack the discipline to take a methodical approach.

There is no way to make things go "faster" in the realm of real meditation practice. A lot of the time the all-or-nothing approach is actually a clever way to be avoidant, to avoid the growing pains of the actual developmental path of progress. I would acutally say one of the quickest paths is to alternate two week retreats with real life. This is a great way to create insights. It works directly with your greed, aversion, and indifference and doesn't allow spiritual bypassing which can occur when people want to run away and become a monastic. I would strongly suggest not uprooting your life completely until you have done the 3 month IMS retreat. 

Just a quick note on the quote above from your post. I know it was a quick reply to Chris, but to fine tune just the words that were used (and to maybe save someone else, not necessarily you, the problem of taking waaaay to long to learn this like I did):

The real trick in insight meditation is to allow the first reaction to occur without repression. It is totally okay to have a non-equanimous initial response to the present moment, to have discursive thinking that labels an experience, to have thoughts, emotions, urges, and to experience sensations. "Equanimity" in this case is allowing the full expression of the present moment. Being equanimous with whatever arises, including the display of dukka. This is the raw data that is necessary to experience to even have the possibilty of an insight.

Only then do we apply the more conventional sense of Equanimity and we investigate the nature of that display without adding or subtracting or ignoring. We look into it, see what caused it. Where is the dukka? What causes the dukka? Where is the sense of self that is trying to be protected? etc. All of this is non-verbal but the looking-into occurs as the second step.  

Many people feel that they need to quell or squash the initial expression of the moment to make it equanimous, but that is just repression. The effort of discipline comes immediately _afterward_ to not indulge or proliferate the experience. This dual-meaning of equanimity 1)allows for the raw material for insights to arise, which means allowing all the aspects of being an imperfect person to arise, while 2) not getting totally lost in reactivity, which mean not engaging in self-loathing or denial. Basically, we allow dukka to arise and then we look into that arising and that leads to insights.

This is also why full-time retreat is not needed to make quick progress. There is plenty of dukka to investigate and if we alternate between hours of a healthy real-world life and hours of meditation at home each day, then progress is assured. So don't overlook fine tuning your real world life to make meditation a priority within that life.

There is a saying: go slow to go fast. Basically, often the conditions for good practice are often right at hand, but we make big plans for the future instead.

(Definely no reply needed and please feel free to ignore. I obviously can't tell how your practice is actually going from your short post.)

Best wishes for your practice and searching for a retreat center!
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/4/22 6:35 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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This comment just caught my eye:

​​​​​​​It is the awareness of experience paired with non-reaction to experience (including avoiding giving the sensations a "name"), that has advanced me on the path. 

Travis, given your practice may I assume you're familiar with dependent origination?
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/4/22 9:54 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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 I'm not asking for opinions on whether or not someone thinks that retreat is necessary in order to do this. And I am not looking for advice on my practice or how to go about it. Regarding such: I gave the vaguest of details to simply express that I am a serious insight meditator... and somehow that has taken something of a front seat here. I have not given details about my practice, progress, attainment, needs in the practice, deficiencies in the practice, experiences in the practice, or anything of the sort in my original post. Such things are not the point of this post.

 I take this to be a nice way to say, "F*ck off, Chris"  emoticon

You should be aware that there are multiple people here on DhO that have achieved already what you are seeking. It might be wise, even if you see their comments as sidetracks, to at least consider the dialog. You seem to be laser-beam-focused on your objective. In my experience, that kind of focus is stage-dependent and helpful at the outset and mid-course, but will ultimately end up being a hindrance to more advanced progress. I'm happy to elaborate, if you so request. Otherwise, I'll be in "over and out" mode here.

I do ask that next time you want this kind of limited feedback please choose the most appropriate topic on DhO and post your request just once. There's no need to repost the identical request in multiple places. So you know, DhO is a message board with the primary purpose of fostering dialog among the practitioner-members, so you can expect lots of feedback, comments, and dialog.

Thanks, and best of luck to you in your practice, Travis.

- Chris
DhO Moderator
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Stefan Stefan, modified 4 Months ago at 1/4/22 8:13 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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Do a long term meditation retreat at home. 

It just requires some discipline and boundaries.  It requires a lot of mindfulness to maintain good retreat conditions at home.  It gives you flexibility because you're not stuck in a meditation system prescribed by the teacher.

To add to Shargrol's great advice, the skill of mindfulness we're learning with meditation can be, and should be, applied to daily living. Mindfulness is not detached observation of things. It comes from "sati", which means "to remember", as in "to remember how things are connected". So we go about in our home retreat learning how all these conditions for dukkha are connected with one another, and learning how all these conditions for satisfaction are connected with one another. It's very practical and down to earth. Being an Arhat is not a special thing, it is a very mundane, ordinary, honest, and humble thing, there are no flashy fireworks. Learning to adapt these skills into what'll most likely be your daily life will accelerate your progress and make it relevant to your conditions. 

Also, Chris is a meditation genius. His wise words were instrumental in me landing my last path. He sees things in the sub-text like a wizard and says exactly what needs to be said; he's like a flaming sword of truth cutting down heretical fictions we tell ourselves. 

all the best to you
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terry, modified 4 Months ago at 1/4/22 6:49 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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it's funny to respond to someone who really doesn't want to hear it but is asking anyway...

(we all know it) (we do it a lot)

I have the advice you want but you won't listen, it goes something like this here:

just sit

it's what you are good at anyway and all the arrangements are just stuff

I meeaaannn...it's just the same old shit wherever you go, you just get a job and somewhere to live...anything you do can be a meditation...


   That all being true, I wouldn't bother responding since you don't want to hear it, except that, there is a fundamental delusion here which might could get aired out a little,to the benefit of all.

   This thing about wanting to be an arhat. I know it sounds paradoxical but wanting to be an arhat utterly precludes the possibility of becoming an arhat.

   No arhat wants to be an arhat.

   So your quest involves a basic contradiction. Give the whole idea up and you will be infinitely closer to realizing your goal.

   hehhehhehhehhehehehhehheheh

   You could try be a bodhisattva, but that wouldn't be so pragmatical, so secular. Wouldn't float your little boat.

terry


from lao tzu, tao te ching, trans feng


SEVENTY

My words are easy to understand and easy to perform,
Yet no man under heaven knows them or practices them.

My words have ancient beginnings.
My actions are disciplined.
Because men do not understand, they have no knowledge of me.

Those that know me are few;
Those that abuse me are honoured.
Therefore the sage wears rough clothing and holds the jewel in his heart.
Martin, modified 4 Months ago at 1/4/22 8:26 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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If I were to walk into a library and ask for a recommendation for a book, specifying only that I wanted fiction, and my purpose was to be greatly entertained, the librarians would probably ask about what I had read in the past, what my interests were, what kinds of stories appealed to me. 

If I were to walk into a hospital and ask for a recommendation for a medicine, specifying only that my problem was pain and my purpose was to be cured, the doctors would probably ask about my symptoms and my health in the past. 

They would be trying to help, and might well feel unable to help without asking those questions.

In the case of questions about meditation centers as well, for example, many centers require that retreatants have certain specific past retreat experience. so, for example, there would be no point in recommending a place for you to do a three-month retreat if they require prerequisites that you do not have. Then there is the issue of fit. You describe yourself as secular, but you follow the teachings of a monastic. Would you be comfortable in a monastic setting? If so, would you be comfortable in a non-Theravadan setting? Then there is the question of place. Would any continent be OK, or did you have a specific one in mind :-) 

You have had what seems to me to be enormous luck in getting the attention and interest of several actual Arahats (not me) with decades of experience and your conversation with them is being read by dozens of people who have done to long retreats that you are looking for, in places all over the world. Opportunities for conversations with spiritual friends are rare, and life is uncertain. You may want to stay and chat. It could take days, or weeks, or even months, for you to get the answer to your question. That too could be a great good fortune. 
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Stefan Stefan, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 12:22 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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If you're willing to travel... There's a place in Australia on remote Kangaroo Island. You basically rent a house with amenities. Each house has its own meditation room. It's a retreat centre run by Vajrayana practitioners, but it's open to anyone. 

https://detongling.org/retreat/individual-retreat/
Martin, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 12:49 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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That's a lot of good information. Thanks!

I would second Shargrol's suggestion of IMS. However, I have only ever done IMS retreats, so I have nothing to compare them with. It is worth noting that residential retreats have to be applied for and, for longer ones they expect a resume and quite a bit of information about your practice and your plans. If you are just starting out with retreats, it's unlikely that you will find an immediate placement of more than a week or two. The places offering in-person retreats are also quite full at the moment because, for a long time, they were all canceled and lots of people want to get back to retreats. My understanding is that the easiest residential retreats to get into are the Goinka 10 day retreats. You can find one near you at www.dhamma.org (oddly, the two places have the same name with one in the Sanskrit spelling and the other in Palli). You can search in this message board to read about people's experiences with Goinka retreats. They are popular, but I get the sense that psychosis is more likely at a Goinka retreat than an IMS retreat. 

Brandon mentioned that he recently did an online retreat with (if I remember correctly) Shizen Young, or at least his organization and that he stayed at a relative's house during the retreat. This gave me the idea of renting a short-term vacation home and staying there during an online retreat, which would be a way to get away from the distractions of home. Online retreats are easier to get into, for obvious reasons. I don't know whether that would count towards residential retreat experience for longer in-person retreats. 

I am a fan of a Thai lineaged teacher known as Dhammarato, he says that if someone wants to deepen their practice, they should just look for a Thai watt near them (there are many in the States). He says that good monks often get sent to the States, so there are good opportunities. 

All of these are, unfortunately, far from the one-shot approach that you mentioned, but I think this is more or less how it goes. For a lot of people, advancing on the path of insight in an institutional setting is like getting a degree in microbiology, or becoming a published writer. It goes in stages, and involves meeting people, finding teachers and mentors, and building trust and relationships. For example, I have a friend who wants to ordain as a Theravadan nun, and it's not easy. She can't get in anywhere. So she volunteers as a server at retreats and writes letters, and builds relationships, and hopes. 

All that said, I'm not really a retreat guy. My practice is mostly at home and with a single teacher and sometimes a sangha. I genuinely would take what I say as just conversation and not put too much stock in it but who knows, it might be useful as background information. I would guess that I have said at least a few things in this rambling post that are wrong. Perhaps some of the people in this group would be kind enough to correct those things. 
Adi Vader, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 6:35 AM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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Hi Travis

I don't know the answer to your question. I have only ever practiced at home, in the middle of a busy large family, often times when everybody else was asleep.

I do have some advice, and I am writing hesitantly because I don't want to give unsolicited advice emoticon but I feel it might help you, thus expressing myself in a spirit of friendship and mutual respect.

1. If your living situation currently is such that you can guard 4 to 8 hours of time minimum everyday without disturbance then you should start right at home. There are a few people I know of, there must be many more as well, who give guidance in the Mahasi noting style by video calls. And they also operate on dana or donations. The reason I suggest this is not to discourage you from your goal but to suggest that you need not wait to set up a really solid practice. 

2. Mahasi noting is a shrotapanna manufacturing factory technique. It is designed to dump you into the dukkha nanas as rapidly as your own talents and time can support. I would strongly recommmend that you supplement Mahasi noting with concentration, jhanas, practices geared towards Anatma (Not-self) rather than Anitya (unreliability). Your goal is Arhat and not Shrotapannna. Mahasi noting alone is not optimized for your goal. Its an extremely rudimentary technique - difficult to master yes, but rudimentary nonetheless.
Monsoon Frog, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 4:40 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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The three-month>year>indefinite criterion may prove difficult to find, esp. without a track record or previous retreat history. Perhaps you’ll have greater luck in SE Asia for ex. practicing at a monastery initially for a trial period of a month or two with the proviso that afterwards you’ll be evaluated and if approved, stay for another 3-5 months, rinse and repeat. There’s also the possibility of ordination or temporary ordination.

The other criterion of a secular environment - if by that you mean nonreligious/nonBuddhist (and more specifically of Pragmatic Dharma flavor) may also prove challenging.  Leaving aside the Pragmatic Dharma component - as it’s uncommon in retreat venues - a wholly secular scene without religious aspect is also going to be rarer. I think you’d benefit by discerning how much friction various degrees of religiosity will generate in you and also how capable you are of tolerating that friction without it degrading your practice.


IMS is an overtly Buddhist institution. Buddhist iconography, etc. That’s the given. Specifically, the Forest Refuge at IMS is set up for independent retreats of longer duration (you conceive and propose the manner of your meditation practice) and you also benefit from the support of a couple resident teachers - in the standardized format of short regularly scheduled interviews - to help guide your practice. You have the option of an evening snack, which is forbidden at traditional Theravadan monastic venues due to religious doctrine (a first time retreatant at Goenka retreats get a fruit snack in the evenings; repeat retreatants must forgo that). Obligatory group participation is limited (IIRC) to only a modest morning sit and Dharma talks, otherwise you’re time is your own so you can construct your own practice schedule. There's less ritual than in the more traditional religious settings (at one group sit as we recited aloud the five precepts the woman next to me - who wasn't on retreat per se but I believe was working/living there longish term - interestingly excluded the precepts for refraining from intoxicants and from sex … her silence was conspicuous but discrete. I mention that as evidence of the flexibility present). You’re provided with a private room and can meditate there and/or in the main mediation hall. Comfortable beds. Quiet temperature controlled environment. Very good food (I’ve worked in the kitchen). Beautiful New England forested grounds and abundant trails in the woods. English spoken. Prior retreat experience - and of specific duration - is a prerequisite.


Goenka retreats were mentioned and these are a step down from IMS on the secular spectrum … no Buddha statues, altars, icons, or imagery (the mediation hall is like a civic rec center or hall however the Mass. center - I believe - has a traditional Burmese stupa so there’s some exceptions to the rule).  Nonetheless the dharma talks (attendance compulsory) are explicitly Buddhism 101 - Goenka style - and there’s a modest amount of Pali chanting by the teacher. It doesn’t feel heavily religious, but it is Buddhist. The meditation program and schedule are strictly structured with daily group attendance compulsory at a few sits, an instruction period, and dharma talk … otherwise one has the choice of mediating in the hall or in one’s room. (Some centers provide private meditation cells for use by repeat retreatants). Anapana and body scan vipassana are taught exclusively with a brief metta practice on the final day. Noting technique is neither taught nor permitted. One-on-one instruction is weak. Comfortable accommodations (a typical bed could be something like a four fingers thick piece of open cell foam or a modest mattress). Some private rooms and some shared dorms. Variability in the condition and particulars of accommodations at various centers. Quiet facilities but the constant and unending fidgeting generated by the high proportion of inexperienced meditators and rookie retreatants introduce noise and movement (they settle down roughly halfway through). Ok food but nothing to write home about. English spoken. Standard retreats are 10-days and you have to commit to the organization over years and jump though hoops to progress to longer and longer retreats.
You might(?) be able piecemeal out a longer retreat by stringing together a 10-day retreat, followed by volunteering as server (standard role of part meditator/part worker) for the following 10-day retreat, and then attending the next 10-day retreat, etc. However as a server you will not be meditating all day. There's likely a few days (?) between scheduled retreats where the facilities are reset where you could stay on as a volunteer to maintain continuity. But in no way in any of this would you be designing your practice life ... you'd have to fit into the highly structured (and 'Noteless') Goenka ecosystem.


Traditional Theravadan monasteries are going to have more ritual - in greater or lesser degree depending on the monastery. There will be monks (and possibly nuns) and the protocol associated with relating to monks and nuns along a spectrum. In SE Asia the spectrum runs from an authoritarian royal court of male privilege with rigid protocol to a collegiate hierarchy of male privilege with rounded edges (furthermore the countries these religious institutions exist in are often kingdoms - even dictatorships - and democracy where present can be fragile and lacking the social liberalism of for example the USA).  A progressive Western woke version drawing on feminist theory refreshingly seeks to realize more gender equity (although I'm unaware of a Mahasi version of this). Dhama talks will be some flavor of orthodox Buddhist fundamentalism (expect the full monty: Buddhist fire and brimstone, rebirth as an insect or wild animal destined for a short, violent, miserable life; the physical impossibility for a sotapanna to drink alcohol [an iron clad diagnostic proof]; in the olden days so and so arahant could enjoy special protection and walk unmolested through man-eating tiger infested primitive jungles because tigers discerned they were arahants and thus left them alone [note: no mention on the reliability of this as diagnostic test for Arahantship, re: the sotapanna alcohol verification] etc., etc.). Monks within the Mahasi tradition don’t get authorized to establish a meditation center or teach meditation without undergoing successful indoctrination into the core orthodox dogma, values, and practices of the tradition. If doctrine conflicts with science or reason, expect science or reason to be demoted (i.e. it’s not Pragmatic Dharma). Likewise if doctrine conflicts with other Buddhist or Theravadan sects and beliefs, expect those sects and beliefs to be rejected, demoted, or at best placed on equal footing (often with qualifications). Bear in mind the narcissism of small differences as you survey the doctrinal territory and the practice particularities inculcated at various venues.
In SE Asia you will likely live an ascetic existence like a monk with very basic accommodations lacking in the comforts Westerners are accustomed to. A bed of 1-1.5” of old beat out open cell foam padding on a hard slab can pass for your bed depending where you land. Snakes, large scorpions, hand size spiders, lizards, mischievous monkeys, and other critters may abound depending where you go. Some venues are extremely noisy places near neighborhoods with boisterous inhabitants, unending construction, block-party type celebrations, and even periods of banshee level screaming and goings on. All monks may not speak English or translators might be provided for interviews or dhama talks. Food can be all over the map: tasty, interesting, weird, unidentifiable, inedible (to you), abundant, or perhaps at times exhausted if you’re at the end of the line (opportunity to practice dispassion). No evening snack, expect to fast 17-18hrs a day, and don’t expect evening caffeine.

YMMV.


PS: in the DhO wiki there's a section 'Retreat Centers and Places to Practice' which has some descriptions/reviews of various retreat venues, which may be of use in your search. Bear in mind the dates of entries as conditions, policies, and circumstances may have changed.

Edit: grammar and minor clarifications

shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 2:27 PM
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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Really great reply Monsoon Frog!
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RE: The Path to the Arahant

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I was in a similar situation to you Adi. For a while I fantasized about escaping to a monastery to get enlightened, but fortunately it wasn't an option. It forced me to figure out that my desire to become enlightened somewhere else in the future was basically a reflection of my dissatisfaction with life, a dissatisfaction that I would doubtless have taken with me wherever I went. I was lucky in that I could practice for a few hours each day while my kids were in school, interspersed with work.
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Brandon Dayton, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 3:47 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 3:47 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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I was in a similar situation to you Adi. For a while I fantasized about escaping to a monastery to get enlightened, but fortunately it wasn't an option. It forced me to figure out that my desire to become enlightened somewhere else in the future was basically a reflection of my dissatisfaction with life, a dissatisfaction that I would doubtless have taken with me wherever I went. I was lucky in that I could practice for a few hours each day while my kids were in school, interspersed with work.


This is one of those insights that comes more and more clearly to me as time progresses. This life, exactly as it is, is the one I need to awaken to. Everything in it is a tool to do so.
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 4:47 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 4:47 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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Stefan Stefan, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 5:26 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 5:24 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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This life, exactly as it is, is the one I need to awaken to. Everything in it is a tool to do so.

Well said, Brandon. Awakening is endless, if we seek conditions for it to happen like the perfect retreat centre, then we're setting ourselves up for disappointment. It's important to explore our motivations always; not saying retreats are bad (they're fantastic actually) but they're not a necessary prerequisite.
Monsoon Frog, modified 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 7:58 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/5/22 6:55 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 67 Join Date: 3/16/14 Recent Posts
Travis John Mohr wrote:

"I have done several Goenka courses as well. Arranging a sitting / serving routine for prolonged duration retreat is a great idea! Thank you for that. I do prefer Noting... and I have to say regardless of the name "noting" that my practice has become very much my own and is guided by the pragmatism the in-the-moment experience. I will have to give some thought into how I would feel about being in a Goenka retreat situation while having a practice that is so deeply personal (and less in need of the strict guidelines of the Goenka technique)."


I've not been in the role of server on a Goenka retreat so I can't speak to that (I have stayed on after a retreat for a couple days to offer my services). Interspersing or incorporating service with meditation practice - either through alternating roles of server and retreatant in the Goenka system or some variation of work/study (i.e. work/meditate) arrangement, long term working resident, etc. - although not strictly the sort of long term exclusive meditation based situation you're pursuing - might offer a beneficial contrast to your formal meditation practice by broadening and deepening it. Grounding a practice in community through service can leaven the creep of potential target fixation, tunnel vision, and acquisitive craving of 'my spiritual project' syndrome and aid to successful life integration of the path by fleshing it out.

If you reflect on Daniel Ingram and also his two 'Pragmatic Dharma' teachers Bill Hamilton and Kenneth Folk, they all involved themselves in service. MCTB2 describes Dan's volunteer and other work, Kenneth from his own biographic statements worked at IMS and met his wife there, and Hamilton also worked in the IMS community plus volunteered for a year working for the Friends of Peace Pilgrim. All of them taught meditation and wrote (and still do). The DhO website and forum is another instance of the service component of the path. The aforementioned just being a few instances of the many that readily come to mind.

Dan's monastic teachers also pursue this aspect of the dhama by definition: offering their time teaching others (as do the invaluable wise contributors on this forum). Further I can't begin to fathom the myriad of ways Dan's various monastic teachers have engaged that aspect of the dhama. To give jiust one example Bhante Gunaratana's (aka Bhante G.) entry on wikipedia states "After his education, he was sent to India for missionary work as a representative of the Maha Bodhi Society. He primarily served the Untouchables in Sanchi, Delhi, and Bombay".

I realize this is not in line with the specific retreat question you asked and I’m in no way implying or suggesting that you change your goal. It may, or may not, aid your present efforts. I fully understand people have a different focus at different periods of their life and practice: where their head is at is exactly where they have to be. 

However, you may wish to consider it as an alternative or backup strategy when investigating retreats because it opens up additional opportunities at the various meditation centers - including access to long term practice which might prove elusive or cost prohibitive - and thus may give you a larger pool of options to chose from to find the best fit.
Eudoxos , modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 4:56 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 4:56 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 103 Join Date: 4/6/14 Recent Posts
Sice you are considering SE Asia, I can recommend the international center in Chom Tong (Chiang Mai region), https://northernvipassana.org/en/ . The practice you get there is Thai-style Mahasi, with daily interviews. No rituals besides prostrations and (entirely optional) uposatha ceremonies. You can stay longer, but they will probably ask you to do several weeks retreat first, and then see whether to continue. The accomodation is comfortable (some rooms has A/C, almost all rooms have their own shower/toilet, mosquito nets in the windows etc).
XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:12 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 8:40 AM

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Eudoxos , modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 10:03 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 10:03 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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The website is rudimentary, though there is DhO wiki page which lots of practical information (the contact details are still correct). They have been half-empty since covid-19 hit due to travel restrictions for tourists (they are being lifted little by little) so availability won't be a problem these days. Let me know if you need to know something specific. Good luck emoticon
XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:13 AM
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 11:37 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 11:37 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 6297 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I just want to wish you welcome to the forum, Travis, and say that I'm relieved to see that you are getting relevant replies now. I'm one of the moderators too, and while I agree with Chris and others that the most helpful reply isn't always what somebody asks for, I still often find myself wishing that people would be somewhat less prone to assume that the person who asks doesn't know shit and somewhat less prone to discard the questions asked. I hope you find what you are looking for, and while you are looking, I also hope you will like it here at DhO. This can be a truly awesome place. There are so many skilled practicioners here who generously share their experiences. I'm sorry that your first expression was a bit awkward, if it was.  
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 1:30 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 1:30 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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I'm one of the moderators too, and while I agree with Chris and others that the most helpful reply isn't always what somebody asks for, I still often find myself wishing that people would be somewhat less prone to assume that the person who asks doesn't know shit and somewhat less prone to discard the questions asked.

​​​​​​​!!!
Eudoxos , modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 2:53 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 2:53 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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I was in Panditarama for 2 months and did not find it very supportive (5 minutes interview every other day, especially), the atmosphere in Chom Tong suits me somehow better; there is less of the uber-seriousness, though the practice itself is no less hardcore (I was quite frustrated to hear the teachers telling me to be mindful of the seriousness, but it was exactly what I need emoticon ). But of course YMMV.
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terry, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 4:16 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 4:16 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 2168 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
the moving finger points, and having pointed, moves on...

sometimes a question is asked which involves an internal contradiction...you know what the guy wants but still, no answer is going to help, and the info actually desired doesn't really fit into the puka provided...

the buddha is not a secular figure, you can't be a saint absent religion, being an arhat isn't a matter of desire, etc, etc; not merely awkward, and expressly not open to new ideas...if you are asking us, we're not all monsoon frogs, whose answer was informative and covered sufficient bases the criticisms slid by without penetrating (and it was fine work, btw, certainly beyond my capabilities)...


the truth is, no one actually wants to hear the truth, no one wants to be awakened, no matter what they say...it happens against their will...

dogs and philosophers...

woof,
t
XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:14 AM
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XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:13 AM
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George S, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 9:21 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 6:58 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 2402 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I don’t think anyone here is trying to screw around. The point is - you can’t actually become an arahant, except in a linguistic sense, because the unconditioned (nibbana) is an end of becoming (bhava in dependent origination). The only thing you end up becoming on this path is what you already are, like it or not (mostly not, which is what keeps us craving to become something else!) But anyway, you’ve probably gottta do whatever you gotta do to land the first two paths before the reality of the situation starts to sink in. Good luck!
XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:15 AM
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Adi Vader, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 10:24 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 10:24 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 110 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
I read the entire thread looking for unkindness and bullying. I did not find it. I looked at my own reply, I did not find it.

I apologise if I have hurt you. But please know that it wasnt intended.

It is my very serious and sincere suggestion to you to stop mahasi noting indefinitely. Build a very broad skill set, particularly targeted towards tranquility, equanimity and joy.

Do Insight practices that are designed for anatma and not for anitya and dukkha. Proceed to noting only after these prerequisites are met.

In noting, noting has to move on thorough attention or yoniso manasekara.
Attention has to move on to a bidirectional arrow of attention.

​​​​​​​In my best judgment that is the way forward.
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Stefan Stefan, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 10:35 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 10:35 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 238 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
When you go mining for gold, you're gonna get dirt along the way and the dirt is only disappointing if you're inclined to believe that dirt is disappointing

With that being said, everyone here has generously pointed out little tidbits that may be of help to you. Your defensiveness only perks up more people to prod and push... Let it go and enjoy the chaos, it's all a very teachable moment; nothing ever goes as planned, having strict expectations is always going to lead to some disappointment.

​​​​​​​In your OP you said you'd like to do things in service to others. ​​​​​​​Your specific question has auxiliary implications. While some contributors may not explicitly touch on your specific question their posts may be helping onlookers.

 Or, it just means nothing.

You may not need that retreat after all
XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:16 AM
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XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:15 AM
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Adi Vader, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 11:46 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 11:46 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 110 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Yes, for better or for worse, this does seem to be happening emoticon

And no The Russians have nothing to do with it, but ... they are a sneaky bunch, you never know!

Yes, I stated very clearly what you should do in your practice, you dont have to see it as an imposition. We are two people having a conversation. Perhaps it doesnt seem friendly or helpful to you. I respect your point of view.

​​​​​​​Take care and best wishes.
Monsoon Frog, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 1:22 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 12:41 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 67 Join Date: 3/16/14 Recent Posts
Hi X.O. Hologram (aka John Travis Mohr?),
I read your OP edits declaring your departure from the forum.
If you're still lurking I would strongly urge you to rethink your enthusiasm for practice in Myanmar (Burma).

Myanmar is still dealing with the effects of a military coup in 2021 when a military junta overthrew the democratically elected government. The US embassy still shows a 'Level 4 -  Do Not Travel' advisory for Myanmar based on civil unrest, armed conflict, and Covid-19.
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/burma-travel-advisory.html

The country is run by thugs who have no respect for human rights: massacre, ethnic cleansing, murder, and military trials are all on the menu. Niether men, women, children, journalists, monks, nor Americans are safe.

[FYI I've spent a couple months in retreat in Burma a few years back. You were required to obtain a religious visa in order to do a retreat for that length of time (tourist visas are for shorter periods of 2 or 3 weeks, I forgot which). You also needed to obtain a sponsor letter from the religious institution to apply for the visa. There's strict limitations on the visa as it is for religious instruction only and it doesn't permit you travel and sight-see like a tourist ... going anywhere except directly to the monastery would be a violation of the visa. I imagine arranging a retreat now is much more difficult - if not impossible - with the civil unrest, political violence, and Covid-19 lockdowns ].


X.O. Hologram
Your tip for the Chiangmai center led me to look into what is in Myanmar (since it is relatively close)... and I found two Mahasi centers there! So I will be looking closely at those as well. I'm very excited -- getting a better idea of what to look for (which was the biggest obstacle).
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 4:38 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 4:35 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 6297 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Moderator message:

Enough with the unrequested advice on the right path now! It isn't wanted and you don't have enough information to give it anyway! This isn't a practice log. It is a request about centers for prolonged retreats. If you haven't got anything valuable to contribute there, then please shut up!

I don't think it is intended as bullying, but some positioning is definitely going on, consciously or unconsciously, and that's uncalled for (and a valid investigation object - and if one is certain to have finished the insight path, then it is valid as morality work; however you slice and dice it, it's worth looking into). I have been taught that one only teaches when asked to. While cultures may vary with regard to that, I'm asking you all to at least respect it when somebody explicitly says over and over again that they aren't asking for teachings in this thread.

While I thought that the question was clear enough, I think the title of the thread might be misleading, especially for lazy readers. Maybe if you, X.O. hologram, change it to something that specifically addresses the request for retreats centers, it will attract more of the right attention and less of the unwanted advice on the path.

I'm sorry to say that due to a fairly recent upgrade, the message function on this forum doesn't work. You are welcome to message me on linda@orulv.se. Sorry for the trouble!

As for the moderating at DhO, we are currently two active moderators, both of us doing it on our spare time. This forum requires for people to take own responsibility for their behavior on the forum (and if one can't be blamed because there is no doer, then the consequential banning isn't done by any doer either, just so not-you not-know).

As for those who feel the need to tell the OP to let go of stuff, please follow your own advice!

I'm posting this on different locations in the thread for the purpose of visibility. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 4:38 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 4:38 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 6297 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Moderator message:

Enough with the unrequested advice on the right path now! It isn't wanted and you don't have enough information to give it anyway! This isn't a practice log. It is a request about centers for prolonged retreats. If you haven't got anything valuable to contribute there, then please shut up!

I don't think it is intended as bullying, but some positioning is definitely going on, consciously or unconsciously, and that's uncalled for (and a valid investigation object - and if one is certain to have finished the insight path, then it is valid as morality work; however you slice and dice it, it's worth looking into). I have been taught that one only teaches when asked to. While cultures may vary with regard to that, I'm asking you all to at least respect it when somebody explicitly says over and over again that they aren't asking for teachings in this thread.

While I thought that the question was clear enough, I think the title of the thread might be misleading, especially for lazy readers. Maybe if you, X.O. hologram, change it to something that specifically addresses the request for retreats centers, it will attract more of the right attention and less of the unwanted advice on the path.

I'm sorry to say that due to a fairly recent upgrade, the message function on this forum doesn't work. You are welcome to message me on linda@orulv.se. Sorry for the trouble!

As for the moderating at DhO, we are currently two active moderators, both of us doing it on our spare time. This forum requires for people to take own responsibility for their behavior on the forum (and if one can't be blamed because there is no doer, then the consequential banning isn't done by any doer either, just so not-you not-know).

As for those who feel the need to tell the OP to let go of stuff, please follow your own advice!

I'm posting this on different locations in the thread for the purpose of visibility. 
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 5:49 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 5:49 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 4356 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
There was nothing posted on this topic by anyone that violates the DhO Terms of Service. There was an interest, certainly on my part, to help the original poster based on the topic title and his/her desire to achieve a specific objective. Hard to imagine why that's so upsetting, but it was. In my best judgment, this is a tempest in a teapot.

Let's move on.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:14 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:14 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 6297 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
We seem to have a slight disagreement inbetween the two active moderators here, which is one of the reasons why I find that we might need a discussion on the culture of DhO.

Just to be clear, I didn't say that anyone has violated any rules. The passage on the role of moderating was intended as a more general note. Sorry of that was unclear. 

But seriously, do we really need rules to tell us that when someone specifically says no thanks to something, maybe our energy could be better spent than on insisting on that specific thing? Of course, before someone explicitly says no thanks, we can't know for sure. But after they did, why not just move on? And by moving on, I mean without doing that final higher-than-though move that it is all too human to do. 
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:24 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:24 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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There's nothing to argue about, Linda, and I see no value in making an issue, or new rules, due to anything that occurred on this topic. I moved on, and stated so when it became obvious that the original poster wasn't interested in what I was asking her/him. But... this is a public message board. It has always been a place where the practice has taken precedent. People can, and always have, posted freely as they feel it appropriate to respond. Frankly, I assumed the person was interested in talking about their practice due to the topic's title and the OP wording, or at least open to a discussion. His/her last set of reactions are rather extreme (anger given the nature of the responses, wanted or not), so I do think just moving on is the best course of action.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:25 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:25 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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Wasn't that exactly what I was suggesting?
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:28 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:28 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

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Absolutely. And wisely.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:31 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 6297 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Ah, so then we are in agreement. For some reason, I find it hard to tell with you. Thanks for clarifying! 
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:52 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 6:51 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 1747 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Sometimes people "protest too much", specifically rejecting what they most need to hear. Sometimes people need to hear things they don't want to here. So is it more compassionate to not say it? Or to say it anyway?

Sorry, there is a lot of gray area here. I don't think a dogmatic rule makes sense. 
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J W, modified 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 2:00 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/7/22 2:00 PM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 586 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Depends on how/when/under what circumstances it is being said, and to who it is being said. Hard to tell. 
But I think all advice given on this thread was coming from a genuine place.
XO Hologram, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 2:09 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 1:40 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 20 Join Date: 1/3/22 Recent Posts
Linda, thank you so much for your voice of reason. I am quite disgusted by the pushy behavior and assumed moral high ground of many contributors on this forum. Nobody here knows my practice, my path, or what has been accomplished with it. Making recommendation or criticisms to such is preposterous and completely out of line. Regarding such, I am even suspicious as to the crowd here; based on how so many have responded, I would not be surprised if many here weren't even meditators... I cannot overstate how shocked I am by what I have seen here. And from Chris M. of all people (a moderator). Shame on you. What a terrible example to set. Sila matters, and because of this I suspect there is a lot of false-attainment going on in this online community. The path of insight tends to cultivate, well, mindfulness and respect. Where it is obviously lacking, progress is overstated.

This forum should stand above the crowd so to speak. Instead, it is bringing shame to what should be a shining light in this world. 

As a means of protest, I decided to delete all of my responses (apart from this one) along with the  original post. I would delete the whole thread if I could. May the ashes hopefully nouriah the roots for something better in this community. 

I will likely speak with Daniel about this. Something is very much not right here. 

With sadness and utter disappointment -- X.O. Hologram 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 4:15 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 4:13 AM

RE: The Path to the Arahant

Posts: 2404 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I was very close to say how Im on Linda's side of things in this thread but dude you ought to change your diapers emoticon BTW, I have some, use 'em on my 8-month-old baby kiddo emoticon I will be glad to give you a few as Dana emoticon 

Are you the original poster? Why change your forum name? Why remove all the thread titles? 

Stuff can get very shakey on this path and at times we can get very defensive and very emotional and this is OK emoticon Its part of this path just do not blow up everything along the way and SNAP OUT of it emoticon We are friends, not your enemies emoticon And yes we too are meditators and dealing with such issues. 

I wish you to reconsider your "hurt" feelings and give this community a chance. No one is PERFECT emoticon 

So ... emoticon you want this Dana or not emoticon the free diapers I mean emoticon 

Best wishes and may all beings be happy, free from suffering, may all awaken! 
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 8:56 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/8/22 8:56 AM

RE: .

Posts: 4356 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
As a means of protest, I decided to delete all of my responses (apart from this one) along with the  original post. I would delete the whole thread if I could. May the ashes hopefully nouriah the roots for something better in this community. 

This person, the original poster quoted above, has chosen to delete all of their comments on this topic that followed the original post, and this effectively ruins the continuity of the topic. So I'm locking this topic now, preserving what's left of it.

- Chris
​​​​​​​DhO Moderator