IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 11:33 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/5/23 12:34 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 3:40 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/5/23 3:55 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 4:14 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/5/23 4:29 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... T DC 7/5/23 1:26 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 3:33 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 4:05 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 4:33 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/5/23 4:35 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 4:37 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/5/23 4:40 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... T DC 7/5/23 4:52 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 5:10 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... T DC 7/5/23 5:42 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 5:03 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/5/23 5:01 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/5/23 5:53 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 6:48 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... T DC 7/5/23 8:17 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/5/23 8:35 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 7/6/23 7:25 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Chris M 7/6/23 8:55 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/15/23 8:35 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 9/15/23 10:07 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Ben Sulsky 9/15/23 10:23 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Jim Smith 9/15/23 11:57 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Jim Smith 9/15/23 12:40 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Ben Sulsky 9/15/23 1:05 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/15/23 11:18 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 9/16/23 8:40 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/15/23 12:58 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/15/23 3:17 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/16/23 1:24 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/17/23 9:01 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 9/17/23 10:14 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 9/17/23 10:52 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/17/23 3:59 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Monsoon Frog 9/18/23 5:18 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/18/23 7:31 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... shargrol 9/18/23 8:10 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/18/23 8:19 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/18/23 9:05 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... jhanic ceramic 9/18/23 10:32 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/18/23 10:38 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... jhanic ceramic 9/18/23 11:49 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/18/23 4:01 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... jhanic ceramic 9/19/23 5:33 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/18/23 11:09 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... jhanic ceramic 9/18/23 11:50 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/18/23 12:05 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Monsoon Frog 9/18/23 6:36 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/19/23 8:39 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/19/23 7:45 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... jhanic ceramic 9/19/23 8:31 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/19/23 9:08 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... jhanic ceramic 9/19/23 10:02 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/19/23 10:47 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... jhanic ceramic 9/19/23 1:16 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/19/23 1:47 PM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... Papa Che Dusko 9/19/23 11:34 AM
RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight... David M 9/20/23 8:01 AM
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 11:33 AM
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IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Kinda interesting, first time I've seen a public mention of this (see bold italics):

Full text here: A Unique Offering with a Long Tradition: Joseph Goldstein Reflects on IMS's Three-Month Retreat – Insight Meditation Society (dharma.org)

...

What are the benefits of doing a Three-Month Retreat?One benefit—and it leads into the others—is the chance for people to deepen their powers of concentration. There are a few people who have natural samadhi or concentration, but for most meditators, it takes time to develop it. It can be developed somewhat in a shorter retreat. But with the Three-Month Retreat, people very often experience quite a dramatic deepening of concentration.There are different models for how practice unfolds in the different traditions. The Thai Forest tradition is one model, the Burmese Mahasi method is another. We were teaching a lot from the Burmese Mahasi method and part of the unfolding of the Path is something called the Progress of Insight. It outlines in a very systematic way the various stages of insight along the path. As one’s practice deepens, each of the stages has quite distinct characteristics that people experience. The strengthening of concentration makes entering into that progress of insight possible. It’s really inspiring to see some number of people enter into that depth of practice.The Three-Month Retreat continues to serve the whole range of people, from those who are just beginning to enter into long-term practice as well as those who have been practicing for a long time and find the structure supportive....
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 12:34 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Shargrol, why do you think this is now okay for the IMS founders to talk about openly?
T DC, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 1:26 PM
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Was teaching around the progress of insight stages ever "suppressed" as it were at IMS? 

I get that talk about higher level attaiments has always been pretty much a no-go, but the POI seems like a pretty traditional and foundational teaching, especially considering Kornfield / Goldstien etc all studied with Mahasi and the stages are mentioned in their books - not centrally but definately in there.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 3:33 PM
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T DC:
Was teaching around the progress of insight stages ever "suppressed" as it were at IMS?


Yes, I think by most definitions of "suppressed" it was suppressed.  I honestly believe it was done so with the best of intentions, but nonetheless "suppressed" is a very good for it.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 3:40 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Chris M:
Shargrol, why do you think this is now okay for the IMS founders to talk about openly?


My best guess is that he is near death and has less to lose(?)

I'm honestly sympathetic to their situation --- I can't possibly imagine the risks involved in running a meditation retreat venue. I can only imagine that the spiritual striving that would occur if they said Stream Entry is possible on this retreat, go for it!!! Or the people wanting to be map instead of actually just practicing, etc.  If I had to guess --- and it's only a guess --  think their silence about maps was a way to minimize their risk/liability. 
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 3:55 PM
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Are you referring to financial risks, like those covered by onsurance? Reputational risks? Or the risk of disappointing eager retreat participants? Just wanting to make sure I know what you’re saying.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:05 PM
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Here's Kenneth Folk on IMS and maps:

Bill Hamilton One-Liners/Ideas - AwakeNetwork Forum

"Here's how the mushroom idea first came up in the context of Western dharma. The mushroom metaphor itself is, of course, an old standard. But this exchange with Bill is why we now talk about the "mushroom culture."

After my 1991 three month retreat at Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts, I returned home to California and gave Bill my report. It took a couple of hours. Bill sat through it patiently, listening carefully, and only occasionally falling asleep. When I was finished, Bill went through it again quickly, identifying the stages of the progress of insight. I was amazed that he could so easily map my experiences onto the ancient model of development, and annoyed that I was hearing this for the first time. Surely my interview teachers at IMS had also known where I was on the map and had withheld the information from me. I complained about it to Bill. Why did they withhold information that could have been useful to me?

Bill said, "They treated you like a mushroom."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Kept you in the dark and fed you shit," Bill said.

The mushroom metaphor became my personal shorthand symbol for the secrecy and paternalism that was the de facto code of conduct for many mainstream Western dharma teachers at the time. I was angry about it, at times enraged, often indignant. All through the early and mid 90s, I ranted about the mushroom effect to anyone who would listen. One of my closest friends and confidants was Daniel Ingram. I told him about the secrecy, the taboos, the paternalism and the withholding of information, and my view that this culture of willful ignorance was holding students back. Daniel and I laughed about Bill's off-the-cuff mushroom comment. Daniel was not yet a regular meditator, and had not yet met Bill Hamilton or any of the other celebrated meditation teachers, but he was a good listener and was fascinated by this odd culture of secrecy that seemed to fly in the face of otherwise well known and accepted methods of pedagogy. A few years later, Daniel encountered the same taboos when he began meditating intensively and sat his first retreats. Now he and I had even more fuel to complain to one another about the asinine secrecy and paternalism of mainstream Western dharma and together we further developed the idea of the mushroom culture, mushroom factor, and mushroom effect, etc. Daniel wrote about the mushroom culture in MCTB. The public response was electric. The mushroom metaphor struck a nerve with a whole new generation of meditators who shared our distaste for paternalism, secrecy, and creepy, outdated religious taboos."
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:14 PM
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Chris M:
Are you referring to financial risks, like those covered by onsurance? Reputational risks? Or the risk of disappointing eager retreat participants? Just wanting to make sure I know what you’re saying.


Yes, actually all of those. Psychological risks, reputational risks, litigation risks, entitled trust fund children being disappointed risks...

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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:29 PM
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Mushroom farmers feed their mushrooms chickenshit.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:33 PM
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:35 PM
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Think about the hubris involved. It’s really sad.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:37 PM
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Lost opportunities, for sure.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:40 PM
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Could be actionable, from a legal POV. Intentionally misleading your customer is… fraud.
T DC, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 4:52 PM
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Honestly re that Kenneth Folk quote on the utility of the POI, part of me thinks the IMS folks simply couldn't relate to the POI map in a meaningful way and thus saw limited utility in teaching it.  Less willfully keeping others in the dark than potentially in the dark themselves, at least experientially.  I would like to believe that anyone who sees clear utility in such teachings would pass them on, even with caveats around striving, etc.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 5:03 PM
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Could be actionable, from a legal POV. Intentionally misleading your customer is… fraud.


Well, I don't think they were making any statements that "POI doesn't happen" or "POI does happen", they were/are(?) simply silent. So I think it would be hard to argue fraud. emoticon

I'm very grateful for IMS. It definitely was a fundamentally safe and sane place to retreat. The teachers knew their stuff and gave pretty good advice. They wouldn't say anything about stages or attainments, but they would always respond to clear descriptions about practice and clear questions about practice. Basically, if you said what was going on without using jargon --- cool. But if you described it in terms of nanas, jhanas, cessations, they would avoid or ignore it or discount it. Of course, this was frustrating to folks that were going through nanas, jhanas, cessations, but that's sort of the price you pay (in addition to paying the price) to retreat at IMS.  

But maybe I got lucky with teachers/retreats too - nothing is certain, not even retreating at IMS. 
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 5:01 PM
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Silence can be just as misleading as telling lies. Just saying’

As for fraud, one would have to prove intent. 
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 5:10 PM
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T DC Honestly re that Kenneth Folk quote on the utility of the POI, part of me thinks the IMS folks simply couldn't relate to the POI map in a meaningful way and thus saw limited utility in teaching it.  Less willfully keeping others in the dark than potentially in the dark themselves, at least experientially.
I would like to believe that anyone who sees clear utility in such teachings would pass them on, even with caveats around striving, etc.


Well, that would be even worse! Leading retreats without first hand experience of POI? Yipes! No, to become a teacher at IMS you need some decent retreat experience, it's not like a Goenka retreat situation.
T DC, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 5:42 PM
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I'm not saying IMS teachers were all pre A/P or something, but if the culture in your organization puts insight on a very lofty pedestal, you may internalize that to an unhelpful degree. 

Just looking at the limited POI talks on dharmaseed, many treat the POI as a truly lofty process - literally the steps to enlightenment.  Which they are from a certain perspective, but also IME everyone and their brother who is genuinely diligent about meditation will progress through them.

So it would not surprise me if this attitude of overblown humility and reverence toward the stages led to fewer teachers recognizing them in their own experience and then teaching them overtly from that basis, as the culture here has promoted.

Just some thoughts. I find it dubious that anyone with significant insight would de-prioritize its importance and relevance to the degree normally found in mainstream Buddhism, IMS teachers such as Kornfield included, but maybe it simply reflects a deeply ingrained culture of restraint around discussing personal attainments.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 5:53 PM
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IMS didn’t deprioritize the progress of insight. They know how ubiquitous it is. They just hid it from the view of their constituents. There’s a difference between getting the facts wrong as opposed to simply hiding the facts.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 6:48 PM
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Yes Chris, that's right. During one retreat, I was working/cleaning near the spiritual director's room and there was a chart/graphic of the POI on the wall. So they know it quite well, I'm sure they know how it plays out frequently during the three month retreat, but it's my understanding that they  did not discuss it or explicitly share/teach the map to those on the three month retreat. 
T DC, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 8:17 PM
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Generally I view mushroom culture as less a conspiracy and more the blind leading the blind, but the head IMS teacher having a poster of the POI in their private office really does play into the narrative.  ;)
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/23 8:35 PM
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shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 7/6/23 7:25 AM
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Just to wrap up my thoughts on this...

Without a doubt, the most fundamentally important thing that supported my meditation practice was learning about the Progress of Insight from MCTB (30. The Progress of Insight – MCTB.org). I cannot thank Daniel enough for describing this so clearly.

With MTCB and POI in my hand, "real practice" was possible:
  1. Practice daily for an hour by paying attention to sensate experience and going "into" sensate experience rather than thinking "about it"
  2. Periodically go on retreats to build up continuity of practice
  3. When things get physically difficult, keep sitting (moving/adjust is fine but keep sitting) and go "into" the difficult sensate experiences
  4. When things get juicy and woo woo, keep sitting and go "into" the juicy and woo woo sensate experiences.
  5. When things become mind moments, keep sitting and go "into" the mind moments
  6. When the mind seems to explode or orgasm, don't think you're enlightened.
  7. When meditation goes to crap after a big experience, don't think you're broken.
  8. When shadow psychological material starts arising, know that it happens to everyone and appreciate the opportunity to digest and heal old wounds
  9. MOST IMPORTANTLY: When equanimity finally hits and things feel fine, keep sitting and go "into" the sensate experience of equanimity itself
  10. Lastly, there is indeed a thing called stream entry that occurs "beyond" equanimity. Enlightenment isn't just being in sensate equanimity, there really is something different that can occur through meditation practice.
It really sucks that people are practicing seriously (attending a multi-day retreat) and aren't told that things can get difficult, weird, or psychologically shadowy ---- and all of that is both normal and expected.

The biggest and saddest lost opportunity -- which seems to be exactly what happened to Kenneth -- is the situation where a dedicated and experienced meditator reachest EQ on a retreat and isn't given the pointers to keep practicing and exploring the sensate experience of equanimity. WHen "map language" is never used, then descriptions of the goal/endpoin of meditation will sound a lot like equanimity itself, so it's no wonder people tend to stop practicing at this stage.


But it's also funny, because some humans will abuse meditation stages and intellectualize it or turn it into status/rank etc. etc.  It's the old expression, "This is why we can't have nice things." emoticon
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 7/6/23 8:55 AM
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Ironically, Kenneth Folk is the person who diagnosed my stream entry event. And he wasn't shy about it, either.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 8:35 AM
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Shargrol,

Here is an example of Joseph Goldstein talking about maps in 2004 at around 50:00 in this video:

https://youtu.be/AG3OFnDZRqc?si=PK-nzp3ZjJEKKPj3
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 10:07 AM
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Could you give a quick summary of anything interesting mentioned?
Ben Sulsky, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 10:23 AM
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From PIM, Mahasi, "Those who are acquainted with the stages of the progress of insight by way of study (or by hearing about them) encounter such ups and downs. Hence it is not good for a pupil who meditates under the guidance of a teacher to get acquainted with these stages before meditation begins. But for the benefit of those who have to practice without the guidance of an experienced teacher, these stages have been indicated here",

and again from PIM, Mahasi

"The technique of insight meditation outlined in this treatise is quite sufficient for persons of fair intelligence. Such persons, having read it, should practice these contemplations with firm, keen desire, and great diligence in a methodical manner and they can be sure of progress. It must, however, be pointed out that the details of the experiences and the progressive stages of insight gone through by meditators cannot possibly be described in full in this short treatise. There still remains much that is worthy of description. On the other hand, what has been described here is not experienced totally by every meditator. There are bound to be differences according to one’s capabilities and páramitás. Again, one’s faith, desire, and diligence do not remain constant always. Furthermore, a meditator, having no instructor and being entirely dependent on book knowledge, will be as cautious and hesitant as a traveler who has never been on a particular journey. Therefore, it is obviously not very easy for such a person to attain the paths, fruitions, and Nibbána if he goes on striving without a teacher to guide and encourage him. This being so, one who is really keen to meditate until he attains his goal must find a teacher who is fully qualified by his own attainments to guide him all along the way from the lowest stage of insight to the highest knowledges of path, fruition, and reviewing. This advice is quite in accord with what is stated in the Nidánavagga, Saíyutta Nikáya: “A teacher should be sought for knowledge about decayand-death as it really is.”"

These two quotes aren't obviously consistent and it's not clear exactly what Mahasi is advocating (to me, at least).  I think what Mahasi means here is that we should do the thing with the fewest distractions possible.  That might be being partially blinded to the POI under an experienced teacher, or it might mean reading MCTB2 online and grinding the POI in our room at home if that's what's available.  In any case it seems a far cry from the style of IMS.

Ironically I love going on retreat at IMS because (thanks to Bill, Daniel and Kenneth!!) we have easy access to the maps nowadays online or via zoom teaching.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 11:18 AM
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35:00 It is this deep understanding of impermanence that is a distinctive feature in the theravada tradition, called stream entry. The first stage of awakening...The arising of the dhama vision.

38:00 I'm going to talk about stream entry because it is mentioned frequently in the suttas.

53:30 The reason why it is in the suttas is because it is a milepost on the path.


The map of mileposts reminds us that countless people walked on the ancient road to nibbana.


He talks about the danger of the map (attachment).
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Jim Smith, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 11:57 AM
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Ben Sulsky
...
​​​​​​​ In any case it seems a far cry from the style of IMS.

Ironically I love going on retreat at IMS because (thanks to Bill, Daniel and Kenneth!!) we have easy access to the maps nowadays online or via zoom teaching.


What do they teach at IMS? Is it just a meditation technique (which technique) and meditation sessions, or do they teach something about how the meditation produces results and what results to expect? Do the teach anything about the sutras ie anapansatti (meditation on the breath) and satipatthana (mindfulness)?
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Jim Smith, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 12:40 PM
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Searching for IMS retreat center gives this web site:
https://www.dharma.org/retreats/retreat-center/

click on resources -> reading list  and you can find "Manual of Insight" by Mahasi Sayadaw (as well as many other books on meditation and the sutras).

One version of this book,

https://wisdomexperience.org/academy/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/07/Manual-of-Insight-for-Course.pdf
has a foreward by Joseph Goldstein (a founder of IMS)
Chapter 6 is about the progress of insight: "Stages of Insight Knowledge"

Goldstein wrote in his Foreward:
In this extraordinary work, Manual of Insight, Mahāsi Sayadaw explains in depth and great detail the entire path of practice, beginning with the Purification of Conduct and ending with the realization of Nibbana, the Solely for the use of Wisdom Academy Course Students highest freedom. It integrates some of the most abstruse elements of theoretical knowledge with the most direct and accessible practical teachings. Manual of Insight is a text to study slowly, it is a reference work to deepen our understandings, and it is ultimately a guide for our own path of awakening
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 12:58 PM
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Here's another chance to ask Joseph about POI etc this Sunday... sorry, I won't be attending...

​​​​​​​https://www.insightwma.org/
Ben Sulsky, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 1:05 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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"What do they teach at IMS? Is it just a meditation technique (which technique) and meditation sessions, or do they teach something about how the meditation produces results and what results to expect? Do the teach anything about the sutras ie anapansatti (meditation on the breath) and satipatthana (mindfulness)?"

I'm not the best person to ask, only having been on retreat at IMS twice as a retreatant.  The most recent retreat I went on was with Greg Scharf, Carol Wilson, Tara Mulay, and Devin Berry.  The teachings were in the style of the Satipatthana Sutta, but with more of an emphasis on "natural awareness" (i.e., if the concentration is fairly stable, let the mind go where it goes and gently observe it).  There was also metta practice, and various dharma talks (which you can find at Dharma Seed).  
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/15/23 3:17 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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I agree that there is "suppression" of POI etc. I think Vince Horn and Daniel explained how it works. 
​​​​​​​

Ben experienced the front room. When you get in the back room, they will talk about POI and Jhanas etc. - if they think you are ready for it. You also need the right teacher. For example Devin Barry has talked about using metta to attain Jhanas.


Daniel likened it to a old fashioned one room classroom where you have an arahant and a beginner in the same room.

Daniel also explained in MCTB how to unlock access to the back room. For example, don't say this in your interview “So, in my practice I have been working through my Big Issue, you know, really trying to deal with it. It just seems to come back up again and again. Every time I sit on the cushion, I find myself thinking about my Big Issue."


I agree that Joseph Goldstein has talked little about these issues in the past, for all the reasons mentioned.


​​​​I'm hoping with retirement he might open up a bit more.


I love Daniel's book! I love maps! I love talking about attainments! I think I'm in the first couple Jhanas.


I'm dying to know! Thanks 
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/16/23 8:40 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M:
35:00 It is this deep understanding of impermanence that is a distinctive feature in the theravada tradition, called stream entry. The first stage of awakening...The arising of the dhama vision. 38:00 I'm going to talk about stream entry because it is mentioned frequently in the suttas. 53:30 The reason why it is in the suttas is because it is a milepost on the path. The map of mileposts reminds us that countless people walked on the ancient road to nibbana. He talks about the danger of the map (attachment).


Hmm... I did a quick listen. Doesn't seem like he's talking about the map, but rather the existance of stream entry as a thing.

In my thinking, "the map" begins with mind and body, then cause and effect, then three characteristics, then A&P, then dissolution, then fear, then misery, then disgust, then desire for deliverance, then reobservation, then equanimity, then high equanimity, then near misses, then stream entry, then review... then second path with much more vipassina jhanas... etc.

I'm pretty sure none of this is discussed at IMS during teaching/dharma talks. emoticon


p.s. I really liked retreating with Greg Scharf. If you stick with describing what is actually being experience while meditating, he gives great advice. He will not acknowledge/confirm/deny anything mentioned with map jargon, but he taught countless retreats and knows what goes on in the mind of a meditator and knows how to nudge people in the right direction.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/16/23 1:24 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Doesn't seem like he's talking about the map, but rather the existance of stream entry as a thing.


Ok thanks Shargrol, that's good to know.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/17/23 9:01 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Hi Shargrol, can you please help me out with this one? It's from 1982, when people said things like "I'm gonna split"…thanks.
29:21 There is another kind of happiness that is higher than the happiness of concentration, insight.
29:46 Insight unfolds in a very ordered way. It's not haphazard..It follows its own laws.
30:22 The first level of insight is psychological understanding.
31:42 It's interesting to investigate these patterns of mind, how they control us.
32:36 the next level is purity of view, 
33:09 rising and passing away.
36:08 the stage of vipassana happiness.
38:48 When you come in for an interview, one of us will say it is the corruption of insight.
40:29 stage of fear.
43:16 the stage of fear, misery, disgust. All you want to do is split.
https://youtu.be/XRi7rk9vs-U?si=EdJ_qs2Y8r2qee5p
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/17/23 10:14 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Nice find!! I skimmed the transcript and indeed sounds like a discussion of the map!&nbsp; emoticon<br /><br /><br /> 
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/17/23 10:52 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Here's the page with the link on dharma seed: https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/?page=2&search=happiness

Direct link: https://dharmaseed.org/talks/1391/


Just for fun I searched on "progress of insight"... there's four pages of dharma talks(!!) https://dharmaseed.org/talks/?search=progress+of+insight&sort=-rec_date&page_items=10

Interesting the only 2 from IMS main retreat center (not Forest Refuge) is on page 4, during the 1982 and 1984 three month retreat. 
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/17/23 3:59 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Thanks Shargrol,

I noticed Winnie Nazarko is still teaching at IMS, and apparently knows about POI.

​​​​​​​Does anyone have experience with her on retreat? Thanks 
Monsoon Frog, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 5:18 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M wrote:
I noticed Winnie Nazarko is still teaching at IMS, and apparently knows about POI.

​​​​​​​Does anyone have experience with her on retreat? Thanks 

Eight years back I did a 2.5 month independent retreat at the IMS Forest Refuge and Winnie was one of my teachers during a portion of the retreat (i.e. gave group dhama talks and conducted individual interviews). I enjoyed her teaching and talks, she had great suggestions, was down to earth, and we had a comfortable rapport. I asked her opinion regarding the POI maps (during private interview) and her opinion was that the yogi in retreat trying to map their practice can resemble getting lost in a 'hall of mirrors’.

I was exposed to Hamilton/Folk/Ingram-MCTB shortly after my first retreat so the POI maps are foundational. They can’t be unseen. Hamilton's 'Mushroom Factory’ and Daniel’s rants in MCTB suited my own style perfectly so I was on board with the Western mapping revolution.

Nevertheless I’ve never been in a retreat setting where the POI is freely and openly discussed and encouraged in yogi interviews (for ex. in the manner of this forum; I don't know if they even exist) and this includes retreats wherein those same interviewing teachers will - on the other hand - give detailed academic exegeses of the POI during some of their dhama talks (for ex. during Panditarama’s Mahasi style noting retreats). That sets up an unusual tension where the POI is both an overt central backbone to the practice yet is taboo to discuss directly.

Returning to Winnie: she makes a good point. Speaking from my own experience as someone with an analytical bent who’s exposed himself to a steady daily diet of POI mapping, both theoretically and anecdotally (for ex. this forum), there’s no possibility of having a ‘map free’ retreat as mapping is going to occur (and is beneficial at certain times), however it can easily get obsessive, get in the way of practice, generate too much thinking, resulting in wandering through a ‘hall of mirrors’ in the mind instead of doing the actual practices. Through experience I learned that being able to relax my mind more, map less, and surrender to the practice - thus reducing the additional layer of discursive thinking that map obsession stimulates - results in a more satisfying and productive retreat experience.

That’s the double-edged sword of mapping.
The other double-edged sword is no maps. IMS seems to have given more weight to the latter.
After some years had passed I’ve come to see valid points and criticisms from both sides of the ledger.

Modern Western Buddhism’s Department of Excesses has hosted Hamilton's 'Mushroom Factory' for some time; it now needs to make room for its counterpoint the ‘Map Factory' of Pragmatic Dharma.
: P
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 7:31 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Was the retreat you attended called The Progress of Insight, Forest Refuge August 2015?
The dharmaseed talks that Shargrol found include this retreat:
I'm going to listen to her talks.. thanks 

https://dharmaseed.org/talks/29033/
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 8:10 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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One thing to mention... I think it's important to understand that all the IMS/Forest Refuge teachers know the POI and have lived it personally and via their students/retreatants. These are very very very good meditators and well-vetted teachers. 

But overall, IMS doesn't actively uses the POI as a guiding framework. As mentioned further up thread, the basic IMS modality is an emphasis on "natural awareness" (i.e., if the concentration is fairly stable, let the mind go where it goes and gently observe it). 
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 8:19 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Thanks Shargrol,

At about 20:00 into this talk Winnie explains the POI:
​​​​​​​
  • Visuddhimagga.
  1. Btw Shargrol did you know that Rob Burbea was not a fan of the Visuddhimagga? He disses it in his Jhana talks, I could try to find the reference if you want. He also didn't like the term access concentration.
  • Mahasi sayadaw
that's as far as I got...
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 9:05 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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I checked it out...so I guess Rob Burbea was not a POI guy?


MCTB2 page 362 Kindle "The previously mentioned fifth-century text Visuddhimagga by Buddhaghosa also has a great treatment of these stages (POI)."

Rob Burbea: The First Jhana, and Playing and Working in (and out of) any Jhana

"originally. About 500 years after the Buddha in Sri Lanka, a guy, a monk calledBuddhaghosa wrote a book called the Visuddhimagga, which translates as The Path of Purification. 
In some Theravādan countries, it’s regarded as a Bible. It’s really revered, this book, and in some other countries much, much less so. The story goes that he – actually, it was a compilation. What he did was interview lots of meditation masters, take what they had (I heard this, obviously, secondhand; I wasn’t there), take what they gave him, threw out what he didn’t like (although he himself was not much of a meditator), burnt what he threw out, and kept the rest. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard that.

How many people have heard the phrase, the term ‘access concentration’? Yeah, okay, quite a lot of you. I don’t use that. I mean, the Buddha never used it. It’s not a phrase the Buddha ever used. Itcomes, I think, from the Visuddhimagga, which is a text we may or may not come back to, a commentarial text about 500 years after the Buddha.

Who’s heard another Pali word, nimitta? Okay, again, the Buddha never used that word. He uses the word nimitta, but never, never ever in that way. Again, it comes from the Visuddhimagga.
jhanic ceramic, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 10:32 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M
I checked it out...so I guess Rob Burbea was not a POI guy?


MCTB2 page 362 Kindle "The previously mentioned fifth-century text Visuddhimagga by Buddhaghosa also has a great treatment of these stages (POI)."

Rob Burbea: The First Jhana, and Playing and Working in (and out of) any Jhana

"originally. About 500 years after the Buddha in Sri Lanka, a guy, a monk calledBuddhaghosa wrote a book called the Visuddhimagga, which translates as The Path of Purification. 
In some Theravādan countries, it’s regarded as a Bible. It’s really revered, this book, and in some other countries much, much less so. The story goes that he – actually, it was a compilation. What he did was interview lots of meditation masters, take what they had (I heard this, obviously, secondhand; I wasn’t there), take what they gave him, threw out what he didn’t like (although he himself was not much of a meditator), burnt what he threw out, and kept the rest. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard that.

How many people have heard the phrase, the term ‘access concentration’? Yeah, okay, quite a lot of you. I don’t use that. I mean, the Buddha never used it. It’s not a phrase the Buddha ever used. Itcomes, I think, from the Visuddhimagga, which is a text we may or may not come back to, a commentarial text about 500 years after the Buddha.

Who’s heard another Pali word, nimitta? Okay, again, the Buddha never used that word. He uses the word nimitta, but never, never ever in that way. Again, it comes from the Visuddhimagga.


Rob is not a POI guy, but I would argue that he's not a mushroom factory guy either. His earliest talks and retreats talk about the movement of insight into deeper and deeper territory, and he also actively criticizes how people don't talk about jhana and deep meditative experiences and their value in the broader meditative community. 

His meditative map (which I think is quite unique and not really some step-by-step thing) evolves differently than others. He strongly recommends a tipping of practice in favor of samadhi in daily life, and then a 50/50 balance during reterats. This might be why he places little value in the PoI maps, they don't often show up in concentration practice (assuming that you don't have some blow up experience doing concentration practice...which I did, but I know others who have not). Playing my own devil's advocate here, if you look at some of his interviews where he talks about his own meditation practice...it kinda sorta looks like he went through the PoI and had to take a massive break from practice before he could re-engage in it. Check out the interviews that I posted here.

I know the latent assumption here and everywhere else is that everyone goes to PoI in some fashion. I've read stuff from Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Daniel Ingram, Rob Burbea, Pa Auk, Guy Armstrong etc etc and if there's one thing that's common to all of these teachers, it's the centrality of the fading/perishing of perception for deep insight (nibbana). Within the PoI community, there are actually two distinct states of cessation as far as I can surmise - ordinary cessation which is the "blip", and nirodha samapatti which is like an analog fading of perception. I think Rob Burbea is a nirodha samapatti guy, but that's just my understanding based on doing his practices. The insight modes of looking practice really lead to an analog fading of perception, rather than this heightening of perception and then it's utter collapse into something that they can't make sense of which is what's described in a lot of vipassana meditators (or at least from their experiences that's what it sounds like)

Btw, Winnie is a dope teacher. I really liked working with her on the last concentration retreat I did and I'm going back for the next one. 
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 10:38 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Btw, Winnie is a dope teacher. I really liked working with her on the last concentration retreat I did and I'm going back for the next one. 


Many thanks, that is very helpful. That concentration retreat is what I was looking at for next summer.

I'm just a novice myself... I tried Rob's STF but I think it's too advanced for me...I feel like he plowed into his "map" without much context. I like how Daniel adds so much context in MTCB2.

For example is stream entry a POI stage? Rob doesn't mention it.

Thanks again.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 11:09 AM
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FYI: "It is called “the cessation of thought and feeling,” or, in Pali, “Nirodha Samāpatti.” It is, in short, the most miraculous nap in the world…This is the first full-on encounter between Nirodha Samāpatti and science"

I also posted a link to another article that discusses Rob Burbea view of cessation:

"For Rob, liberating insight into the emptiness and dependent arising of phenomenal appearances is the gold standard, not any one-off or even repeated cessation."


https://sashachapin.substack.com/p/the-science-behind-the-worlds-most


​​​​​​​https://wystanwritingwords.wordpress.com/
jhanic ceramic, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 11:50 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M
FYI: "It is called “the cessation of thought and feeling,” or, in Pali, “Nirodha Samāpatti.” It is, in short, the most miraculous nap in the world…This is the first full-on encounter between Nirodha Samāpatti and science"

I also posted a link to another article that discusses Rob Burbea view of cessation:

"For Rob, liberating insight into the emptiness and dependent arising of phenomenal appearances is the gold standard, not any one-off or even repeated cessation."


https://sashachapin.substack.com/p/the-science-behind-the-worlds-most


​​​​​​​https://wystanwritingwords.wordpress.com/


Thanks for sharing that. That blog put into words what I've been wrestling with myself. Personally I'm fairly convinced of Rob's framework of teaching, but alas, finding retreats and teachers who work in his style is a non-trivial task since as far as I can tell, it's an innovation in practice and he didn't have big ass retreat centers in Burma, Thailand and US to churn students out from.
jhanic ceramic, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 11:49 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M
Many thanks, that is very helpful. That concentration retreat is what I was looking at for next summer.

I'm just a novice myself... I tried Rob's STF but I think it's too advanced for me...I feel like he plowed into his "map" without much context. I like how Daniel adds so much context in MTCB2.

For example is stream entry a POI stage? Rob doesn't mention it.

No problem! Could you share why you feel like it's too advanced? I feel like Chapters 1-14 (up until the not-self way of looking) are quite accessible as long as you've been meditating and contemplating this business of consciousness and perception, even if one hasn't experienced jhanas or the vastness of awareness.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 12:05 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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You might like this group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/Dharmachanics/

They are doing a STF book group and other Burbea stuff.

BTW Daniel Ingram calls cessation the physiological thing that leads to awakening. Shinzen Young is using ultrasound to induce nirodha.

​​​​​​​Lots of exciting things are going on!
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 4:01 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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​​​​​​​(assuming that you don't have some blow up experience doing concentration practice...which I did, but I know others who have not)


Hi again, so just to be a pest, I read about your retreat with Winnie...I also just finished the dharmaseed talk from Winnie in which she talks about A&P...she could be quoting POI directly from MCTB2.

Shargrol says you had a classic A&P experience... I'm wondering what you told Winnie in your interviews?

The point of this thread was that IMS teachers don't talk about POI...was that your experience?

BTW I don't think I've had an A&P experience.

Thanks,
Monsoon Frog, modified 10 Months ago at 9/18/23 6:36 PM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M wrote:
Was the retreat you attended called The Progress of Insight, Forest Refuge August 2015?
The dharmaseed talks that Shargrol found include this retreat:
I'm going to listen to her talks.. thanks

https://dharmaseed.org/talks/29033/
jhanic ceramic wrote:
“Btw, Winnie is a dope teacher. I really liked working with her on the last concentration retreat I did and I'm going back for the next one. “

No, I wasn’t there during that retreat.  Mine was an independent retreat (i.e. no predetermined explicit external structure, program, or theme was imposed by the teachers; I was free to design my own practice experience and the teachers provided guidance based on that).

I should clarify that my Forest Refuge retreat was the only time I practiced at IMS and I never sat at the main retreat center.


During a yogi interview Winnie told me that while she was a teaching at IMS she attended a long concentration/jhana retreat which Pa-Auk led at IMS, as a student. (For those unfamiliar Pa-Auk is located at the most demanding and difficult end of the janna spectrum with the highest standards even for states like access concentration). She told me she attained jhana according to Pa-Auk's extremely high standards (I can’t now recall if she was the only one who attained jhana according to his standards, or was one of the very few in that retreat who did so). She was comfiortable sharing her concentration background and abilities as the thrust of my retreat was to develop my concentration.
jhanic ceramic, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 5:33 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M
​​​​​​​(assuming that you don't have some blow up experience doing concentration practice...which I did, but I know others who have not)


Hi again, so just to be a pest, I read about your retreat with Winnie...I also just finished the dharmaseed talk from Winnie in which she talks about A&P...she could be quoting POI directly from MCTB2.

Shargrol says you had a classic A&P experience... I'm wondering what you told Winnie in your interviews?

The point of this thread was that IMS teachers don't talk about POI...was that your experience?

BTW I don't think I've had an A&P experience.

Thanks,

I did get to talk to her two days after the A&P experience in the group interviews. I knew what to do post the experience (stop meditating, eat a lot to ground the body, do metta practices and take a break) so she didn't have much advice for me except to tell me to just keep doing what I was doing. I ate so much pasta lol. She did say to try and understand one's own natural limits. I didn't have a chance to talk to her after the second "big experience" on retreat where my perception of the world was radically altered so I'm not sure what she would have said there. 

She didn't call it A&P, but did talk about really weird states you can get into during meditation (I'm pretty sure she referred to her own experience with cessation and formless jhana experiences). It was a concentration retreat so she did discuss the jhana framework. She was quite blunt that jhana is probably not accessible to most meditators who don't go on long retreat and also brought up the soft vs hard jhana debate. I got the sense that she was more a hard jhana person.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 7:45 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Thanks,
So yeah, I'm just a novice here…but my feeling is you did not get enough support during your retreat. The fear you felt was serious. They should have done more.
I've heard Daniel Ingram scream to the rooftops that these "negative" experiences can and do happen. He's very concerned about it.
You say your experience was positive enough that you want to do it again with the same teachers next year. That's good. I don't know if I want to sign up.
If Winnie wouldn't/couldn't diagnose a classic A&P experience, I doubt anyone else at IMS would/could either.
jhanic ceramic, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 8:31 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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David M
Thanks,
So yeah, I'm just a novice here…but my feeling is you did not get enough support during your retreat. The fear you felt was serious. They should have done more.
I've heard Daniel Ingram scream to the rooftops that these "negative" experiences can and do happen. He's very concerned about it.
You say your experience was positive enough that you want to do it again with the same teachers next year. That's good. I don't know if I want to sign up.
If Winnie wouldn't/couldn't diagnose a classic A&P experience, I doubt anyone else at IMS would/could either.

That's fair, I totally understand if you're put off by the experience and how the teachers handled it. There were definitely times where I felt like asking for support would be too much trouble since there are 60 other people practicing with me. Group retreats with group interviews unfortunately tend themselves to this direction.

My suspicion for why they don't introduce POI (which would require a bunch of dharma talks, and then the entire group interview would be spent discussing one person's experience since there's a lot of content there) is because comparing mind runs rampant among most people who come to the retreat. Literally sharing my experience, because it was so weird, added to the triggers that brought two other retreatants in the group interview to tears basically asking "I've been retreating for years and none of this stuff ever happens to me." Would it then be helpful for the teacher to tell me that it was an A&P, a point of no return on the path to stream-entry in front of everyone (fyi, I'm personally agnostic on the POI maps and my bar for stream-entry is the same as Rob Burbea's which is different than the Mahasi maps)? 

Personally, I kind of like that I figured it out by myself and used my intuition for how to navigate the situation. It gave me a lot of confidence that "yes I can do it, and I can figure out the hard stuff on my own while still being humble enough to ask a teacher for guidance when shit really hits the fan". My practice has thrived since the retreat in a way I didn't expect it to, as has my resilience when meditation deepens and fear comes up. 

I do totally see Daniel's side of the story as well. Unfortunately, I think it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't. People should know the risks and rewards, but also with knowledge of the risks and rewards comes the comparing mind, delusion, "hall of mirrors", constantly looking for where one is on the map and then ascribing to ordinary depression, the delusion that one is farther along the map than one may actually be. Having been there at one point, and having the good fortune of dropping it and practicing for practice's sake, I think I'd rather know than not know, but knowing comes with its own pretty large pitfalls that shouldn't be brushed under the rug either.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 8:39 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

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Monsoon Frog
(For those unfamiliar Pa-Auk is located at the most demanding and difficult end of the janna spectrum with the highest standards even for states like access concentration).


Thanks for the info...yeah I think Pa-Auk is too hardcore for me.

So Pa-Auk and Daniel and Rob Burbea and Leigh Brasington can't even agree on what access concentration is...much less which suttas to read.

It's all very confusing.
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 9:08 AM
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RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

Posts: 38 Join Date: 8/10/23 Recent Posts
jhanic ceramic
fyi, I'm personally agnostic on the POI maps and my bar for stream-entry is the same as Rob Burbea's which is different than the Mahasi maps.



I can't find anything about stream entry in STF…and I don't understand what you mean about cessation... I'm just trying to get to A&P myself.


This is a quote from the article I referenced about nirodha samāpatti:


Daniel Ingram…cautioned, “there’s basically a long, slow trainwreck happening between people getting into these experiences and the clinical mainstream just not understanding them.”


And here's another recent video of Daniel working with a fearful yogi, in case it might be useful:
​​​​​​​

https://youtu.be/_e5uXPUmNps?si=eGDGJSXABhkYxZKW
jhanic ceramic, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 10:02 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 10:02 AM

RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

Posts: 40 Join Date: 7/25/23 Recent Posts
David M
jhanic ceramic
fyi, I'm personally agnostic on the POI maps and my bar for stream-entry is the same as Rob Burbea's which is different than the Mahasi maps.



I can't find anything about stream entry in STF…and I don't understand what you mean about cessation... I'm just trying to get to A&P myself.


This is a quote from the article I referenced about nirodha samāpatti:


Daniel Ingram…cautioned, “there’s basically a long, slow trainwreck happening between people getting into these experiences and the clinical mainstream just not understanding them.”


And here's another recent video of Daniel working with a fearful yogi, in case it might be useful:
​​​​​​​

https://youtu.be/_e5uXPUmNps?si=eGDGJSXABhkYxZKW

https://dharmaseed.org/talks/11862/ --> That talk should give you insight into what Rob defines as stream-entry. You can also look at it in its transcribed format here: https://airtable.com/appe9WAZCVxfdGDnX/shr9OS6jqmWvWTG5g/tblHlCKWIIhZzEFMk/viw3k0IfSo0Dve9ZJ (just go to the talk titled awakening).

As to Daniel's quote, absolutely, it's vital that mainstream society needs to be aware and be prepared for this. I think part of the reason I was able to deal with my blow-up experience, uncomfortable though it was, was because I was aware going in that this could happen. At the same time, I think I was able to get there because I had let go of expectations of where I was on the map. A previous retreat I had done, I literally spent the entire retreat obsessing over where I was on the map trying to fit my experiences to what was in MCTB. I'd read it every night and tried to compare what I experienced to the book, and spent my sits wondering where I was on the map (instead of, you know, doing the thing). Totally unhelpful for me and basically I quit practicing for a year or so after that. So I've seen both the benefit, and the drawback of having his material out there. But on the whole, I think it's net positive and should be talked about. I do however, less see the value in teachers bringing it up at IMS during group interviews. If someone is really in the thick of it, it could be good for a teacher to pull the student aside and give them some guidance and encouragement but otherwise I think it creates more problems than it solves for students, at least in the format the retreats are currently run.

The scary thing, which Daniel is rightly very worried about, is when people think they're just going to go to a meditation retreat to chill out and end up in this territory and it comes out of left field. If this just showed up in my life when I was in my early 20s with absolutely no context, I'd probably put myself in the psych ward, or at least get a psych eval done. Legalization of psychedelics are right around the corner and if something is going to result in a lot of involunatry A&P events it's probably the mass of people beginning to explore consciousness. 
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 10:47 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 10:47 AM

RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

Posts: 38 Join Date: 8/10/23 Recent Posts
jhanic ceramic
 I'd probably put myself in the psych ward, or at least get a psych eval done. Legalization of psychedelics are right around the corner...



I hope other people will chime in but I'm wondering if Rob Burbea talks about the dark night? Am I right to warn you about this?

There's a really pleasant body buzz that's starting to develop and intensifies when I move my attention to it, I suspect it's a low grade version of piti. 


I have this too every time I meditate…it's wonderful. Very energizing.

Curiously, as concentration deepens, fear is beginning to emerge as well.
This scares the shit out of me,I'm pretty shook by the experience.
I'm worried I've turned myself into a basket case.
I'd rather fall asleep than be terrified all the time.
My day is filled is filled with
anxiety,


I've not experienced this myself. Are you worried this could happen again?
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 11:34 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 11:33 AM

RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

Posts: 2926 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
The best "map" is the matter of fact experience RIGHT NOW! 

Thinking about mapping is ... THINKING. emoticon 
oh, does it have an accompanying feeling tone? Oh, let me see ... (looking) ... oh yeah it feels, ... unpleasant, tension, desire, tension in the jaws, neck and arms/hands. Hungry sensation in the belly. 

Oh, is there a mind image accompanying all this stuff? Let me see , ... oh yeah there is an image of the lower belly, inside of the mouth and throat, teeth, fingers, hands and arms ... 

Oh look , there is outbreathing long and knowing there is outbreathing long. Oh look there is a mind image of nose and belly and chest ... 
Oh look, there is a pleasant feeling tone ... 
There is thinking "this must be 3rd Jhana!" ... there is assumption, there is certainty, there is prefering this, there is hoping for more ... tension in the body, wanting, anticipation, belief "this is the right way to do this, because Burbea/Ingram/Shargrol/Santa said so ..." ... excitement ... blush in the cheeks, breathing shortens ... ... and so on and so forth ... 

Safest "map" is always the matter of fact arise-passing right now. 

​​​​​​​Best wishes to us all! 
jhanic ceramic, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 1:16 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 1:14 PM

RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

Posts: 40 Join Date: 7/25/23 Recent Posts
David M
jhanic ceramic
 I'd probably put myself in the psych ward, or at least get a psych eval done. Legalization of psychedelics are right around the corner...



I hope other people will chime in but I'm wondering if Rob Burbea talks about the dark night? Am I right to warn you about this?
I've known about the dark night for some time so no worries. Not the first time hearing about this emoticon.

Rob has quite a lot of disparaging views on "dark night" and "purification" that arise in practice. His view is along the lines that we are building suffering by feeding into it in the present moment the view of purification. He does however have a "fear and loathing in emptiness practice" section in seeing that frees. When I was going through my tough time that's the section that I read.




There's a really pleasant body buzz that's starting to develop and intensifies when I move my attention to it, I suspect it's a low grade version of piti. 


I have this too every time I meditate…it's wonderful. Very energizing.

Curiously, as concentration deepens, fear is beginning to emerge as well.
This scares the shit out of me,I'm pretty shook by the experience.
I'm worried I've turned myself into a basket case.
I'd rather fall asleep than be terrified all the time.
My day is filled is filled with
anxiety,


I've not experienced this myself. Are you worried this could happen again
It has happened again but it was far, far more manageable because I was prepared for it. The last time it happened (about 2 weeks ago), because it felt so familiar I didn't mind it too much, and it was followed by 30 minutes of "bliss waves" once I fully accepted the fear and relaxed into it. My working hypothesis is that it's just my lizard brain (amygdala) reacting to a change in perception that it can sense is about to happen. If I relax into it and accept it, it goes away. On retreat, I basically spent all my time fighting it. Once I accepted it, I had the most beautiful meditative opening come through. Again, that's just what's happened so far. Who's to say what can happen in the future emoticon?
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 1:47 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/19/23 1:47 PM

RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

Posts: 38 Join Date: 8/10/23 Recent Posts
jhanic ceramic

Rob has quite a lot of disparaging views on "dark night" and "purification" that arise in practice. His view is…that we are building suffering by feeding into it in the present moment the view of purification


Another Rob "discernment" that I don't really understand…


Thanks for posting those Rob Burbea videos, BTW. His stories of beating his chest and roaring like a lion were amazing. When someone told him to quit, he said "but how am I going to get enlightened?" He also said he wasn't an arahant, which was sad. He was an amazing person.


I thought this comment in Chapter 5 at 6:40 was interesting: "I have a mind that picks up on differences between things that don't fit and discerns between them. I don't have a mind that goes 'Isn't this wonderful, isn't this just one, aren't we all saying the same thing?'...I saw discernments that I wanted to make."
David M, modified 10 Months ago at 9/20/23 8:01 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/20/23 8:01 AM

RE: IMS Retreat Center and the Progress of Insight...

Posts: 38 Join Date: 8/10/23 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
The best "map" is the matter of fact experience RIGHT NOW! 


Thanks for this reminder... I appreciate it.

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