Upasaka Culadasa

Upasaka Culadasa Daniel F Connor 11/2/11 8:54 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Ian And 11/3/11 12:56 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Daniel M. Ingram 11/30/11 12:23 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Ian And 1/26/12 12:55 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Tommy M 11/3/11 6:45 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Daniel F Connor 11/3/11 8:14 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa George A Cutter 11/29/11 4:42 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 1/24/12 2:07 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Eric B 1/24/12 11:08 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Psi 8/15/15 12:59 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa chris mc 8/15/15 1:50 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Darin 11/25/15 3:50 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa John Power 12/2/15 4:00 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jinxed P 12/2/15 9:27 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Teague 12/3/15 7:42 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa John Power 12/3/15 10:22 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jinxed P 12/3/15 2:26 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Teague 12/4/15 9:48 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jinxed P 12/5/15 1:18 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa John Power 12/5/15 2:30 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Daniel M. Ingram 12/6/15 2:27 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jinxed P 12/6/15 1:50 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Daniel M. Ingram 12/6/15 2:13 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jinxed P 12/13/15 1:31 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Daniel M. Ingram 12/13/15 10:11 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Marek Mark 12/23/15 4:04 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jack Hatfield 2/18/16 1:49 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Lewis James 2/19/16 4:56 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jack Hatfield 2/19/16 1:14 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jon Krop 2/27/16 1:26 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jinxed P 2/28/16 7:45 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jon Krop 3/11/16 8:43 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jinxed P 3/11/16 5:08 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jon Krop 3/18/16 5:15 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Dada Kind 12/14/15 3:26 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Joakim Bobbetibob 12/15/15 6:42 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Teague 12/5/15 5:24 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa tom moylan 3/14/16 5:15 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa elizabeth 5/14/17 4:02 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa C P M 5/12/17 7:47 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa : ladyfrog : 5/12/17 9:14 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Andrew K 5/14/17 2:20 AM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa elizabeth 5/14/17 4:07 PM
RE: Upasaka Culadasa Jeff Wright 5/25/17 10:03 AM
Daniel F Connor, modified 10 Years ago at 11/2/11 8:54 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/2/11 8:54 PM

Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 2 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
I first discovered Culadasa while reading the yahoo jhana_insight forum, and found his meditation manual available there immensely useful. It is also available on his website at http://dharmatreasure.com/ I'm surprised to see relatively little mention of him here.

The manual covers starting a practice and extends to access concentration. It's written and structured in a clear fashion I found refreshing.

He also runs some retreats in arizona, and this feb/march will be doing a 10-day retreat in masachussetts.
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Ian And, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 12:56 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 12:56 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
"Daniel F Conner":
I'm surprised to see relatively little mention of him here.

I've had dealings with Upasaka Culadasa (aka John Yates) while I spent some time at the same yahoo group list service. He indeed knows what he's talking about and is well worth listening to and reading. He has a very good way of describing the experiential stages of development that many people might find to be not only eloquent but uncannily accurate. His writing etcetera is well worth looking into, especially for people just starting out.

As to why he may not be mentioned much here, I don't think he's into the Dharma hardcore movement in the way that Daniel Ingram defines it. He is doing his own thing, so to speak. Each to his own.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 6:45 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 6:45 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Apparently Shinzen Young speaks very highly of him too, and having read his take on things he really knows his stuff. His descriptions are, as Ian mentions, incredibly accurate and well phrased, there's no doubt whatsoever that he's a highly skilled dude.
Daniel F Connor, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 8:14 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 8:14 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 2 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
That's funny- I actually had a conversation with Shinzen about Culadasa- a couple of years ago. Same impression.
George A Cutter, modified 10 Years ago at 11/29/11 4:42 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/29/11 4:42 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Post: 1 Join Date: 11/29/11 Recent Posts
I've studied on and off with Upasaka Culadasa (John Yates) for about 10 years. He is a well-kept secret. He is extremely knowledgeable, and has a gift for making the dharma remarkably clear, even self-evident. He is an expert in jhana practice. All of his teachings that have been recorded are available for free on his website (http://DharmaTreasure.com). Check out the "Teaching Retreats" section.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 10 Years ago at 11/30/11 12:23 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/30/11 12:23 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
@Ian: I haven't heard of him. What would you say were his basic differences from what we are interested in doing here?

I will post a link to his stuff on the Links section.

D
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 1/24/12 2:07 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/24/12 2:07 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
Bumping this, as I am currently finding Culadasa's descriptions very helpful.
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Eric B, modified 10 Years ago at 1/24/12 11:08 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/24/12 11:08 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 187 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Bumping this, as I am currently finding Culadasa's descriptions very helpful.


There's also some great stuff of his to be mined over on the Yahoo group Jhana Insight. It requires some digging to find it but is well worth the effort.
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Ian And, modified 10 Years ago at 1/26/12 12:55 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/26/12 12:55 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
@Ian: I haven't heard of him. What would you say were his basic differences from what we are interested in doing here?

Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been monitoring this thread.

He's more of a traditionalist in terms of Dhamma practice, not nearly as "out there" in terms of giving credence to questionable practices such as the Actual Freedom crowd. As one should be able to tell by the religious name he chooses to be known by.

I should say that I haven't had contact with him for several years now, so I'm not certain which direction he may be going in, other than the one posted on his website.

Although I must say, he's right there with you in terms of your hardcore approach to the meditation technology and diligence in its practice. He had quite a few good things to say about your approach to meditation, as I recall, a few years back when you first appeared on the E-sangha scene and were first becoming known and talked about in more traditional circles.
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 8/15/15 12:59 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 8/15/15 12:59 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Daniel F Connor:
I first discovered Culadasa while reading the yahoo jhana_insight forum, and found his meditation manual available there immensely useful. It is also available on his website at http://dharmatreasure.com/ I'm surprised to see relatively little mention of him here.

The manual covers starting a practice and extends to access concentration. It's written and structured in a clear fashion I found refreshing.

He also runs some retreats in arizona, and this feb/march will be doing a 10-day retreat in masachussetts.
Just FYI, Culadasa is having a booked released October 6, 2015

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mind-Illuminated-Meditation-Integrating/dp/0990847705


And this is a link to a meditation manual, which I have not read yet, again FYI

http://dharmatreasure.com/wp-content/uploads/LightOnMeditationHandout.pdf


Psi
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chris mc, modified 7 Years ago at 8/15/15 1:50 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 8/15/15 1:49 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 56 Join Date: 5/31/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for posting the link.  I skimmed through the "Look inside" preview on the Amazon page.

Culadasa's 'style' of meditation seems to be samatha (calm abiding/tranquility instead of absorption) and vipassana yoked together, similar to the TWIM that Ven Vimalaramsi teaches.  Which is, according to my limited understanding of the suttas, what the Buddha taught - instead of separate concentration and insight practices. 

From what I've read, it's supposed to be a more pleasing practice, easier to live with off the cushion, with less of a dark night element.

I'm going to order the book.
Darin, modified 6 Years ago at 11/25/15 3:50 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/25/15 3:50 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 22 Join Date: 2/3/13 Recent Posts
I'm working my way through The Mind Illuminated. I've benefited greatly from the techniques aimed at improving concentration, including techniques aimed at warding off dullness and agitation to keep the mind in the sweet spot for sustained periods of time. My plan is to return to noting once my concentration is sharper. The other thing that I like about the book is the neuro scientific explanations (with diagrams) of the workings of the mind.
John Power, modified 6 Years ago at 12/2/15 4:00 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/2/15 4:00 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 95 Join Date: 3/16/14 Recent Posts
In this video Culadasa talks about giving a talk at the Buddhist Geek Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5He0q5u5yY

But I can´t find this talk ´Here Comes the Sun: Achieving Awakening Without the Dark Night´.
Can anyone find it?
Jinxed P, modified 6 Years ago at 12/2/15 9:27 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/2/15 9:27 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
John Power:
In this video Culadasa talks about giving a talk at the Buddhist Geek Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5He0q5u5yY

But I can´t find this talk ´Here Comes the Sun: Achieving Awakening Without the Dark Night´.
Can anyone find it?


He never gave it due to health reasons. Lyme disease iirc.
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Teague, modified 6 Years ago at 12/3/15 7:42 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/3/15 7:42 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 104 Join Date: 8/1/11 Recent Posts
I sat a 10 day solo retreat at his Cochise Stronghold ranch last year.  He's open (or was at the time) to letting people come and practice at his land and will give interviews and feedback if you like.  He's aware of Dan and MCTB and thinks that it's legit, but probably not for everyone.  I would say that his approach is just as hardcore as what we're used to, but just different.  

He is much more samadi oriented and has his own (or assimilated) stages of concentration that correspond directly with vipassana jhanas, and his stance is that when you rise through them with concentration, then the dark night is just a blip.

When I returned from that retreat, I tried to follow just his method of practice exclusively, but without good results.  I stopped getting into EQ for 9 months :-(  But that shouldn't deter people from trying.  His book is out now and has lots of great info.  He has a PHd in phsychology or something, so has lots of great insights into what's actually (or maybe) going on with consciousness.
John Power, modified 6 Years ago at 12/3/15 10:22 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/3/15 10:22 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 95 Join Date: 3/16/14 Recent Posts
I hope that his health will improve.

@Teague: Do you know why the method didn´t work when you got back home? Because you could not sit enough or because daily life?

Is there a place were you can buy the book in € instead of $?
Jinxed P, modified 6 Years ago at 12/3/15 2:26 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/3/15 2:26 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Teague:
I sat a 10 day solo retreat at his Cochise Stronghold ranch last year.  He's open (or was at the time) to letting people come and practice at his land and will give interviews and feedback if you like.  He's aware of Dan and MCTB and thinks that it's legit, but probably not for everyone.  I would say that his approach is just as hardcore as what we're used to, but just different.  

He is much more samadi oriented and has his own (or assimilated) stages of concentration that correspond directly with vipassana jhanas, and his stance is that when you rise through them with concentration, then the dark night is just a blip.

When I returned from that retreat, I tried to follow just his method of practice exclusively, but without good results.  I stopped getting into EQ for 9 months :-(  But that shouldn't deter people from trying.  His book is out now and has lots of great info.  He has a PHd in phsychology or something, so has lots of great insights into what's actually (or maybe) going on with consciousness.
Did he let you stay for free? How did your organize that? Did you just shoot him an email?

Are you familiar with his 10 stages? How far along did you get when you tried to practice just his methods? What were your biggest hurdles etc?
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Teague, modified 6 Years ago at 12/4/15 9:48 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/4/15 9:47 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 104 Join Date: 8/1/11 Recent Posts
@ John:  I think my raw concentration power is not that great.  It can get decent when I sit a course, but otherwise it's just middling.  But that's just concentration on its own.  I've experienced profound concentration, but its come as a by-product of doing vipassana.  I think that vipassana is something that you can do with brute force (at least sometimes), whereas concentration is more finessed.  I've found that when my mind is very scattered I can still do really coarse scanning or noting and it's enough to propel me up the progress of insight, whereas if I just try to do concentration I will space out for hours at a time.  I did have a few sits at that retreat and others where I strictly followed the breath and found that I move up through the same territory, so that sort of proves to me that Culadasa method would work.  It's like vipassana and samadi are ladders up against the same wall, but the vipassana ladder is easier for me to climb and it leads a bit higher: awakening.

You can read about my experience leading up to and coming back from the retreat here:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5571895

It was a little strange.  I had great momentum leading up to the retreat, and I had great sits during the retreat.  And then the next day after getting home, I started trying to simply follow Culadasa’s teaching, and I felt like I had never meditated before.  I accepted not getting to EQ for a few weeks, but I eventually started doing vipassana again, and I felt like a beginner in that too.  Only recently, nine months later, have I been regaining steam.

@ Jinxed:  The hallmark of the 8th or 9th stage (I can't remember which) is that you can let go of effort.  I could do that.  I can't remember the other symptoms of those stages, but they sounded familiar to me, and Culadasa verified what I described in my sits.  It's been awhile since I read the stages, but I remember that stage 10 sounded pretty crazy.  Like, I wasn't there.

My biggest hurdle is that pure concentration is really hard.  It gets so insanely subtle that sometimes its hard to tell if your mind has actually wandered or not.  When I wasn’t using Vipassana to get up to a point where concentration becomes easy, it took me herculean effort to stay concentrated.  This is probably a reason why this technique may not be for everyone, and why so many people have had success with noting.

I heard about Culadasa from a friend at Buddhist Geeks.  I checked out the website (http://dharmatreasure.org/retreats/)  and filled out a thing for a solo retreat.  An assistant teacher got back to me and eventually approved my stay.  They charge a fee for staying at the ranch to cover their basic costs, and then the teachings/interviews are based off donations.  His land is totally gorgeous.  Excellent environment for a retreat, but it can get chilly in the winter.  There is a kitchen there, and you cook your own food.  His wife makes grocery runs and can buy supplies.  Also, there is a hot tub.  I took a hot tub every night I was there :-)

-T
Jinxed P, modified 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 1:18 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 1:18 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Thanks Teague,

I have his book and I absolutely love it. Although it stops short of how to do insight practices. Do you know what Culadasa would recommend for doing insight once one has reached his stage 10 of samatha? Is he a proponent of noting?
John Power, modified 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 2:30 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 2:29 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 95 Join Date: 3/16/14 Recent Posts
Thanks for your answer Teague.

To refer back to the subject Culadasa was about to speak about ´Achieving Awakening Without the Dark Night´. Does he write about this in his book? Or speaks about this some place else?
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Teague, modified 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 5:24 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 5:24 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 104 Join Date: 8/1/11 Recent Posts
Jinxed P:
Thanks Teague,

I have his book and I absolutely love it. Although it stops short of how to do insight practices. Do you know what Culadasa would recommend for doing insight once one has reached his stage 10 of samatha? Is he a proponent of noting?

I'm a little hazy on the specifics of his teaching cause it's been a little while, but I think that he sees his teaching as a hybrid of vipassana and samadi and that if you follow his method then by the time you've reached stage 10 then you'll have passed through the dark night and are in equanimity.  I remember reading a chapter which gives instructions for moving your attention through the body, which is essentially the same vipassana technique they teach in Goenka courses.  I can't remember if the book gives instructions to pay attention to the 3 characteristics or not.  I did talk with him about this stuff, but like I said, my memory is hazy.

I do know that he thinks that noting is a valid technique, but he thinks that the reason people have such difficult and long dark nights is because they move quickly up the progress of insight using a technique like noting and don't have a strong foundation in samadi.

My personal opinion is that once you know the essentials of viapassana, and have made some progress in the progress of insight, then it's almost impossible to do pure samadi.  I can focus entirely on the breath and eventually find myself in the equanimity ñana.  Maybe it's the fourth jhana, but jhanas have always been murkier for me, whereas ñanas present themselves relatively clearly.

I really wish my concentration powers were greater, because his decriptions of hard jhana sound awesome.

@ John:  I don't recall reading about the dark night in the book, but the version I read was printouts in a three-ring binder at the center.  It was still being added to and revised so there may be a section on it that I didn't see.  Last year he was going to give a talk at Buddhist Geeks on that subject, but wasn't well enough to travel.  If you haven't already gotten the book, I'd say just go for it.  It has excellent material not found in any other dharma books (that I know of).
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 2:27 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 2:27 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

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I talked a lot with Culadasa (heck of a nice guy with very deep insight) back in June at Omega at the dharma teacher's conference, and his basic point about the Dark Night was that a sufficiently concentrated and properly tamed mind need not go into that territory.

It is definitely true that, if one has very strong and stable concentration, and then one uses that as a basis of insight while still maintaining that high degree of attention control and regulation, then one (or, I should say "some") can traverse the stages of insight, including the Dark Night, without any obvious Dark Night effects. See my descriptions of fire kasina practice for more on this.
Jinxed P, modified 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 1:50 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 1:50 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Daniel,

In Culadasa's book, he does not go into great detail on how to do insight practices. He does mention Mahasi noting though..did you guys discuss insight practices? Any idea what kind of insight practice he would recommend once someone has traversed his 10 stages of samatha. The only downside to his otherwise excellent book is that he doesn't mention this.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 2:13 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 2:13 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

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We did talk about insight practices, concentration practices, attainments, how those attainments field-tested, and other things. I guess that he would say that he is saying how to do insight practices, just a version fused and integrated with concentration, as he advocates for strong concentration and also strong clarity about what that directed and trained attention is revealing. 
Jinxed P, modified 6 Years ago at 12/13/15 1:31 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/13/15 1:31 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
We did talk about insight practices, concentration practices, attainments, how those attainments field-tested, and other things. I guess that he would say that he is saying how to do insight practices, just a version fused and integrated with concentration, as he advocates for strong concentration and also strong clarity about what that directed and trained attention is revealing. 
What did you guys discuss with regards to attainments? One of the things that it would seem you guys diverge on is that Culadasa does mention in his book that the end of suffering (not pain) is possible. Did you guys get into that?
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 6 Years ago at 12/13/15 10:11 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/13/15 10:11 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
We actually had a great conversation about attainments in their phenomenological particulars and how they field-test in reality, but the problem is that I didn't have the sense at the time to ask him how public that knowledge was and the degree of privacy of that conversation, as those sitting around that particular table were some pretty heavy cats and so the question didn't come up. Thus, you should ask him yourself, as I can be sure that he would want me talking about it. My apologies for not being able to say more.
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Dada Kind, modified 6 Years ago at 12/14/15 3:26 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/14/15 3:26 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 633 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
But I thought one of the takeaways from that kasina retreat was that strong concentration can bring up serious stuff. MCTB says this also. So the idea that one can just concentrate to bypass the Dark Night doesn't seem consistent with ^ if we're defining the Dark Night broadly.

For your "some", could you conjecture some conditions?
Joakim Bobbetibob, modified 6 Years ago at 12/15/15 6:42 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/15/15 6:42 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

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Droll Dedekind:
But I thought one of the takeaways from that kasina retreat was that strong concentration can bring up serious stuff. MCTB says this also. So the idea that one can just concentrate to bypass the Dark Night doesn't seem consistent with ^ if we're defining the Dark Night broadly.

For your "some", could you conjecture some conditions?

I'm not the most advanced on this forum. But I think the answer here would be that a concentrated mind is a happier mind, and being in a joyous state helps when your stuff comes up - it is easier to see the reality of the experience. That's why it is recommended to start insight practice after some concentration is developed. Sometimes when you're happy and a dark memory comes up you can just laugh it off, because you see how ridicilous it was to have such thoughts and feelings about it, you see the story from a different perspective and is able to simply drop it. Whereas if you're taking up issues from an agitated state, you are more likely to add to the story.

I wanted to add to this thread saying that his book "The Mind Illuminated" is simply incredible. It's the best book about meditation I've ever read. More than anything I would recommend it because it's so easy to read without shying away from difficult topics.
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Marek Mark, modified 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 4:04 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 4:03 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

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Jinxed P:
Daniel,

In Culadasa's book, he does not go into great detail on how to do insight practices. He does mention Mahasi noting though..did you guys discuss insight practices? Any idea what kind of insight practice he would recommend once someone has traversed his 10 stages of samatha. The only downside to his otherwise excellent book is that he doesn't mention this.

Culadasa describes stages of progress of insight with samatha-vipassana mindfulness technique here:
https://soundcloud.com/buddhistgeeks/culadasa-on-the-stages-of-meditation

I mainly practice mindfulness of breath instead of choiceless awareness noting so this kind of progress of insight sounds much more familiar to me than progress of insight described in MCTB.

The biggest difference I can see is that first insight into emptiness (i think it's Mind and Body from MCTB and sixth stage of Culadasa's progress) happens when you have clear (bare) awarness of sensations and see them as they realy are, but you can't recognise them conceptually so you can't label them. You can distinguish bare sensation from mental concept by ability to see only bare sensation. This is why I can't understand idea of noting technique.
Jack Hatfield, modified 6 Years ago at 2/18/16 1:49 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/18/16 1:49 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

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A quote from Culadasa's book:""It’s possible to achieve exclusive attention by just focusing over and over on the breath at the nose and ignoring subtle distractions until they fade away, but that can take a very long time. Experiencing the whole body with the breath is a faster and more enjoyable method that makes it much easier to completely ignore distractions." Here he describes whole body breath meditation: "When the perception of the breath at the abdomen is well-established, choose an isolated area of the body far from the abdomen, one where you wouldn’t expect to feel sensations related to breathing. Shift your attention to this area while at the same time keeping the sensations of the breath at the abdomen in your peripheral awareness. Consider the foot as an example. Shift the attention to the front half of one foot. Thoroughly examine all the sensations in that part of the foot without losing awareness of the breath. Investigate the foot sensations to see if any of them change with the in- or the out-breath. (When you first start, you will probably not notice any changes.) Repeat this with the back half of the same foot. Then, move to the calf and lower leg, again examining all the sensations while looking for any specifically connected to the breath.”

In my meditations I sometimes use the breath as it affects either my nose or abdomen as an anchor and then expand my attention to my whole body. Above Culadasa adds a wrinkle that eludes me. He is saying be aware of “the breath-related sensations occurring simultaneously throughout the whole body.”

Has anyone tried this meditation?
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Lewis James, modified 6 Years ago at 2/19/16 4:56 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/19/16 4:55 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

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Jack Hatfield:
In my meditations I sometimes use the breath as it affects either my nose or abdomen as an anchor and then expand my attention to my whole body. Above Culadasa adds a wrinkle that eludes me. He is saying be aware of “the breath-related sensations occurring simultaneously throughout the whole body.”

Has anyone tried this meditation?

I've been practicing using the book for a couple of months now. It's pretty much exactly as he describes - you're looking for tingling sensations that seem to shift with the in and out breath. Sometimes they're in sync, other times out of phase. If you don't feel anything, it's probably best to go back to focussing on the breath at the nose until you're in a calmer, higher state of concentration. For me, it's easiest to spot at the feet first. Once you get attuned to it, you can start to expand the attention outwards from the point you've located the sensations - so if you start at the feet, then try the lower legs, upper legs, hips, abdomen, etc, until you have the whole body in attention with these shifting sensations.
Jack Hatfield, modified 6 Years ago at 2/19/16 1:14 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/19/16 1:14 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 98 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
Lewis,

Thanks for your replay. It is very useful.
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Jon Krop, modified 6 Years ago at 2/27/16 1:26 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/27/16 1:26 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 7 Join Date: 7/17/15 Recent Posts
Hi! I'm a student of Culadasa's. On a long retreat with him, at one point I was in his Stage 6 but could not for the life of me find the "subtle breath sensations" (i.e., prana, chi, whatever) that you're supposed to use in his whole-body breath practice. I'd looked intensely for maybe a month. Finally, Culadasa pointed out that my stability of attention and intensity of perception had become more than adequate for Stage 6 practice, just through the concerted act of looking for the sensations, and that using the subtle breath sensations wasn't actually necessary. His theory was that I just wasn't allowing myself to see them -- that there was some mental block. He said to do the whole-body practice just using normal body sensations. I did, and it worked fine to move me through Stage 6 and into 7.

I wish Culadasa had mentioned in his book that actually finding and using the subtle breath sensations is optional. That could be an unnecessary roadblock for some people.
Jinxed P, modified 6 Years ago at 2/28/16 7:45 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/28/16 7:45 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Pucchaka:
Hi! I'm a student of Culadasa's. On a long retreat with him, at one point I was in his Stage 6 but could not for the life of me find the "subtle breath sensations" (i.e., prana, chi, whatever) that you're supposed to use in his whole-body breath practice. I'd looked intensely for maybe a month. Finally, Culadasa pointed out that my stability of attention and intensity of perception had become more than adequate for Stage 6 practice, just through the concerted act of looking for the sensations, and that using the subtle breath sensations wasn't actually necessary. His theory was that I just wasn't allowing myself to see them -- that there was some mental block. He said to do the whole-body practice just using normal body sensations. I did, and it worked fine to move me through Stage 6 and into 7.

I wish Culadasa had mentioned in his book that actually finding and using the subtle breath sensations is optional. That could be an unnecessary roadblock for some people.

Hey, I'm considering doing a retreat with Culadasa later this year. How long did you go on retreat with him for? And how much progress did you make? I.E, you started at stage X and ended at stage Y..
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Jon Krop, modified 6 Years ago at 3/11/16 8:43 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 3/11/16 8:43 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 7 Join Date: 7/17/15 Recent Posts
Jinxed P:
Pucchaka:
Hi! I'm a student of Culadasa's. On a long retreat with him, at one point I was in his Stage 6 but could not for the life of me find the "subtle breath sensations" (i.e., prana, chi, whatever) that you're supposed to use in his whole-body breath practice. I'd looked intensely for maybe a month. Finally, Culadasa pointed out that my stability of attention and intensity of perception had become more than adequate for Stage 6 practice, just through the concerted act of looking for the sensations, and that using the subtle breath sensations wasn't actually necessary. His theory was that I just wasn't allowing myself to see them -- that there was some mental block. He said to do the whole-body practice just using normal body sensations. I did, and it worked fine to move me through Stage 6 and into 7.

I wish Culadasa had mentioned in his book that actually finding and using the subtle breath sensations is optional. That could be an unnecessary roadblock for some people.

Hey, I'm considering doing a retreat with Culadasa later this year. How long did you go on retreat with him for? And how much progress did you make? I.E, you started at stage X and ended at stage Y..
My bad about the delay! To answer your questions:

-I was on retreat with Culadasa for seven months. Two months, then a short break, then five months.
-In terms of raw Culadasian stages: to grossly oversimply, I went in at Two and came out at Eight. Two caveats about that: (1) I have pretty severe ADHD, so your mileage may vary. For me to experience stage 8, given the attentional abilities I'm used to having, was miraculous. (2) A lot of the lasting changes I got from the retreat weren't just about raw progress through the stages. I came in with a huge and problematic amount of striving around progress, and it ironically and unsurprisingly hamstrung the progress I was so obsessed with. The retreat loosened that up enormously, which has permanently changed the quality of my meditation practice and just moment-to-moment consciousnes. I also had some pretty groovy insight experiences into suffering and not-self.
Jinxed P, modified 6 Years ago at 3/11/16 5:08 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 3/11/16 5:08 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Thanks Pucchaca! A few more questions if you don't mind..

1)Did you get a discount for staying for 7 months? 7 months at 40 bucks a night adds up..

2) I have ADHD too, although I've done a ton of stuff to work on it, enough that I don't feel it necessary to take meds anymore. Before all the meditation, cognitive exercises, diet changes my ADHD was severe as well. Would you say your ADHD has been cured? Or greatly reduced? Were those attention abilities lasting? Did Culadasa tailor your meditation at all to account for having ADHD?

3) Anything else you can think of that I should take into consideration before the retreat that would helpe me decide to do it there? Or anything I should keep in mind while on the retreat?
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago at 3/14/16 5:15 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 3/14/16 5:15 AM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
yahoo!  just got my english copy of "the mind illuminated" and can't wait to crack it after the work day winds down.  should be just the ticket to help me focus for an upcoming self-retreat.  thanks for the post
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Jon Krop, modified 6 Years ago at 3/18/16 5:15 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 3/18/16 5:15 PM

RE: Upasaka Culadasa

Posts: 7 Join Date: 7/17/15 Recent Posts
1. I didn't ask for a discount -- the retreat cost less on a monthly basis than my rent, and I gave up my apartment to go on the retreat, so the pricing seemed like a good deal to me. I suppose you could ask about discounts for longer stays, but honestly I don't know many retreats that are more affordable (Goenka, of course), especially where you have frequent one-on-one access to a great teacher.
2. No, I wouldn't say my ADHD has been cured. ADHD is a bunch of traits besides just inattentiveness -- it's woven into the matrix of my personality, and I think the idea of "curing" it is almost nonsensical, although I used to think of it that way myself. Most definitely certain ADHD symptoms are vastly improved, in the ways you'd expect: I'm less impulsive because I see my impulses before reacting, I can focus better, etc. Culadasa didn't really tailor the practice to my ADHD, and he confided toward the end of retreat that his secret plan for me was that I would figure that stuff out for others. SHRUG.
3. Good things: the land is incredibly beautiful. You have basically at-will access to one of the finest meditation teachers alive. Culadasa's wife Nancy is an angel, and John (Culadasa) himself is an extraordingary human being. Developing a personal relationship with these people is very gratifying. Bad things: solitude is hard. You have to stick to the retreat schedule through your own efforts, since it's self-directed. Culadasa's style is pretty analytical, and you need to be careful not to let your meditation get too conceptual.

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