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The delusion of no-delusion?

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The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/29/12 10:47 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nad A. 1/29/12 11:01 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/29/12 11:35 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/29/12 4:43 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Vas A 1/29/12 7:45 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/29/12 9:39 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? tarin greco 1/30/12 4:06 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/30/12 2:29 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Tommy M 1/30/12 4:01 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/31/12 5:46 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Tommy M 1/31/12 7:31 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Daniel Johnson 1/30/12 5:01 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/31/12 5:35 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Change A. 1/31/12 6:35 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/31/12 7:50 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/31/12 10:17 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/31/12 10:26 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/31/12 11:37 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? ed c 2/2/12 6:51 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? tarin greco 1/31/12 5:31 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Change A. 1/31/12 6:34 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? josh r s 1/31/12 6:39 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/31/12 6:57 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Change A. 1/31/12 7:09 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/31/12 7:18 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Change A. 1/31/12 7:24 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/31/12 7:42 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Change A. 1/31/12 7:54 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Thom W 1/31/12 6:54 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Change A. 2/2/12 12:17 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 2/3/12 5:50 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Vas A 1/29/12 7:30 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Daniel Johnson 1/30/12 5:17 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/30/12 10:37 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Daniel M. Ingram 1/31/12 3:48 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nad A. 1/31/12 11:21 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/31/12 11:31 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nad A. 1/31/12 11:39 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/31/12 11:45 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nad A. 1/31/12 11:56 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/31/12 12:06 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nad A. 1/31/12 12:28 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/31/12 11:24 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/1/12 2:03 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/1/12 2:47 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/1/12 2:56 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/1/12 3:17 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/1/12 6:25 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? . Jake . 2/1/12 4:27 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/1/12 4:47 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/1/12 5:33 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? . Jake . 2/1/12 8:43 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/1/12 9:13 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/1/12 5:56 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nikolai . 2/2/12 12:34 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/2/12 7:22 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/2/12 7:21 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Null Velle 2/2/12 3:17 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/2/12 3:33 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Null Velle 2/2/12 4:36 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/2/12 3:46 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Chris Marti 2/2/12 3:56 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/2/12 4:09 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 2/2/12 7:54 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Vas A 2/2/12 1:09 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/1/12 6:14 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? . Jake . 2/1/12 9:07 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/1/12 9:34 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? . Jake . 2/1/12 9:43 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/1/12 9:48 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 2/3/12 3:06 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? . Jake . 2/3/12 3:57 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/1/12 8:02 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nikolai . 2/1/12 4:22 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 1/29/12 6:14 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? josh r s 1/29/12 7:28 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 1/29/12 8:19 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? josh r s 1/29/12 8:33 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 1/29/12 8:58 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/29/12 9:46 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Bruno Loff 1/30/12 3:45 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nikolai . 1/30/12 5:13 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Tommy M 1/30/12 6:59 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/30/12 8:17 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 1/30/12 8:33 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/30/12 10:34 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 1/31/12 8:55 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nikolai . 1/31/12 11:15 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 2/1/12 11:45 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 1/31/12 11:26 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 2/3/12 9:19 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/3/12 9:23 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 2/4/12 9:03 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? An Eternal Now 2/4/12 9:15 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/4/12 9:37 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 2/5/12 2:42 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/5/12 10:25 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 2/7/12 9:48 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? End in Sight 2/7/12 10:37 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Nikolai . 1/30/12 3:34 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Santiago Jimenez 1/30/12 8:15 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Andrew . 1/29/12 7:25 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Andrew . 1/29/12 9:07 PM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? (D Z) Dhru Val 1/30/12 2:10 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? Andrew . 1/30/12 2:35 AM
RE: The delusion of no-delusion? James Yen 2/4/12 4:37 PM
The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 10:47 AM
While I agree that in general gossip and intrigue are poor substitutes for practice, I would like to add something to this ongoing discussion, which is in disagreement with Daniel and Nick's moderating tendencies.

I have personally procured more detailed accounts of Richard's behavior than those which were freely available online. They were told to me in confidence, but I was told the story may be brought to the public eye at a later time. This is for good reason, as the reported events have implied someone whose life has been quite affected (personally, emotionally, professionally, socially), and this person still wishes to remain private.

These accounts have forced me to consider the possibility that Richard is living in a condition of severe dissociation. They indicate that not only is Richard VERY VERY FAR from being free from either malice or sorrow, but furthermore that he is unable to recognize the harmful and sorrowful nature of his own gestures (which go to the point of crying and shouting at others).

If these accounts are true and accurate, which time will tell, they are, imho, extremely relevant --- and practically so --- for those people engaging in actualism, or practices inspired by actualism.

The practical relevance for me, personally, of taking this possibility into account, was an added layer of vigilance towards my own interpretations of the world, and of how those interpretations are oh-so-liable to change my perception of the events around me IN A WAY WHICH CONFIRMS THESE VERY INTERPRETATIONS (this is "magick" at its core). The sinking in of this information was of sufficient effect as to cause a shift in all ways similar to other typical perceptual path-shifts I've had in the past, including numerous and powerful fruitions.

The consequences of this are yet not fully understood or integrated. Suffice to say, I suddenly realized I was engaging in a dissociative process myself, and this was happening automatically as a very natural and built-in way of responding to stress.

Now you can take that information as you would like, but I myself, quite frankly, became much more skeptical of accepting claims of "freedom from malice and sorrow."

I realized that I had actually no basis for taking Richard's claims as true, other than "the PCE is really fun" (which it still is). This stands to reason, as I have not met him personally to see how he behaves.

And to offer a (very practical) pointer to other practitioners who are knee-deep in actualism practice and parlance --- I now suspect that my own desire for deliverance makes me prone into buying into this sort of meditation-related trips generally implying an "ultimate & final solution to all my problems". This urge for peace and tranquility can easily (OH SO EASILY) override my own ability to think critically. Heck, it can even enhance my tendency to see flaws in other people's input, and respond to it in a seemingly critical way, while actually protecting what I wanted to believe in. Be as certain as you can that this doesn't happen to you.

My focus will now shift into a more tranquility-oriented, and less "bruno-disappearance-trip"-oriented, practice.

---

And to enrich this post with a tad of humor, here is a quote from Richard.

Richard:

RICHARD: Self-deception is always well worthwhile examining. (...) It is a ‘golden rule’ that has got me to where I am today. Scrupulous honesty – with oneself – is essential if one is to be free of the Human Condition.


To wit, let me just say that if the accounts of his present behavior are true, that he is saying what he is saying reveals a massive, subconscious, self-referential delusion, with all sorts of stabilizing and input-rejecting mechanisms one of which is the belief that he has reached a place of perfect honesty and integrity. Or, for instance I suspect that Richard, if he were to read this post, would say something to the effect that "Bruno's identity is reacting against a glimpse of its own destruction." The intelligent mind, upon seeing these sentences, will hopefully pick up on the vicious self-preserving pattern which is herein described (of which I could provide more examples), and will no longer be able to read the AF trust website in the exact same way.

---

I would be very interested if Tarin and Trent would comment on the possibility that they are not free from delusionary thought (which at least Trent has aluded to in this post), if they have ever wondered or perhaps even noticed themselves engaging in biased interpretative thought or behavior, and how in particular that might apply to their own claims of freedom from malice and sorrow.

I think it would also be an interesting and perhaps productive community effort to discuss issues such as external/scientific validation and verification of claims such as harmlessness, generosity, empathy, well-being, etc...

I also found the following article extremely helpful in giving me a perspective about what might be actually going on: Knowledge of our own thoughts is just as interpretive as knowledge of the thoughts of others. Could Richard, grossly speaking, be simply "interpreting" his behavior as happy and harmless?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 11:01 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Could Richard, grossly speaking, be simply "interpreting" his behavior as happy and harmless?


Lol, yes that could be the case.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 11:35 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
The consequences of this are yet not fully understood or integrated. Suffice to say, I suddenly realized I was engaging in a dissociative process myself, and this was happening automatically as a very natural and built-in way of responding to stress.


What practice, exactly, have you been doing, that you would retrospectively characterize this way?

And to offer a (very practical) pointer to other practitioners who are knee-deep in actualism practice and parlance --- I now suspect that my own desire for deliverance makes me prone into buying into this sort of meditation-related trips generally implying an "ultimate & final solution to all my problems".


I think this is a good point, and true of lots of people (not just you), whatever practices or doctrines they are or aren't oriented towards.

My focus will now shift into a more tranquility-oriented, and less "bruno-disappearance-trip"-oriented, practice.


Sounds good, what exactly does that boil down to?

EDIT: As a separate comment, the AFT defines harmlessness (etc.) as a lack of ill intent, and insists that no one causes a person to suffer but themselves. I have always found this to be very strange, as it seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of causality as well as unfamiliarity with the normal usage of "harmless". I assumed that the reason for this must be that Richard was trying to draw attention to the psychological and intentional causes of behavior, as, from a practice standpoint, it's important to deal with those. However (on the assumption that Richard's behavior is grossly aberrant), I wonder if this peculiar perspective is actually an indication that Richard is aware that his behavior does not fit the standards that the normal meanings of harmless (etc.) would hold him to, and so has selected nonstandard meanings to use.

Not a defense of Richard (as I am not interested in being involved in that sort of discussion), just an elegant explanation for something that always seemed out-of-place to me.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 4:43 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Bruno Loff:
The consequences of this are yet not fully understood or integrated. Suffice to say, I suddenly realized I was engaging in a dissociative process myself, and this was happening automatically as a very natural and built-in way of responding to stress.


What practice, exactly, have you been doing, that you would retrospectively characterize this way?


Not so much a practice, but the mental habit of eyeing the world through the actualist view. Feelings are the root of all evil, and those who deny this are not being honest, actual intimacy this, love sucks, etc, with a one-eyed focus that allowed me to brush aside any (internal or external) opposition. An actualist identity gone wild. Quite similar to Richard's reported behavior.

Now, there are a lot of interesting points in the actualist world view, but, as far as I can factually ascertain, it is no more than a view.

The relationship between actualism, and the PCE, and the stabilization of a PCE-like state, is still a mystery to me. Who knows, maybe Richard's (reported) condition is a particular feature of his personality, rather than a result of a PCE-like state. Since the PCE was indeed fabulous, I might be interested in exploring it further later on. Who knows?

EIS:
My focus will now shift into a more tranquility-oriented, and less "bruno-disappearance-trip"-oriented, practice.


Sounds good, what exactly does that boil down to?


Urban Dictionary:
Chillax (verb)
When the two words 'chill' and 'relax' were combined a word was created: 'chillax'; a conjunction that, when used solely and didactically, can change the general mood or atmosphere of an entire room of people. 'Chillax' by itself is a powerful word, but is nothing in comparison to the sentence that was coined soon after: 'chillax to the MAX'. This sentence should be used with care as it has the power to COMPLETELY relax a room full of people.

Jen: OMG I havent revised for my EXAM OMG!
Dan: Jen....
Dan: Chillax
Jen: You're right Dan, exams are insignificant! Let's focus on our health and happiness and worry about petty bureaucracy another time.


Heh emoticon Actually, I mean to further explore breath meditation.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 6:14 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I think that someone claiming to be perpetually "free from malice and sorrow" is in extreme delusion/dissociation. I would be very careful about them, they usually have huge suppressed shadow material that tends to leak out in very harmfull ways.

That's why I think Zen is very right when it says that "Enlightenment is Delusion" It's very easy to get all tangled up in this Enlightenment stuff.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 7:25 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Thanks for the post Bruno.

I have swung back and forth over this stuff for months now, and have to admit that it still is in the too hard basket as to what to do with it. I find not having personal contact with the people who influence my practice the biggest challenge, and not being able to assess in person the 'whole package' a real dilemma.

On the plus side, the whole AF trip has knocked the 'I know what is going on' wind out of my sails, and made me look at the stark realities of my life again without the rose coloured glasses of 'organised religion' (including Buddhism, the AFT, and god-type belief).

It is a seemingly long journey being taken in an apparently short life.


emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 7:28 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
I think that someone claiming to be perpetually "free from malice and sorrow" is in extreme delusion/dissociation. I would be very careful about them, they usually have huge suppressed shadow material that tends to leak out in very harmfull ways.

That's why I think Zen is very right when it says that "Enlightenment is Delusion" It's very easy to get all tangled up in this Enlightenment stuff.


Well in that case there are a few deluded and dissociated members in this forum, and quite a few more looking to go that way (myself included). I would be careful about assuming what is and isn't possible. What is your interest in meditation if not "enlightenment stuff?"

I think the buddha would be pretty deluded and dissociated too...

(I don't follow actualism stuff myself, but I am interested in the end of malice and sorrow, though i now think of it as the end of suffering, buddhist terms.)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 7:30 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

EDIT: As a separate comment, the AFT defines harmlessness (etc.) as a lack of ill intent, and insists that no one causes a person to suffer but themselves. I have always found this to be very strange, as it seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of causality as well as unfamiliarity with the normal usage of "harmless". I assumed that the reason for this must be that Richard was trying to draw attention to the psychological and intentional causes of behavior, as, from a practice standpoint, it's important to deal with those. However (on the assumption that Richard's behavior is grossly aberrant), I wonder if this peculiar perspective is actually an indication that Richard is aware that his behavior does not fit the standards that the normal meanings of harmless (etc.) would hold him to, and so has selected nonstandard meanings to use.


I THINK YOU HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON ITS HEAD

and most of the problems of the aft philosophy arises due to those non-standard definitions and obedience to them.

for instance,
actual - that which is evident in pce
real - pscyhe
'i' to denote identity
'i' am my feelings and 'feelings' are me (what happens to other aspects?)
'impersonal self'
catchall words happiness and sorrow and malice to denote the entire spectrum of feelings
most people use god / divine etc. metaphorically and it is common knowledge (for instance, in einstien phrase 'god does not play dice' he refers to god in a metaphorical way, stephen hawking talks about mind of god etc. this is discussed very well
in richard dawkin's god delusion book)
the aft site criticizes these by taking these literally (non-standard interpretation)
...
the list goes on

as wittgenstein says - there are no philosophical issues, only linguistic ones
this is very apt here.
emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 7:45 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

Not so much a practice, but the mental habit of eyeing the world through the actualist view. Feelings are the root of all evil, and those who deny this are not being honest, actual intimacy this, love sucks, etc, with a one-eyed focus that allowed me to brush aside any (internal or external) opposition. An actualist identity gone wild. Quite similar to Richard's reported behavior.

Now, there are a lot of interesting points in the actualist world view, but, as far as I can factually ascertain, it is no more than a view.


yes, you said it, the af world view
while the method itself might have merits similar to cbt or rebt, the worldview itself doesn't seem that right

chillax!

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 8:19 PM as a reply to josh r s.
Well in that case there are a few deluded and dissociated members in this forum, and quite a few more looking to go that way (myself included). I would be careful about assuming what is and isn't possible. What is your interest in meditation if not "enlightenment stuff?"


I'm sorry if I offended anyone, that wasn't my intention, and that statement is just my honest opinion (of course many people, like you and probably many other members would differ and I totally respect that) let me quote Dogen Zenji

"To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever"

I think meditation is a wonderful discovery of the human race, I've been doing it for 15 years, have gotten tremendous benefits from it, recommend it to anyone I can, and plan to do it my whole life. Having said that I would consider myself completely deluded, I'm just ok with it. emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 8:33 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
I wasn't intending to scold you for what you said, although the way I said what I said made it look like that.

I was thinking more of asking for your reasons to believe that being perpetually free from malice and sorrow would be impossible and that it would take delusion to believe one was in such a state. I believe it is possible because I have had temporary experiences that lacked malice or sorrow even in their most subtlest forms as far as I could possibly discern, and I don't have a reason to believe that people who claim that they have uprooted the defilements which i have temporarily supressed are lying.. Also, my "permanent" (automatic, not intentionally altered) experience has made a few baby steps in that direction.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 8:58 PM as a reply to josh r s.
josh r s:

I was thinking more of asking for your reasons to believe that being perpetually free from malice and sorrow would be impossible and that it would take delusion to believe one was in such a state. I believe it is possible because I have had temporary experiences that lacked malice or sorrow even in their most subtlest forms as far as I could possibly discern, and I don't have a reason to believe that people who claim that they have uprooted the defilements which i have temporarily supressed are lying.. Also, my "permanent" (automatic, not intentionally altered) experience has made a few baby steps in that direction.


Thanks Josh, here's how I see it:

I also have had temporary experiences like the ones you describe. By temporary I mean about 1 year. I was convinced that malice and sorrow were gone for good. It turned out that I was completely deluded and was just suppressing very deep parts of my humanity, they then came back like a tsunami that left me almost dysfunctional. I think I was saved by my many years of practice.

So when talking about what is possible. I can't assure that someone has ever done this (how do this people know that malice or sorrow won't ever reappear ... how COULD they know for sure ?) I guess there are claims in the ancient texts, but to be honest, I wouldn't trust that so much, for obvious reasons, not to say that the texts are useless .... hell no, that would be horrible !!! but we have to take into account that they might be filled with some magical thinking and just plain inaccuracy.

I think enlightenment in the sense of realizing the perspective of no - self is absolutely doable by practically anyone. However I think trying to "be free" from the human condition does tend to repress and dissociate. I believe that the closest thing to "being free" from the human condition would be to learn to love our human condition.

Here's a more detailed view of my understanding on this:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2695280#_19_message_2695280

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 9:07 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:


I think it would also be an interesting and perhaps productive community effort to discuss issues such as external/scientific validation and verification of claims such as harmlessness, generosity, empathy, well-being, etc...

I also found the following article extremely helpful in giving me a perspective about what might be actually going on: Knowledge of our own thoughts is just as interpretive as knowledge of the thoughts of others.


Great point and cool link!

I too found that after adopting the af practice, it comes complete with the af world view. A view that paints a very black and white veneer of 'real vs actual' when the experience tells me, the real (psyche) is very much part of the actual (sensations) and vis versa.

The net effect on me has been to open my understanding of some of the darker aspects of human behaviour/condition and basically 'grow me up'. 2 months ago I went 'hard at it' and have found the effect to be desensitising. As I've swung back, the net effect is to become more of an 'average joe' less of a 'spiritual seeker'.

I think Bill Hamilton was on the money when he made "Saints and Psychopaths" the title of his book. From what I can tell, I am in a soup of both, both internally and externally, it really is not easy to distinguish, or infact so easy to become one and not the other considering how close the territory really is. i was taught/ accepted that the differences were significant, after practicing/ adopting af for a while, I'm not so sure. Leaving 'emotion' behind seems to walk straight through the middle of psychopath territory. I just don't care as much, but as I'm aware of this I've been more likely to make an effort towards compassionate behaviour, which I guess is altruism, but I am not comfortable with how similar to 'faking normalcy' this is (a common tell tale sign of spotting sociopaths is they are able to turn charm/warmth on and off like a switch, become an 'ideal normal person' at will). I'm not claiming to have gone that far down the af path, just learning something completely different than what I'm 'supposed to be' learning (or unlearning).

So basically it is 'handle with caution' as usual. A little bit of vitamin R is good for you, a whole lot probably not.

I think having relationships with objective witnesses is essential, to judge the 'animal in it natural habitat' (to borrow a Desmond Morris attitude to studying humans.) This practice is dangerous if done in isolation. That could be said of a lot of human activity though, so it's not a condemnation, just a observation. And I think it's true of all dharma related practices.

Going through all of this has opened up a world of understanding, but I am not reaching the same conclusions as put forward as being the end goal by the AFT (AF). As many have pointed out, a PCE would clear up a lot of questions for me, but I that is only true if you have accepted the correct answers before hand.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 9:39 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Not so much a practice, but the mental habit of eyeing the world through the actualist view. Feelings are the root of all evil, and those who deny this are not being honest, actual intimacy this, love sucks, etc, with a one-eyed focus that allowed me to brush aside any (internal or external) opposition. An actualist identity gone wild. Quite similar to Richard's reported behavior.

Now, there are a lot of interesting points in the actualist world view, but, as far as I can factually ascertain, it is no more than a view.


There is something subtle and useful being pointed to here that I've found helpful, but I find it hard to express. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn05/sn05.008.than.html

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/29/12 9:46 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
However I think trying to "be free" from the human condition does tend to repress and dissociate. I believe that the closest thing to "being free" from the human condition would be to learn to love our human condition.


If you could choose to be happy and free of malice all the time, would you?

Would you choose it for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 2:10 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
I also found the following article extremely helpful in giving me a perspective about what might be actually going on: Knowledge of our own thoughts is just as interpretive as knowledge of the thoughts of others. Could Richard, grossly speaking, be simply "interpreting" his behavior as happy and harmless?


Happiness is by definition subjective, and as EiS pointed out Richard defines harmlessness as subjective also. So in some sense Richard is correct.

However the problem with actualism is that it seems to elevate a 1st person perceptual viewpoint that is useful in the practices leading to the end of suffering as the only one that can be valid in terms of morality or taking actions in the world as a whole.

For instance: it is possible to drink alcohol and feel sober and harmless during a PCE from a 1st person viewpoint. But you still act drunk and do drunken things that can be quite harmful from a 2nd or 3rd person viewpoint.

I suspect the argument that someone like Richard would make in response to this is that the 'objective' viewpoint of morality is also inherently subjective because you are the one that is experiencing it. This is correct, but a flawed line of thought because even when we accept that all objective statements are subjective there are different perspectives that my first person subjectivity can consider that are useful under different circumstances.

For eg.

1st person subjective preception of my 1st person viewpoint.
- eg (I preceive) I feel happy.

1st person subjective perception of a 2nd person viewpoint
- eg (I preceive) He is angry

1st person subjective perceptoin of a 3rd person viewpoint
- eg (I preceive) Its 2'O clock right now.

1st person subjective perception of a 4th person viewpoint
- eg (I preceive) That everyone has different ideas of what the best TV show is.

1st person subjective perception of a 5th person viewpoint
- eg (I preceive) All of the above viewpoints are valid to some extent.

(It is also possible to have 6th, 7th, etc person viewpoints going up to one of the time-space continuum as a whole that encompasses all of the above. But lets leave that out for now.)

The problem with AF is that it focuses on the reification 1st person preception of the 1st person viewpoint over all others. They seem to be proud of this and regard all other perspectives as delusional. This seems to be quite a flawed way of relating to the world.

The confusion stems from the fact that that considering all reality as mediated by 1st person perception is useful within the context of practices leading to the end of suffering. However this is clearly not necessarily always the useful when it comes to doing other things.

My takeaway from reading the AF trust articles has been that the development of the ability to take different perspectives on reality is an orthogonal line of development relative to that leading to personal happiness and peace.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 2:35 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:

The problem with AF is that it focuses on the reification 1st person preception of the 1st person viewpoint over all others. They seem to be proud of this and regard all other perspectives as delusional.


So while claiming the actual as validation for the point of view, it is essentially solipsism when evidence is asked for. 'All the evidence is in the PCE' it is claimed, which is 1st person, and not (apart from Richard apparently) verifiable by a second party.

This would explain it's appeal to me, as for many years I was a solipsist, adhering to a mentalist type of dogma. Or as Bruno alluded too; the essential magick trick; was it real before i wish it so? Or is only real to me now I no longer care that it could be otherwise?

Still, there are some extremely valid things to consider in a view point as extreme as this; how much damage do I inflict in this world because I do experience my own suffering? If I were not suffering 'stress', how different would I behave?

About 2 months ago, I really put into practice alot of what Richard calls contemplation, and breaking down to social identity, challenging the last vestiges of a christian upbringing, and basically going all out. then I visited the '3rd world' for a month (if that term is still allowed?) and saw how christianity was actually holding it together. So, I can't say that contemplation in this way does anything other than convince the contemplative of predetermined outcomes. delusion of no-delusion indeed.

and yet, I enjoy writing with far fewer capital letters now. so all is not lost.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 3:34 AM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:


So when talking about what is possible. I can't assure that someone has ever done this (how do this people know that malice or sorrow won't ever reappear ... how COULD they know for sure ?) I guess there are claims in the ancient texts, but to be honest, I wouldn't trust that so much, for obvious reasons, not to say that the texts are useless .... hell no, that would be horrible !!! but we have to take into account that they might be filled with some magical thinking and just plain inaccuracy.



This has not been in accord with my ongoing experience (at least the changes possible that you refer to not trusting to be possible). If you are interested in continuing on from your ongoing state to what may well be described in the ancient texts, there are a number of us at the DhO who can help you do that or at least point you to practices which will make those 'beliefs' you have expressed evaporate quickly upon resultant 'shifts'.

Nick

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 3:45 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
However I think trying to "be free" from the human condition does tend to repress and dissociate. I believe that the closest thing to "being free" from the human condition would be to learn to love our human condition.


If you could choose to be happy and free of malice all the time, would you?

Would you choose it for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?


Excuse my bluntness EIS, but why are you so certain you aren't simply engaging in mental masturbation? That your motives for writing in this way are not actually based on your own identity, which you mistakenly assume is out of the picture? On a need to think of yourself a certain way, perhaps because you would like to justify your own choices in life.

One thing that became quite glaring is how my own mental justifications for my own actions happen completely a-posteriori. It seems I am motivated to act mostly through an underground almost metabolic intelligence with its own agenda, and then my own conceptual mind decides to interpret these actions in whichever way it finds suitable, given beliefs, context, self-image, self-narrative, etc.

In Richard's reported mode-of-behavior, this "a-posteriori self-justification" seems to have reached levels of great dissonance, so that, regardless of the events, his mental mechanisms have a way of always concluding he was harmless, caring, generous, etc. And yes, in this narrative of his, he did it for his parents, his neighbours, the unfortunate in the world, the victims of war, etc... A deep-rooted egolatry which he can no-longer see.

How do you know that you aren't simply buying into a view? In fact, how can you know for sure? Here is an account, now on the public record, of where that kind of thought may lead:

Aloha:

Now, who would have imagined that a man who shuns all publicity, public veneration and calls himself a 14 year old boy from the farm who has nothing to gain from anyone or any desires and fancies participated in a public ceremony that was organized in his honour by another person whom he had declared free of human condition. A public ceremony where Richard was draped with 'Golden shawl' and honour that is bestowed in that 'culture' to a person of high stature and recognition. And public speeches were made in Richard's honour, wherein he was declared the sage that the humanity had been waiting for. Not only that, Richard accepted all that with an aplomb and treasures the Golden Shawl as the best thing that happened to him.


And this is but one example of a (reported) behavior which seems to imply a very cunning, manipulative, and deluded mind.

Are you now willing to question that maybe your "free of malice for the sake of peace on earth" mental narratives actually arise out of a quite different, very human desire? Perhaps a desire for personal meaning? Please, as a practical suggestion, almost a meditation instruction (as I have followed yours, and should continue to do so), I suggest you just question it, ask yourself if that might be the case. Do introspection in this way and see where that leads. For a while, take on the view that your own personal narratives arise a-posteriori, as a way to compensate for urges which are actually quite distinct in nature than what those narratives seem to imply.

Speaking personally, I can tell you that my real motivations are starting to seem quite distinct from my own mental justifications and narratives, which are like golden lyrical lacquer hiding something much more raw (and mostly subconscious).

Imho, if one can not avoid being full of shit, it is better to know it is so. (hence the title of this thread)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 5:13 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:


Are you now willing to question that maybe your "free of malice for the sake of peace on earth" mental narratives actually arise out of a quite different, very human desire? Perhaps a desire for personal meaning? Please, as a practical suggestion, almost a meditation instruction (as I have followed yours, and should continue to do so), I suggest you just question it, ask yourself if that might be the case. Do introspection in this way and see where that leads. For a while, take on the view that your own personal narratives arise a-posteriori, as a way to compensate for urges which are actually quite distinct in nature than what those narratives seem to imply.

Speaking personally, I can tell you that my real motivations are starting to seem quite distinct from my own mental justifications and narratives, which are like golden lyrical lacquer hiding something much more raw (and mostly subconscious).

Imho, if one can not avoid being full of shit, it is better to know it is so.


Asked to End, but I will give my own 2 cents.

I only wished to be free of illwill, craving, sorrow and all that suffering so I could stop suffering them as well as to stop being such a prick to be around with my loved ones and friends and people i meet. Very personal meaning I think. I never had a desire for 'world peace' to be a part of what I did/do. I don't think EiS has expressed this 'for the sake of peace on earth' intention either. I may be mistaken though.

I post in places like this and elsewhere as the Dhamma, and everything that got associated with it as well as the practices I did/do, were THE passion in my life for a long time. They may not have that affective buzz to them these days, but it still is my favourite past-time to talk dhamma (and what I currently think is dhamma). All very personal in meaning.

While I think it would be lovely to have peace on earth, the nightly news and the bad PR of many of the practices that could help people live a life without their noggin making them stress out convinces me otherwise. I really am only aiming to not be a prick but a good helpful presence to those around me and those I meet, not much else. An ongoing flow of cause and effect and past conditioning, all my own karmas (actions) and there fruits, all very personal indeed.

Nick

Edited a few times to make sense.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 4:06 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
End in Sight:
Bruno Loff:
The consequences of this are yet not fully understood or integrated. Suffice to say, I suddenly realized I was engaging in a dissociative process myself, and this was happening automatically as a very natural and built-in way of responding to stress.


What practice, exactly, have you been doing, that you would retrospectively characterize this way?


Not so much a practice, but the mental habit of eyeing the world through the actualist view. Feelings are the root of all evil, and those who deny this are not being honest, actual intimacy this, love sucks, etc, with a one-eyed focus that allowed me to brush aside any (internal or external) opposition. An actualist identity gone wild. Quite similar to Richard's reported behavior.

feelings are the root of all evil? where did you get this idea? so much for understanding how 'i' am 'my feelings' and 'my feelings' are 'me', and the value of being your own best friend..

*

as for your question to me (as well as to trent) specifically: define delusion, and i may be able to produce (or 'interpret', if you prefer) a meaningful reply.

*

End in Sight:
Bruno Loff:
My focus will now shift into a more tranquility-oriented, and less "bruno-disappearance-trip"-oriented, practice.


Sounds good, what exactly does that boil down to?

i agree with end in sight - sounds good.

tarin

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 6:59 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Please, as a practical suggestion, almost a meditation instruction (as I have followed yours, and should continue to do so), I suggest you just question it, ask yourself if that might be the case. Do introspection in this way and see where that leads. For a while, take on the view that your own personal narratives arise a-posteriori, as a way to compensate for urges which are actually quite distinct in nature than what those narratives seem to imply.

Bruno, I remember you suggesting something similar to Daniel a while ago (this thread) when he was talking about pursuing "AF". I also remember Tarin suggesting that your advice was "the blind leading the sighted", and I don't think it would be unfair to say that the same thing is happening here.

Just to be clear here, I have no interest in Richard or, any longer at least, in what is propagated by the AFT but I do think that what we're talking about here, which was once referred to as "AF", is a worthwhile and sensible way to live. Since nobody on here can claim to be "AF" anymore it seems obvious to me that we're talking about something quite different from what Richard claims to experience.

As far as being full of shit goes, we're all guilty of that sometimes but the ability to question it, investigate it and break it down, while not eradicating it completely, makes it much easier to see when you've begun smearing it all over the walls of a forum. emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 8:17 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
However I think trying to "be free" from the human condition does tend to repress and dissociate. I believe that the closest thing to "being free" from the human condition would be to learn to love our human condition.


If you could choose to be happy and free of malice all the time, would you?

Would you choose it for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?


Excuse my bluntness EIS, but why are you so certain you aren't simply engaging in mental masturbation? That your motives for writing in this way are not actually based on your own identity, which you mistakenly assume is out of the picture? On a need to think of yourself a certain way, perhaps because you would like to justify your own choices in life. (...) Are you now willing to question that maybe your "free of malice for the sake of peace on earth" mental narratives actually arise out of a quite different, very human desire?


The main non-obvious purpose of my series of questions was simply to allude to the idea that, whatever one thinks of the possibility, being happy and free of malice seems to be a desirable thing, and it would overall seem to be pro-social to wish it on others and anti-social to withhold it (if one had the power to bestow it).

In general, I have found that the view "happiness all the time would be bad" is some kind of unreflective reflex for many people. Asking who in particular a person would keep happiness from (if they had the power to bestow it), in light of their "happiness all the time would be bad" theory, seems like a fair way to begin an investigation into whether that view is well thought-out or not thought-out at all.

A secondary non-obvious purpose is that I have found that considering a hypothetical case to be reasonably possible rather than unlikely ever to transpire often changes people's tune fairly quickly with respect to the desirability or undesirability of that case...as opinions about unlikely cases seem to be generated by a non-"reality based" mode of thinking. (One generates them by e.g. thinking about what would seem to be good according to a particular idealized narrative about the world, rather than by thinking about what the actual benefits or difficulties would be, since benefits or difficulties are unlikely ever to be experienced when the case is considered too unlikely, whereas idealized narratives are compelling for a variety of reasons.) Asking that one consider that they could choose happiness and lack of malice for others bases one's judgment a bit more in "reasonably possible" (as they are considering a case where they have the power to actually cause such a thing).

I have no idea whether Santiago considers that being happy and free from malice is desirable or undesirable, or whether his opinion on it relates to either of my observations concerning how people often think about these subjects. What I do know is that I'm curious to hear his reflective opinion about the subject (which is the obvious purpose of my series of questions).

As for "free of malice for the sake of peace on earth"...to be equally blunt, you have bought into Richard's dogma in the past, whereas I never have, and it appears that this dogma (whether you currently accept it or reject it) is still coloring your view of the world and biasing your interpretation of my writing. The meaning that you think is so obvious in what I wrote (and the narratives you associate with it) never actually crossed my mind in relation to my questions.

(As for the tangential question of whether contemplative practices are likely to usher in profound social changes such as peace on earth...my best estimate at the moment is that the past social history of those practices (including actualism) is likely to be no different from their future social history, unless there is some other radical change in the world. However, if they make some individual a better person, the world is likely to benefit from it to some extent, and that seems like a good effect to me.)

(Edited for clarity.)

EDIT 2: Upon re-reading what I originally wrote, I see there are two interpretations:

1) Would you choose [the experience of being happy and free of malice all the time] for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?

2) Would you choose [for you to be happy and free of malice all the time] for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?

I intended 1), and perhaps the reading in 2) is more likely when set in the context of the AFT's spiel about this, but perhaps not. I did not see reading 2) until just now, and so my response may be less relevant to you if you thought I intended 2) rather than 1). In any case, I'll leave my prior response up in case it's still relevant / helpful.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 2:29 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:
feelings are the root of all evil? where did you get this idea?


Isn't it obvious? From Richard (link): Beliefs and feelings are the bane of humankind ... they have been so instrumental in killing, maiming, torturing and otherwise causing such pain and suffering since the dawn of human history, that one wonders that they are given any credence at all these days. Dozens of other examples.

It is very easy, if one is inclined to do so, to find feelings as a common causal root of every single instance of misbehavior.

Tarin:
so much for understanding how 'i' am 'my feelings' and 'my feelings' are 'me', and the value of being your own best friend...


Not really — I got a lot of good things out of the AFT website, being more friendly towards myself was one of them. The how 'i' am 'my feelings' and 'my feelings' are 'me' part, I didn't fully understand, no. It seemed rather axiomatic.

Tarin:

as for your question to me (as well as to trent) specifically: define delusion, and i may be able to produce (or 'interpret', if you prefer) a meaningful reply.


Delusion: an opinion or interpretation which is firmly maintained despite evidence to the contrary. Have you had the experience, since becoming actually free (or whatever), of having new information come in which contradicts previous conclusions you derived? And which might reveal that there was an error in the way you formed these previous interpretations — perhaps at the time the interpretation was formed your opinions were already half-formed, or biased due to past circumstances, and this made you prone to thinking with a certain inclination which was not actually based on tangible evidence, and this becomes clear upon the arrival of new evidence. This is quite normal, and should be happening within any brain capable of correcting its own misinterpretations.

If it is not happening, then either there are no misinterpretations, or they are not being detected correctly. Since Trent has stated that "delusion has no hold" in his mind, I am specifically asking what that is like.

I hope you are now able (and willing) to produce a meaningful reply.

---

An instance of delusion: (reportedly) Richard has had opportunities to realize he is not free from, say, sorrow — I know of one report where he cried lamenting his old age. Yet I see no retraction of his claims of being free from sorrow (which leads me to think he still believes it himself). If these reports are true, and he did not change his mind, then this is delusion. I'll assume you agree with this simple inference.

Tarin: Are you clear where I am coming from, and why Richard's reported misbehavior is something noteworthy (if true)? The issue at hand is whether this blindness to certain feeling-motivated events (such as crying) is a feature or a potential result of the AF condition itself, a possibility which should be investigated with the utmost neutrality. And part of that investigation could use the input of those who are actually free.

Maybe in the end of the day we'll just conclude that it was simply a quirk of Richard's mind and personality that he (reportedly) can't quite see what's going on, and that he engages in the behaviors he (reportedly) does.

Tommy: I think your two paragraphs are basically a call to authority, and a call to the lack of it, and the third is a brushing aside of the concerns I have raised. Aren't they are all convenient ways of justifying your seeming avoidance at pondering the issue raised in this thread?

EIS: you're right, I interpreted it as number 2. Your points are fair.

If what I say comes off as me trying to "lead" anyone anywhere or "teach" anyone anything, I apologize — I think I have the tendency to frame things that way. I too am trying to make sense of it all, and part of that means interacting with the people who are trying to do the same in similar ways. I strive for parity, both in thought and speech, but I am often betrayed by my own idiosyncrasies. However, I think that my suggestion to EIS is a legitimate instance of "hey try do this and see what happens."

If neither of you wishes to do so, it is your call. Perhaps you already have the fruit, i.e., an understanding of how narratives to justify action can be inaccurately reporting or even completely dissociated from the true (largely subconscious) motives behind that action, and an inner understanding of why it works that way (essentially the narrative comes a posteriori and is influenced by mental processes different than those which caused the action to take place). If not, then I sugest (SUGGEST!) that you investigate this.

---

If you are somehow wondering if that means that I have somehow "given up on PCEs" or my search for peace of mind, the answer is most definitely no. I do not think I really have a choice in the matter, as insight has a way of happening regardless of what I do. So this isn't even a criticism of the contemplative lifestyle, or of PCE practice in particular.

However, if indeed Richard's behavior is as claimed, it is an instance of how permanently living in a PCE-like condition doesn't necessarily save someone from "being a prick to others" and to think that one is already free from that possibility might be a bad sign, actually.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 4:01 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Tommy: I think your two paragraphs are basically a call to authority, and a call to the lack of it, and the third is a brushing aside of the concerns I have raised. Aren't they are all convenient ways of justifying your seeming avoidance at pondering the issue raised in this thread?

Call to authority? I have to admit that I didn't actually know what that meant until I looked it up, it's not a term I'm familiar with and I certainly didn't mean my response to come across in that way. Let me try to clarify what I meant. It wasn't a matter of me saying "Well, this person knows more than you about x, y or z and so they must be right", all I meant was that there's a good chance that the person in question, in this case End, has probably considered and contemplated such a thing at some point in their practice over the last few years. It's the same thing as what I mean about the thread where you attempted to get Dan to try something you suggested, something which, again, that person is likely to have considered and contemplated at some point in their practice. I could be wrong, of course, and I base these things on my own experience of having considered almost exactly what you suggest during the course of my own practice:

Are you now willing to question that maybe your "free of malice for the sake of peace on earth" mental narratives actually arise out of a quite different, very human desire? Perhaps a desire for personal meaning? Please, as a practical suggestion, almost a meditation instruction (as I have followed yours, and should continue to do so), I suggest you just question it, ask yourself if that might be the case. Do introspection in this way and see where that leads. For a while, take on the view that your own personal narratives arise a-posteriori, as a way to compensate for urges which are actually quite distinct in nature than what those narratives seem to imply.


The second paragraph I only mentioned to make it clear that I have no interest in Richard & Co., Actual Freedom (whatever the fuck Richard decides it is) or the dogma of the AFT. In the time that I actively engaged in Actualism practice, as in straight from the AFT site, I still didn't bother with any of the rest of that particular paradigm and limited my readings on the site to those parts which offered practical information, not Richard's Wild & Wacky Wonderland trip which is something I've never, ever been able to take seriously.

I had absolutely no intention of brushing aside your concerns, that wasn't what I meant by that at all. The third paragraph wasn't even remotely serious which is why I used the "dirty protest" analogy, I was laughing at what you had written as I actually agree with you "Imho, if one can not avoid being full of shit, it is better to know it is so.". For my own reasons, I have no interest in entering into discussion about Richard and his seemingly batshit crazy antics which is why I didn't address your concerns directly.

For the record, my view of Richard is that he's a guy with some serious mental health issues. As the story unfolds, I see more and more parallels with the story of L. Ron Hubbard and the Scientologists but I don't think that Richard has the capabilities, physically or mentally, to pull off something of that scale.

Anyway, Bruno, do whatever makes you happy and best of luck however you choose to move forward.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 5:01 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Isn't it obvious? From Richard (link): Beliefs and feelings are the bane of humankind ... they have been so instrumental in killing, maiming, torturing and otherwise causing such pain and suffering since the dawn of human history, that one wonders that they are given any credence at all these days. Dozens of other examples.

It is very easy, if one is inclined to do so, to find feelings as a common causal root of every single instance of misbehavior.


How is the word "instrumental" equivalent to "common causal root"?
How is "bane" (a thing that ruins or spoils) equivalent to "evil" (morally wrong or bad)?

Bruno Loff:
Not so much a practice, but the mental habit of eyeing the world through the actualist view. ... An actualist identity gone wild. ...
Now, there are a lot of interesting points in the actualist world view, but, as far as I can factually ascertain, it is no more than a view.


A view and identity which you created. I can verify that this is unique to you, because upon my reading of the AFT website, I didn't develop the same actualist worldview, or actualist identity, nor did I interpret the AFT writing in the way which you did. Of course, I have many of my own faulty views, so I'm no example of clarity and lack of delusion. I'm just saying that the delusion you refer to seems to be yours, and not shared by all. From the above report, it seems that maybe you weren't practicing actualism so much as practicing a mental habit of eyeing the world through a particular view which you interpreted from the actualist writings.

It seems that some people here may be now reconsidering (or rejecting?) the "AF worldview" which they themselves created. There is no concrete "AF worldview." There is Richard's worldview, and no one can ever know what that is, exactly, except for Richard, because your understanding of his worldview will always, inevitably be influenced by your own worldview. There is your worldview, and my worldview, and there may be your "AF worldview", or someone else's "AF worldview".

IMO, the actualist teachings became distorted when DhO members started habitually using the acronym of "AF" for what actually was a pretty clear phrase before: actual freedom (as opposed to felt freedom, or spiritual freedom) from the human condition (malice, sorrow and all the instinctual passions/feelings). If tarin claims to be actually (not just imaginary, deluded, or felt) free from malice and sorrow, then I would be quite comfortable saying that he is "actually free." Whether or not he is "DhO definition of AF" or whether or not he is "AFT definition of Actual Freedom(tm)" seems completely irrelevant to me compared to the actual condition which he finds himself in.

This whole thing becomes somewhat humorous when, in essence, what you are now asking tarin and Trent to report is if their freedom (from malice and sorrow) is in fact, actual. (not deluded or imaginary) This seems to be the essence of your inquiry and others as well.

In my opinion, "actual freedom from the human condition of malice and sorrow" sums up the goal of practice better than "enlightenment" (who wants to be made of light?) or "awakening" (and still suffering?) or "arahat" (do you - or anybody alive - speak fluent pali?). Another phrase I might be interested in could be "actual freedom from greed, hatred, and delusion." Or, simply "no more greed, hatred, and delusion." Or, "not a zippity lippity trace of any crazy-human mischievous suffering crap, for sure, for sure, and triple for sure." Maybe we can call it ZL? ;)

Bruno Loff:
However, if indeed Richard's behavior is as claimed...


As it is currently still, a claim, how would one set about verifying it? Even if Richard was crying and lamenting, what was the context? Perhaps they were doing skits by the fireplace, and he was acting out the human condition for the amusement of his friends? Just an example, but ya never know. Given that this person who reports Richard's supposed affective behavior is themselves trapped in the human web of delusion, by what measure can we tease out the actual and factual from this person's possible delusions. For example, maybe they have a vested interest in destroying Richard's reputation? If this person believes themselves to be harmed (personally, professionally, emotionally, and socially) by Richard, it is quite likely that they have a bone to pick. I'm not saying that it's not possible that Richard is deluded or lying or both, but rather, it still seems uncertain whether or not it is true.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 5:17 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
EDIT: As a separate comment, the AFT defines harmlessness (etc.) as a lack of ill intent, and insists that no one causes a person to suffer but themselves. ... has selected nonstandard meanings to use.


Another example of a personalized "AFT worldview"?

Have you read this page?
http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/harmless.htm

On that page, I don't find the phrase "ill intent" anywhere. And, I find what seems to be a very "standard" meaning in use (the OED definition.)

I know that "harmlessness" has been much debated here, but my interpretation of the AFT writing on the topic works well for me. I can't report from my own experience (having not yet attained to a condition free of malice and sorrow), but it seems reasonable that a human who lacks malice and sorrow is harmless in the same sense that a raindrop is harmless (innocent, or innocuous). A raindrop doesn't mean to harm anything, but erosion and rain damage can still be quite destructive.

Unlike a raindrop, a person can learn, and therefore become more skillful in the physical world, but a person can never be more harmless than the limits of their physical human body. For example, a human may learn to communicate more clearly using language, but a human may not be able to transcend the need to live off of nutriment from other living creatures. Therefore, to talk of an ideal and perfect harmlessness, in which a raindrop never erodes, and all humans are breatharians seems like a totally impractical and worthless definition. Much better to use the word harmless in a way which makes practical sense, I think.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 8:15 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Santiago Jimenez:


So when talking about what is possible. I can't assure that someone has ever done this (how do this people know that malice or sorrow won't ever reappear ... how COULD they know for sure ?) I guess there are claims in the ancient texts, but to be honest, I wouldn't trust that so much, for obvious reasons, not to say that the texts are useless .... hell no, that would be horrible !!! but we have to take into account that they might be filled with some magical thinking and just plain inaccuracy.



This has not been in accord with my ongoing experience (at least the changes possible that you refer to not trusting to be possible). If you are interested in continuing on from your ongoing state to what may well be described in the ancient texts, there are a number of us at the DhO who can help you do that or at least point you to practices which will make those 'beliefs' you have expressed evaporate quickly upon resultant 'shifts'.

Nick


Thanks Nick I respect what you say. So according to your own experience, do you consider yourself as being permanently free from malice and sorrow ?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 8:33 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
However I think trying to "be free" from the human condition does tend to repress and dissociate. I believe that the closest thing to "being free" from the human condition would be to learn to love our human condition.


If you could choose to be happy and free of malice all the time, would you?

Would you choose it for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?



Maybe it would be good to define "Being free and happy all the time"

As a practical example: If someone you deeply love dies would you experience any sorrow ?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 10:34 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
However I think trying to "be free" from the human condition does tend to repress and dissociate. I believe that the closest thing to "being free" from the human condition would be to learn to love our human condition.


If you could choose to be happy and free of malice all the time, would you?

Would you choose it for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?


Maybe it would be good to define "Being free and happy all the time"


We can start with the everyday meanings of "happy and free of malice". No need for a definition, the normal, vague understanding will do.

I'm really just curious what you think, so if you need a specific definition, feel free to pick one that you think would be informative, and then answer.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/30/12 10:37 PM as a reply to Daniel Johnson.
Daniel Johnson:
End in Sight:
EDIT: As a separate comment, the AFT defines harmlessness (etc.) as a lack of ill intent, and insists that no one causes a person to suffer but themselves. ... has selected nonstandard meanings to use.


Another example of a personalized "AFT worldview"?

Have you read this page?
http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/harmless.htm

On that page, I don't find the phrase "ill intent" anywhere. And, I find what seems to be a very "standard" meaning in use (the OED definition.)


Though I don't have a reference offhand, I am fairly certain that the AFT endorses the view that no one causes a person to suffer but themselves (perhaps because a person only suffers because of 'being', and as 'I' am 'being', only 'I' cause 'myself' to suffer). And that puts a very different spin on the page you linked to (as "harmless" would boil down to "free of 'being'").

Am I mistaken?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 3:48 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
For what it is worth, my practice these days is basically just good old direct clear sensate awareness straight up without any obvious attempt to have it be or do anything particularly and seeing what happens, though the general panoramic through and through view tends to pervade, as it were.

In this I have gone back to very simple first principles as they would seem hard to argue with and thus I can proceed without any obvious concern about any of the rest of it, which is really nice, actually... (pun intended)

Daniel

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 5:35 AM as a reply to Daniel Johnson.
Daniel Johnson:

How is the word "instrumental" equivalent to "common causal root"?
How is "bane" (a thing that ruins or spoils) equivalent to "evil" (morally wrong or bad)?


You will have to forgive my imprecise use of language. Please focus.

Daniel Johnson:

A view and identity which you created. I can verify that this is unique to you, because upon my reading of the AFT website, I didn't develop the same actualist worldview, or actualist identity, nor did I interpret the AFT writing in the way which you did.


I am happy to hear you were not as taken by it as I was. I am happy I engaged in the actualist worldview, I got a lot of good things out of it. But I also thought it was true, or rather "actual".

In one way that is understandable, as my euphoria at the time allowed me to ignore what was later seen as a complete lack of supporting evidence. The EEs were really good, and that was all the evidence I needed to believe that everything which was claimed about "being free from malice and sorrow" must be true.

Daniel Johnson:

Of course, I have many of my own faulty views, so I'm no example of clarity and lack of delusion. I'm just saying that the delusion you refer to seems to be yours, and not shared by all. From the above report, it seems that maybe you weren't practicing actualism so much as practicing a mental habit of eyeing the world through a particular view which you interpreted from the actualist writings.


And it seems you are jumping to conclusions. As I have had several EEs, some lasting for hours, and I have reported this here on the DhO, I don't see any basis for what you are saying. Also, I have exchanged impressions with other practitioners of actualism, and it seems we understood each other. I suspect that this is a way of conveniently feeling justified in disregarding my maiden point.

Daniel Johnson:
IMO, the actualist teachings became distorted when DhO members started habitually using the acronym of "AF" for what actually was a pretty clear phrase before: actual freedom (as opposed to felt freedom, or spiritual freedom) from the human condition (malice, sorrow and all the instinctual passions/feelings). If tarin claims to be actually (not just imaginary, deluded, or felt) free from malice and sorrow, then I would be quite comfortable saying that he is "actually free." Whether or not he is "DhO definition of AF" or whether or not he is "AFT definition of Actual Freedom(tm)" seems completely irrelevant to me compared to the actual condition which he finds himself in.


The condition which Tarin, or anyone else for that matter, find themselves in, can be strikingly different than the condition they are actually in. I also felt quite comfortable thinking that Richard was "free from malice and sorrow" simply based on Richard's own claims.

Richard quite evidently finds himself "free from malice and sorrow," and yet, his reported behavior is, at least sometimes, harmful and sorrowful. He makes all the claims Tarin makes, and more (e.g. being the first person to discover this inestimable condition).

Daniel Johnson:
This whole thing becomes somewhat humorous when, in essence, what you are now asking tarin and Trent to report is if their freedom (from malice and sorrow) is in fact, actual. (not deluded or imaginary) This seems to be the essence of your inquiry and others as well.


That you wish to disregard my true inquiry by reducing it to absurdity (of course it is absurd to ask someone to judge his own delusion), you are free to do so. But make no mistake, you have failed grossly to understand the "essence of my inquiry." I am not asking Tarin and Trent "what they think about their own freedom," since by the content of their posts in this forum I already know that they think quite highly of it (or at least did so in the past).

I will once again repeat, as clearly as I can, what the essence of my inquiry is, in the end of this thread.

Daniel Johnson:
In my opinion, "actual freedom from the human condition of malice and sorrow" sums up the goal of practice better than "enlightenment" (who wants to be made of light?) or "awakening" (and still suffering?) or "arahat" (do you - or anybody alive - speak fluent pali?). Another phrase I might be interested in could be "actual freedom from greed, hatred, and delusion." Or, simply "no more greed, hatred, and delusion." Or, "not a zippity lippity trace of any crazy-human mischievous suffering crap, for sure, for sure, and triple for sure." Maybe we can call it ZL? ;)


Here is a bit of my own personal insight about how these things work. That you make mental or verbal narratives about "what is the goal of practice," or "why I am doing meditation," is completely redundant. In fact, you have absolutely no choice in the matter, as your own body is going to do it anyway, due to a deep urge for tranquility. That you, after the decision has actually been made deep down, for motives which are actually somatic rather than psychological or ethical, justify your actions with a pretty little speech about "the human condition of malice and sorrow" is actually utterly irrelevant, for in fact you have no choice in the matter.

The process of "enlightenment" is actually quite similar to taking a shit, and your justification of "why you do it" is as disconnected from the real reasons you are doing it as if you were to claim you "decide to take a shit every day, because you think it will benefit humanity" (even if that is partly true emoticon ).

You're going to do it anyway, and so you find whichever reasons you need to find in order to "feel OK about it," i.e., you strive to diminish cognitive dissonance. That too, is the process of enlightenment.

Daniel Johnson:
Bruno Loff:
However, if indeed Richard's behavior is as claimed...


As it is currently still, a claim, how would one set about verifying it? Even if Richard was crying and lamenting, what was the context? Perhaps they were doing skits by the fireplace, and he was acting out the human condition for the amusement of his friends? Just an example, but ya never know. Given that this person who reports Richard's supposed affective behavior is themselves trapped in the human web of delusion, by what measure can we tease out the actual and factual from this person's possible delusions. For example, maybe they have a vested interest in destroying Richard's reputation? If this person believes themselves to be harmed (personally, professionally, emotionally, and socially) by Richard, it is quite likely that they have a bone to pick. I'm not saying that it's not possible that Richard is deluded or lying or both, but rather, it still seems uncertain whether or not it is true.


This is an example of the actualist worldview. The dangerous idea that "people only believe themselves to be harmed," while actually they are just trapped in a human web of delusion, can then be used to avoid feeling guilty when these people feel harmed by you. If, furthermore, you believe yourself to be free from delusion, then this justifies ignoring what everyone else has to say, particularly if you don't like it. And if you happen to believe that you are "OK with everything," then you will fabricate some rationality which explains why you don't like what other people are saying.

Now once you can notice yourself doing this, and can see quite directly that it indeed works this way, you will have the same insight which I alluded to in this thread. And I am using the word insight in the sense of "detecting a pattern about how your own mind works, in a way which causes a noticeable perceptual shift."

BTW, I know the context of Richard's crying, but have purposefully omitted it. I would be rather stupid to report this episode if it had the context you invented, and rather careless if I didn't know the context.

---

In repetition, my maiden point is:

There is this guy, Richard, who claims to be living in a permanent PCE-like condition. He claims to be free of malice and sorrow. However, reports of his behaviour, some publicly available (in the actual freedom and actual_freedom_non_moderated yahoo message boards), indicate that he is instead actually in possession of the whole lot of human emotions, but DELUDED in that regard, to the point of not even correctly recognizing his own weeping.

This raises the issue if this inability to correctly interpret one's own behavior is, or is not, a feature, a flaw, or perhaps a tendency, of permanent PCE-like conditions in general. It could be that it is just a quirk of Richard, and it could be that it is indeed a tendency or flaw of such conditions. And, if this turns out to be the latter case, how could we possibly detect such a flaw? and correct it?

Even in the former case, I suggest that the mere existence of these reports should make one alert against believing someone's claims of being "happy and harmless" without knowing the person very very well, as in including extended contact and critical observation, multiple opportunities to assess the person's behavior in various contexts, and so on.

---

I have the suspicion that I'm heading into such a condition regardless of what I say or think or do, something which is very much in line with my remarks above, so it is in my own interest and of those around me that I ask these questions (i.e., I have both selfish and altruistic motives to bring this issue forward). I am going to find a justification for my own mental tranquility, no matter what, as everyone who engages in these practices eventually does, and this fact, not surprisingly, doesn't upset me. So it is well worth it to have the most accurate idea of what such a condition is like, from as many perspectives as I can possibly have. If this does not stand to reason, please explain why.

While it betrays some arrogance on my part, I would ask you to read what I wrote more than once, for there is within it (1) an idea which I consider coherent, insightful, and personally useful, as well as (2) the raising of an issue which I consider very pertinent to those pursuing mind-training enterprises of any kind. This issue, by the way, is usually avoided within the contemplative community by the careless use of words such as 'wisdom' (we/the buddha are wise) 'delusion' (they/samsara are deluded), 'perfection' (we/the buddha are flawless), 'compassion' (we/the buddha are socially justified in doing this), and so on. If you get stuck on 'nomenclature,' ask or try again. If you are still not sure what I am trying to convey, ask, or read it one more time. Once you got it (and perhaps you already know it very well), I'd like help figuring out what it means and what can be done about it.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 5:46 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
The second paragraph I only mentioned to make it clear that I have no interest in Richard & Co., Actual Freedom (whatever the fuck Richard decides it is) or the dogma of the AFT. In the time that I actively engaged in Actualism practice, as in straight from the AFT site, I still didn't bother with any of the rest of that particular paradigm and limited my readings on the site to those parts which offered practical information, not Richard's Wild & Wacky Wonderland trip which is something I've never, ever been able to take seriously.


But I am actually suggesting that you SHOULD take interest in Richard & Co., particularly since your own perception seems to be headed to a place which Richard has described so well. In particular I am suggesting you SHOULD take note that, despite being in this "condition of perfection," his behavior is (reportedly) quite far from perfect, and yet HE CANNOT SEE IT.

Maybe you have failed to see that this IS my concern, and that the paragraph above IS YOU BRUSHING THEM ASIDE. Funnily, you proceed by saying:

Tommy:

I had absolutely no intention of brushing aside your concerns.
(...)
Anyway, Bruno, do whatever makes you happy and best of luck however you choose to move forward.


Now I understand you might not have the intention of brushing aside my concerns, but if now you have clear what my concerns actually are, maybe you can act in accordance with that intention, and really ponder critically the issue I have raised (and which I have now presented in many different frasings). Please emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 6:35 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
While it betrays some arrogance on my part, I would ask you to read what I wrote more than once, for there is within it (1) an idea which I consider coherent, insightful, and personally useful, as well as (2) the raising of an issue which I consider very pertinent to those pursuing mind-training enterprises of any kind. This issue, by the way, is usually avoided within the contemplative community by the careless use of words such as 'wisdom' (we/the buddha are wise) 'delusion' (they/samsara are deluded), 'perfection' (we/the buddha are flawless), 'compassion' (we/the buddha are socially justified in doing this), and so on. If you get stuck on 'nomenclature,' ask or try again. If you are still not sure what I am trying to convey, ask, or read it one more time. Once you got it (and perhaps you already know it very well), I'd like help figuring out what it means and what can be done about it.


What it means is that we have no will of our own and we are stuck. There is no escape. And we got to shit when we got to shit. Holding shit is not the answer. We got to dispose of it in a way that is least smelly and doesn't cause spread of disease.

Regarding what can be done about it, how about doing the same thing as the contemplative community does, to wit: Try not to seclude ourselves completely, maintain some normal societal contact. Make some strict moral and social guidelines and try our best to stick to them. But if we got to shit when we got to shit, will any of these guidelines help?

If you get this, you can help me understand what it means and what can be done about it.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 7:31 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
But I am actually suggesting that you SHOULD take interest in Richard & Co., particularly since your own perception seems to be headed to a place which Richard has described so well. In particular I am suggesting you SHOULD take note that, despite being in this "condition of perfection," his behavior is (reportedly) quite far from perfect, and yet HE CANNOT SEE IT.

John Wilde posted something a while back about this (here) which is what caused me to go back and think a lot about the same things you're expressing concern about. I agree that it's a valid concern for anyone interested in pursuing, for convenience's sake, I'll refer to as "AF" and would encourage anyone to do exactly what you're suggesting i.e. seriously consider the possibility that "AF" is a delusional state wherein a person may end up being blind to, or perhaps not willing to acknowledge the existence of, emotions still arising due to some flaw in in the whole "AF" approach. Would that be a correct restatement of what you mean? If not, I'll go back and re-read your other responses and respond accordingly.

Maybe you have failed to see that this IS my concern, and that the paragraph above IS YOU BRUSHING THEM ASIDE.

Perhaps so, if this is the case then I apologize. Again, it was not my intention to brush anything aside, these are things I've honestly considered and investigated myself as I thought about them. I understand your concerns, I'll try to write down what my own thoughts on the matter have been so far, but I will also, as you suggest, "ponder critically" the issue you've raised. I'll need to say a bit about my experience of actualism and some other stuff so bear with me here...

As I've said, I have deliberately avoided getting involved in the Richard saga because it's of no practical value to me and there are plenty of other people with more experience of Richard, and the entire AFT approach, who could say and contribute more to the discussion than I could. I have nothing useful to add to a discussion regarding the man although recent talk of his less-than-happy-and-harmlessness is interesting, not purely in terms of whether or not the goal of what we all thought was "AF" is both worthwhile and safe, as in not likely to bring harm mentally or physically to the person concerned, but also in terms of the entire AFT shtick and the way in which he's presented it, altered it and the way in which the guy behaves.

In the brief period where I tried to enter the Actualist paradigm, I found his writings to be, in general, tiresome and repetitive, and his dogma to be as evangelical (as in "characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm") as any religious system I've encountered. I dropped the Actualist model within a few weeks as I couldn't take it seriously at all, perhaps I missed something or I didn't understand it properly but either way it was less effective in terms of permanent reduction in suffering than what I had been learning at the same time i.e. mainly concentration based practices and mindfulness/attentiveness without any belief system or conceptual map overlayed onto it. From that point, I only ever used actualism terminology as a matter of convenience when communicating on here with words like naivetè, felicity, HAIETMOBA and suchlike.

Prior to becoming interested in what Tarin and Trent were describing, again for convenience I'll call it "AF" on the understanding that it's not what Richard considers to be AF and so can't really be considered to be the same state/attainment/whatever, I thought AF was a load of shite and wasn't slow in saying so. Even a PCE, the first major, stable and remarkable one in recent memory, didn't convince me otherwise and I continued to pursue the insight paths, albeit with a different perspective on what this whole AF thing but still not convinced that it was anything more than another interesting developmental trajectory. Fast forward to last year and getting 4th path, I actually become more anti-AF because landing the Paths had been so incredible and life-changing that I could see no value in pursuing any non-Dharma related practices, as far as I was concerned I had seen "the Truth" and so there was no value in AF.

What did pique my interest though was the PCE and maybe learning to cultivate it at will, this led to some conversations with Nick and taking up some of his approaches to jhana practice but still I didn't think about AF as something I was really interested in. After talking to Nick some more about the suttas and descriptions in there seeming to line up with things like PCE's, I began reading the suttas more but it was reading an article on nirodha samapatti [1] and translating some Pali terms for myself that caused me to understand how this whole thing, the entire AF (or at least as I understood it at that time) approach was like a corrupted version of the Dharma and taking Richard, his idiosyncrasies and apparent mental issues out of the equation left a pretty simple and pragmatic approach to, as far as I can tell and still believe to be the case based on continued practice and reading of the suttas, what the Buddha was talking about.

The actualism approach offers a few useful techniques for turning the attention to the senses and apperceptively perceive, and also for deconstructing the social identity which, as it turned out, was something I'd already been working on since long before ever starting insight practice. There's a few other bits and pieces in there too, it's not entirely without value as long as you keep the words seperate from the man. Actually, that reminds me of Aleister Crowley, one of my all-time favourites, his behaviour during his life was generally pretty despicable and he seems to have been a complete prick but the techniques he developed and popularized, which most certainly don't, even after over 100 years of repetition and testing by countless magicians, cause one to become Aleister Crowley, have been proven to be effective in producing certain events/phenomena as described by the man himself, a man who also did a considerable amount of writing on comparative religion, mysticism, meditation and created an incredibly pragmatic, empirical approach to the same thing only couched in the Western mystery traditions. I'm not comparing Richard to Crowley, he's more of an L.Ron as far as I'm concerned, but the whole thing about keeping the words seperate from the man who spoke them can be quite useful if done with a reasonable skepticism and willingness to test and verify the results for yourself.

Now, to eventually get around to the point of this elongated slab of text, what it comes down to is this: I don't think that Richard has found anything new, and I think that his experience of what he calls Actual Freedom is unique to him due to brain chemistry, genetics and all manner of factors which make his flesh and blood body unique to him. I think this level of how each individual is constituted in purely physical terms is overlooked in general but I don't know enough about it to say anything useful about it. I think he's stumbled upon the exact same thing that Tarin, Trent, Jill, End, Nick, Christian, Stef and whoever else has 'attained' through applying the same technique, which is essentially vipassana i.e. clear seeing, and concentration.

My theory on Richard is that he's a guy with serious mental problems which have coloured his experience of "AF". This raises the question of how mental disorders, perhaps genetic or physiological or whatever, can continue in people who have attained to various levels of realization. I don't doubt that Richard has attained insights into things in the same way we talk about it, some of the things he says couldn't possibly have come from anywhere but direct experience (can't think of any particular example right now but I'll see if I can find something of use).

Based on my own experience of PCE's of some considerable duration and stability, I don't seriously think that what we're talking about here, whatever you want to call it, AF, 2nd path, 3rd path, 25th Dimension of The Rotating Cat God, results in a person being the same as Richard for the reasons I've tried to state. I know I've rambled like fuck here and typed a lot but hopefully you'll be able to piece together something from it. emoticon

Right, that's taken about two hours to write so I'm off to do something more worthwhile. Drink coffee and roll one. emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 7:50 AM as a reply to Change A..
Aman your reply touches quite deeply on the concerns expressed in this thread. And I am delighted you have adopted the defecative metaphor. A way to avoid insanity is to invite variety and criticism in our lives, and a way to avoid misbehavior is to behave according to some sort of code.

One attitude which I have decided to take on is to be highly suspicious of my own "true" motives for acting the way I do. Meaning: to search for alternative interpretations than those which are consciously apparent. E.g.

Bruno:
If what I say comes off as me trying to "lead" anyone anywhere or "teach" anyone anything, I apologize — I think I have the tendency to frame things that way. )...) I strive for parity, both in thought and speech, but I am often betrayed by my own idiosyncrasies.


Namely, I have a propensity to talk to others as if giving a lecture. Again, it is better know when I'm full of shit than to rationalize and justify it away. The advantage of saying that is that people who read what I write can take that into account, know that I am aware of that to some degree and apologize for it, and be more forgiving and focused on the meaning.

Now, there has been a long time in my life during which I was completely unaware of this fact. I would put myself in a position of "higher wisdom", inciting all sorts of defensive and / or adulation mechanisms in other people, and I was unaware of this tendency in myself. If I was accused of arrogance, I would deny it, and proceed to saying how what the other person was saying was "beside the point," and engage in other mental mechanisms to avoid the issue. In that way, I was closed to seeing new evidence.

That Trent and Tarin and others are claiming to be "free from malice and sorrow," and the fact that they believe in it, could mean that they have indeed completely eliminated these mechanisms, or, more complicatedly, that they believe this is the case and that they can find no contradictory evidence, despite their being some (perhaps subtle, externally visible). This is the case with Richard, reportedly, and in his situation this disconnect between actions and interpretations has reached levels bordering on the absurd (as in the instance when he cried).

Now, if I thought of myself as "free from malice and sorrow", and I had gotten there partially through the pursuit of a method of Richard's invention, and I was to come to new information indicating that Richard's behavior is a far cry from such freedom, in a way which he himself can not see due to some bizarre disassociation, I would naturally come to question my own ability to assess my own behavior.

Furthermore, if such questioning was seen as "patently absurd" because "everything is so palpably actual" (or some other such platitude which I vaguely remember Tarin or Trent saying on this forum, and in which Richard himself engages in all the time), I might nonetheless consider this possibility for the sake of rigor, and even consider, additionally, that such beliefs as "delusion has no hold in my mind" could very well be the linguistic expression of an unhealthy absence of self-criticism.

I am once again reinforcing and rehashing my maiden point. There is a common pattern behind all these comments which I am very eager to communicate and ask the readers of this thread to make an effort at understanding, if they are generous enough to do so (it might require multiple readings, as I have said).

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 10:17 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
I am once again reinforcing and rehashing my maiden point. There is a common pattern behind all these comments which I am very eager to communicate and ask the readers of this thread to make an effort at understanding, if they are generous enough to do so (it might require multiple readings, as I have said).

I think I understand your point. I have a point, as well, but I'm not sure if I can get it across well. Let me try...

From my experience with Actualism, which mostly comes from reading the AFT site and talking with Trent+Tarin, and my experience with Buddhism, which has been influenced by that, I now understand the contemplative path a certain way. There is this process, not a substantive "thing", called 'becoming' or 'being'. Its nature is that of ignorance. It confuses one into thinking there is a 'me' for things to happen to, or that owns things, or that is things. It confuses one into thinking that this imagined 'me' *is* a faculty of discernment and wisdom, whereas what is truly the case is that it does nothing but obscure that faculty. However, it is its own demise, as by investigating, one can see that it is highly unstable, wont to change at any moment, that it changes quite on its own, that all it ever does is hint at a 'me', and that anything to do with it is undesirable on some basic level.

Seeing the nature of it or a part of it in whatever way is beneficial, for example, MCTB stream entry, or ruthless truth direct pointing. Those roughly seem to impart some insight on its nature, on how it only ever hints at a 'me' but isn't actually one. Before seeing this, one might wonder: oh my god! This 'me' is vitally important in going about life and being kind to others. If this 'me' disappears, 'I' won't be able to be in control of my actions as much anymore. 'I' won't be able to do what 'I' want cause 'I' control this reality. 'I' won't be able to see clearly what's happening because 'I' am the one that sees clearly. This 'I' is vital to discernment and well-being. After seeing this, one might declare: how silly! Seeing this has changed nothing, as nothing is seen that wasn't the case before. 'I' was only ever an intuition! 'I' never existed in that way 'I' thought 'I' did. Seeing clearly happens just fine, and volition works out just fine, thanks, as those things worked out fine before and after, except now more clearly. All that worrying about these things was merely the voice of doubt (as in one of the 5 hindrances) which was only ever the result of ignorance, as 'I' cannot intuit 'my' non-existence.

From what I understand, ending 'being' entirely in the same. One might wonder: oh my god! This 'me' is vitally important in going about life and being kind to others. If this 'me' disappears, 'I' won't be able to be in control of my actions as much anymore. 'I' won't be able to do what 'I' want cause 'I' control this reality. 'I' won't be able to see clearly what's happening because 'I' am the one that sees clearly. 'I' am the one that notices when 'I' am crying and that 'I' am sad; without this 'I', 'I' will cry and not notice that 'I' am sad, thus being in a severely dissociated state which will harm others. 'I' will be unable to tell when others are sad, as 'I' am the one that notices that. 'I' will be unable to notice when 'I' am a dick to others, as 'I' am the one that notices that. This 'I' is vital to discernment and well-being. After seeing this, one might declare: how silly! Seeing this has changed nothing, as nothing is seen that wasn't the case before. 'I' was only ever an intuition! 'I' never existed in that way 'I' thought 'I' did. Seeing clearly happens just fine, and volition works out just fine, thanks, as those things worked out fine before and after, except now more clearly. All that worrying about these things was merely the voice of doubt (as in one of the 5 hindrances) which was only ever the result of ignorance, as 'I' cannot intuit 'my' non-existence.

Now, it is clear you are willing to consider the possibility that the AFT site and all of Richard's writings are highly self-deluded. That he has had plenty of opportunity to see his experience clearly - that it isn't what he reports - but that he was unable to because he doesn't have this 'I', and that others who do have an 'I' can tell what he cannot as the 'I' is vital for discernment. That Peter & Vineeto had 10+ years to observe this deluded behavior before they themselves entered that state, and that either Richard somehow never behaved in this way around them in 10+ years, or that he did but these two jaded spiritual seekers saw another man who claimed to never be sad or angry, then saw him clearly being sad or angry, then somehow ignored that entirely and continued to follow his advice instead of running straight in the opposite direction. This basically amounts to a great re-interpretation, and at times a re-writing, of all manner of things Richard-related.

I am glad you have been consistent in noting that the problematic behavior reported about Richard, which is clear evidence for his delusion, is only reported behavior, namely, that it hasn't been confirmed. At first you put 'reportedly' around every instance of potential behavior you were talking about, but now I notice slips here and there, e.g. "This is the case with Richard, reportedly, and in his situation this disconnect between actions and interpretations has reached levels bordering on the absurd (as in the instance when he cried)." where you didn't put "as in the instance when he reportedly cried." It seems that these reports are sinking in as something factual.

Given that you do not know Richard, and thus have no reason to believe something about him except on the basis of how appealing that point of view appears to you, you have to essentially pick what to believe[1]. As you are willing to consider that the reported stories about Richard are true and that the writings on the AFT site are self-consistently deluded, are you willing to consider the possibility that the reported stories about Richard are an elaborate fabrication and that the writings on the AFT site are accurate and that everything is, indeed, as reported?

What if there is a person or persons who have a bone to pick against Richard? What if they want nothing more than to discredit Richard and his claims of Actual Freedom entirely and to make sure nobody ever practices it again? What if they are doing so by playing upon the most insidious of the hindrances, that doubt, which causes 'me' to think that 'I' am something that is capable of discernment? What if they are willfully instigating this doubt by making up reports, perhaps with some factual and some incorrect evidence to make it confusing which is which? What if they are carefully constructing corroborating evidence so that their story is self-consistently true and seems to have supporting evidence? What if they have managed to convince a number of well-meaning people that their version of events is accurate, and that those well-meaning people are now going on to further their cause, unaware that they have been deceived, that they have had ideas implanted into their heads specifically to trigger the inherent doubt that comes from 'being' in order to prevent it from disappearing, simply out of ignorance? What if it's not a matter of simple misunderstandings that can be cleared up by speaking sincerely and honestly, but a person or persons are intentionally setting out to deceive others, frustrating the attempts of mutual understanding as much as they can? What if all this is is just triggering that little voice of doubt that is the nature of 'me'[2]? What then?

As it seems you have benefited from questioning the factuality of Richard's claims and that that has caused some beliefs to be dropped, perhaps you will benefit from questioning the factuality of Richard's detractors' claims. Note that I don't have evidence for either, so don't take my questions to be hinting at something I know that others don't.

(EDIT: ) My point is that either one is possible if we are basing what we take to be true solely on what other people say. Ehipassiko. In your own experience of a PCE, would it be possible under any circumstances for sorrow to arise, or to start crying or yelling angrily at other humans but without realizing that one is doing so? Why would a permanent PCE (roughly speaking) be any different? Hearsay is not a good answer[3]. (A video recording, for example, would be another matter.)

Note that this is saying nothing about the investigation into yourself which you launched as a result of being confronted with this information. Picking apart our biases and seeing how we think is rarely a bad idea.

-----
[1] unless you decide not to believe anything and to look at your own experience, cf. Dan's recent post here.
[2] note that not having doubt does not preclude one from examining one's experience, e.g. noticing that one is crying and hurting others when one is indeed crying and hurting others. indeed, not having doubt does not change anything, as 'I' am 'doubt' and 'doubt' is 'me' and this 'I' that Actualism seeks to see clearly is just as imaginary as the 'I' that "disappeared" upon your MCTB Stream Entry.
[3] note that I'm not saying it isn't potentially useful to consider these possibilities and to ask others about them, e.g. asking Tarin whether he notices the potential for delusion in his experience.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 10:26 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Thank you for your answers. After Re-reading John Wilde's thread, it was obvious that my "main issue" is exactly what he is expressing in that thread, and that he does so for the same reason, and in a much less hectic style.

Claudio: Indeed the (reported) indications were starting to be omitted (funny I actually noticed that, but brushed it aside as a matter of convenience). Perhaps I could say that that some degree of belief is required in order to think about ideas in a certain, let's say, affective way. But here is the conundrum:

Claudiu:

What if there is a person or persons who have a bone to pick against Richard? What if they want nothing more than to discredit Richard and his claims of Actual Freedom entirely and to make sure nobody ever practices it again? What if they are doing so by playing upon the most insidious of the hindrances, that doubt, which causes 'me' to think that 'I' am something that is capable of discernment? What if they are willfully instigating this doubt by making up reports, perhaps with some factual and some incorrect evidence to make it confusing which is which? What if they are carefully constructing corroborating evidence so that their story is self-consistently true and seems to have supporting evidence? What if they have managed to convince a number of well-meaning people that their version of events is accurate, and that those well-meaning people are now going on to further their cause, unaware that they have been deceived, that they have had ideas implanted into their heads specifically to trigger the inherent doubt that comes from 'being' in order to prevent it from disappearing, simply out of ignorance? What if it's not a matter of simple misunderstandings that can be cleared up by speaking sincerely and honestly, but a person or persons are intentionally setting out to deceive others, frustrating the attempts of mutual understanding as much as they can? What if all this is is just triggering that little voice of doubt that is the nature of 'me'[2]? What then?


After having read these reports, and noticing their narrative consistency (which goes to the point of being consistent with the AF narrative itself, not at all unreasonable in any way, and backed by photographic coincidences), it seems that essentially it is a matter of choosing which conspiracy theory I would like to buy into. I noticed that my inclination to buy into the Richard's-Detractors-are-crazy-vengeful-people Conspiracy (RDC) was partly based on a deep desire that Actual Freedom is indeed the "final solution to all my problems." However the Richard-is-nuts Conspiracy (RC) reveals a delusion vast and creepy.

BTW I do not have the impression that I am in charge of where this process is going, not anymore (cf. my remarks to Daniel Johnson) - Enlightenment is an almost metabolic process of excretion of and vaccination against stress, and I have realized that many of my own gestures are expressions of that process, and are later interpreted as decisions, with a whole bunch of narrative and motivation behind it, which are created utterly a-posteriori ("I decide to take a poop every day for the good of mankind").

The whole enlightenment thing is happening on its own, just like digestion - and just like digestion, it is run by a metabolic intelligence which is mostly subconscious. My inquiry is partly an attempt to deal as best as I can with the possibility that I myself might one day express malicious or sorrowful feelings without the recognition of this fact (as Richard reportedly does). I am hoping that conceptual intelligence can compensate for its own blindness, so to speak, if such a scenario is to occur. Part of this, for me, means to deposit less faith on the accuracy of my own mental interpretations for my own gestures, and be more inviting of external critique.

And in a follow up to my own propensities for appearing to lecture others,

Tarin: you specifically in response to John Wilde have made the fair point that people who see you from outside are likely to interpret your gestures as "malicious" (to give one example) because of how their own feelings influence them. Let me make the point that while this is undeniably true, they nevertheless see you from a perspective which you simply don't have access to, and that disregarding their comments on your behavior, by dismissing them as "feeling-fueled delusion", is to close down to the only way you have of knowing their perspective. As if it made sense for a scientist to disregard what is under someone else's microscope because of having a cleaner set of lens, when it is quite simply the case that not both microscopes are looking at the same thing (again I point to the link I quoted above, about interpreting one's own thoughts).

I suspect you (and Trent) think of yourself as free from the possibility of interpretative delusion (maybe I'm wrong, but I'm going by what you have posted all over this forum), i.e., that the "being"-fueled distortion of experience (which is unarguably there) is the only source of delusion in an otherwise pristine and faithful awareness. I would suggest that, if this is the case, you should reconsider that view, and in particular how that view might condition your own further interpretation of experience in a self-preserving self-referential "software bug" that eventually leads to the rejection of new information. (e.g. you think this is feverish feeling-fueled imagination, that might be an indication of the very same hypothetical bug I am alluding to; and if you disregard it as an instance of "the blind attempting to lead the wise", as you have in the past, idem)

Because, like I said, I seem to be heading in your general direction anyway, I was happy and tranquilized after reading Jill's account that you seem to try to find ways of improving your behavior, namely,

Jill:
On the contrary, I constantly see evidence of his emotionless, selfless caring and concern for the well-being of others when during/after a period of his "inaction" he consults me or other friends about how to best help or talk to a person, as he has not acted due to the lack of information or convincing knowledge about which action or words would be most helpful and harmless.


And, if you are wondering what is the instinctual urge that is making me post what I post, I am convinced it is not arrogance, but rather desire for reassurance, and to make the best out of a scenario which is, reportedly, at least possible emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:37 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
After having read these reports, and noticing their narrative consistency (which goes to the point of being consistent with the AF narrative itself, not at all unreasonable in any way, and backed by photographic coincidences), it seems that essentially it is a matter of choosing which conspiracy theory I would like to buy into. I noticed that my inclination to buy into the Richard's-Detractors-are-crazy-vengeful-people Conspiracy (RDC) was partly based on a deep desire that Actual Freedom is indeed the "final solution to all my problems." However the Richard-is-nuts Conspiracy (RC) reveals a delusion vast and creepy.

Exactly. It seems to participate in the discussion you have to pick one or the other. And the decision simply cannot be based on what is actually the case, as we have no evidence except the consistency of the reports. I find the AFT site's writings consistent. You find those reports consistent, and I would perhaps agree if I saw them as well. But self-consistency does not imply truth, and the implications of a possibility do not make it more or less likely to be the case.

I advocate perhaps participating in neither, but using them skillfully, i.e. identifying the deep desires that might cause us to want to believe one over the other, or to reject one over the other, etc. And, perhaps, seeing how consistent they are with your own experience, e.g. I find the AFT reports not only self-consistent but also consistent with my investigations, and the reports of Richard feeling sorrow not consistent with my investigations (i.e., if I were convinced that were the case by e.g. seeing it in person, I'd have to conclude that he simply did not follow the practice he taught to others, or at least the practice that I'm following now, which formed partly based on the practice he taught to others.)

Bruno Loff:
BTW I do not have the impression that I am in charge of where this process is going, not anymore (cf. my remarks to Daniel Johnson) - Enlightenment is an almost metabolic process of excretion of and vaccination against stress, and I have realized that many of my own gestures are expressions of that process, and are later interpreted as decisions, with a whole bunch of narrative and motivation behind it, which are created utterly a-posteriori ("I decide to take a poop every day for the good of mankind").

The whole enlightenment thing is happening on its own, just like digestion - and just like digestion, it is run by a metabolic intelligence which is mostly subconscious. My inquiry is partly an attempt to deal as best as I can with the possibility that I myself might one day express malicious or sorrowful feelings without the recognition of this fact (as Richard reportedly does). I am hoping that conceptual intelligence can compensate for its own blindness, so to speak, if such a scenario is to occur. Part of this, for me, means to deposit less faith on the accuracy of my own mental interpretations for my own gestures, and be more inviting of external critique.

I agree, but my main reason for posting is this: 'I' can prevent it (enlightenment or whatever) from happening. If, for example, experience is going towards a more + more PCE-like state, and that is indeed the way to go for the most tranquility/least suffering, but there is doubt (oh, if I go down that route, then I will become delusional), then that attainment will effectively be prevented from happening. I'm pointing out that doubt is a hindrance, and basically to not let it direct what happens. There are four things, essentially: belief, lack of belief, doubt, and lack of doubt. It's important to discern which is which, and to figure out how not to believe while at the same time not doubting, how not to doubt while at the same time not believing. If you believe instead of not doubting, progress will be hindered (which seems to be what you were saying you were doing by having the 'actualist world-view'). If you doubt instead of not believing, progress will be hindered (which is what I'm addressing by posting in this thread, which might happen if one takes (RC) to be true).

I do know what you mean about taking AF to be "final solution to all my problems." I think it's important to understand that one still very much needs to have the intention to act skillfully in the world. Perhaps it's not a matter of attainments automatically bestowing skillful means on a person, but more a matter of attainments making it easier to act skillfully in the world, if one intends to work on that. I do appreciate attention being brought to that matter.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:21 AM as a reply to Daniel Johnson.
Hmm, I don't feel any emotions, perhaps I've got alexithymia.

Hmm, I don't feel any emotions, clearly I'm a pioneer, saviour of mankind and the first to be totally pure.


A more reasonable person would request many tests to look into their symptom of not recognising any emotions.

This is ridiculous and if it wasn't so funny to read, I'd be feeling worse that I fell for it for so long.

Then again, this is a forum that entertained a discussion on how to win the lottery and other 'magick', so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:31 AM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
A more reasonable person would request many tests to look into their symptom of not recognising any emotions.


On one hand, you do have a point.

On the other hand...do you also believe that a person attaining MCTB 1st path should look into whether they suffer from depersonalization disorder? Why / why not?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:39 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
A more reasonable person would request many tests to look into their symptom of not recognising any emotions.


On one hand, you do have a point.

On the other hand...do you also believe that a person attaining MCTB 1st path should look into whether they suffer from depersonalization disorder? Why / why not?


Hell yes they should. The history of guru's and their disciples is littered with evidence of how no real departure from the human condition has been found - shock horror. Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically, and not left to idiots with vague words and a desire to be the master-teacher.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:45 AM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
A more reasonable person would request many tests to look into their symptom of not recognising any emotions.


On one hand, you do have a point.

On the other hand...do you also believe that a person attaining MCTB 1st path should look into whether they suffer from depersonalization disorder? Why / why not?


Hell yes they should. The history of guru's and their disciples is littered with evidence of how no real departure from the human condition has been found - shock horror. Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically, and not left to idiots with vague words and a desire to be the master-teacher.


It's possible that I didn't phrase my question clearly, so let me ask again just to be sure you understood it:

When a person attains MCTB 1st path and reports understanding that there is no self to be found inside their experience, should that be taken to be evidence for a psychiatric condition, which should then be looked into? Why / why not?

I'm not asking about the human condition, whether things should be studied scientifically, whether anyone should play guru, etc.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:56 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
A more reasonable person would request many tests to look into their symptom of not recognising any emotions.


On one hand, you do have a point.

On the other hand...do you also believe that a person attaining MCTB 1st path should look into whether they suffer from depersonalization disorder? Why / why not?


Hell yes they should. The history of guru's and their disciples is littered with evidence of how no real departure from the human condition has been found - shock horror. Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically, and not left to idiots with vague words and a desire to be the master-teacher.


It's possible that I didn't phrase my question clearly, so let me ask again just to be sure you understood it:

When a person attains MCTB 1st path and reports understanding that there is no self to be found inside their experience, should that be taken to be evidence for a psychiatric condition, which should then be looked into? Why / why not?

I'm not asking about the human condition, whether things should be studied scientifically, whether anyone should play guru, etc.


Ok, call it rephrasing if you want but that's a notably different question than the one you initially asked, which was about "looking into whether" like a good investigative mind would. Now you're asking if they should take it as evidence of a disorder. No I don't think that's, on its own, enough evidence of a disorder. And even if it was matched with a "disorder", it wouldn't mean the mental state is necessarily to be avoided. The point is "Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically" not left to anti-scientific guru's.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 12:06 PM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
A more reasonable person would request many tests to look into their symptom of not recognising any emotions.


On one hand, you do have a point.

On the other hand...do you also believe that a person attaining MCTB 1st path should look into whether they suffer from depersonalization disorder? Why / why not?


Hell yes they should. The history of guru's and their disciples is littered with evidence of how no real departure from the human condition has been found - shock horror. Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically, and not left to idiots with vague words and a desire to be the master-teacher.


It's possible that I didn't phrase my question clearly, so let me ask again just to be sure you understood it:

When a person attains MCTB 1st path and reports understanding that there is no self to be found inside their experience, should that be taken to be evidence for a psychiatric condition, which should then be looked into? Why / why not?

I'm not asking about the human condition, whether things should be studied scientifically, whether anyone should play guru, etc.


Ok, call it rephrasing if you want but that's a notably different question than the one you initially asked, which was about "looking into whether" like a good investigative mind would.


As times goes on, I learn more and more clearly that I don't express things as clearly to others as I'd like to. Sorry about that; I do my best.

Now you're asking if they should take it as evidence of a disorder. No I don't think that's, on its own, enough evidence of a disorder. And even if it was matched with a "disorder", it wouldn't mean the mental state is necessarily to be avoided. The point is "Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically" not left to anti-scientific guru's.


If this is your basic point (that scientific investigation of these things can be fruitful), I think you'll find a lot of agreement here.

One thing you may not appreciate is that scientific investigation generally depends on grants, grants are awarded for particular purposes, those particular purposes are usually highly practical (e.g. "how does mindfulness training affect such-and-such brain region related to addiction?") and cannot be tailored to open-ended non-practical "exploratory" research (e.g. "person X claims freedom from suffering, what is their brain doing?") in the way that one might assume.

If you, personally, think that such research is extremely important, then perhaps gathering a bunch of people together who are willing to fund the appropriate scientists to work on projects that you think are important would be a good idea. More likely, though, I expect that fundraising is not what you'd like to dedicate your life's efforts towards, which is wholly understandable...perhaps reflection along these lines will influence your opinions about what you think other people ought to do (as you describe on the thread "Brain scans of people who are Actually Free?"

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 12:28 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
Now you're asking if they should take it as evidence of a disorder. No I don't think that's, on its own, enough evidence of a disorder. And even if it was matched with a "disorder", it wouldn't mean the mental state is necessarily to be avoided. The point is "Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically" not left to anti-scientific guru's.


If this is your basic point (that scientific investigation of these things can be fruitful), I think you'll find a lot of agreement here.

One thing you may not appreciate is that scientific investigation generally depends on grants, grants are awarded for particular purposes, those particular purposes are usually highly practical (e.g. "how does mindfulness training affect such-and-such brain region related to addiction?") and cannot be tailored to open-ended non-practical "exploratory" research (e.g. "person X claims freedom from suffering, what is their brain doing?") in the way that one might assume.

If you, personally, think that such research is extremely important, then perhaps gathering a bunch of people together who are willing to fund the appropriate scientists to work on projects that you think are important would be a good idea. More likely, though, I expect that fundraising is not what you'd like to dedicate your life's efforts towards, which is wholly understandable...perhaps reflection along these lines will influence your opinions about what you think other people ought to do (as you describe on the thread "Brain scans of people who are Actually Free?"


Your point about how it's not so easy to proceed with research would go down a whole lot better if I hadn't heard such ludicrous excuses and anti-scientific conspiracy-theorism (I'm coining the phrase) from at least two people who claim to be AF.

What is your opinion of Richard's excuse?

Richard:
A psychologist who has followed the course of my condition for about four years has often been desirous of me undergoing scan-type tests ... but I decline to be a guinea-pig for people who are not going to do anything about their own malice and sorrow regardless of the outcome of the tests.
(emphasis mine)

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ25a.htm#3

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 5:31 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
tarin greco:

feelings are the root of all evil? where did you get this idea?


Isn't it obvious? From Richard (link): Beliefs and feelings are the bane of humankind ... they have been so instrumental in killing, maiming, torturing and otherwise causing such pain and suffering since the dawn of human history, that one wonders that they are given any credence at all these days. Dozens of other examples.

It is very easy, if one is inclined to do so, to find feelings as a common causal root of every single instance of misbehavior.

ok.. so do you understand this to mean that feelings are not evil, but rather are (simply) the source of evil (and good, for that matter)?

if so, do you also understand that feelings are instinctually engendered, and upon that, evil (and good) constructed?

if so, do you therefore understand that, feelings being instinctually engendered, neither you, nor anyone else, are to blame for your - or their - feelings?

if so, do you understand that with the cessation of such blame arises an opportunity to feel your feelings afresh?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling your feelings afresh, you do not feel distanced from them?

if so, have you observed how, in not feeling distanced from your feelings, you (automatically) feel naive?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive, you are (being) naivete?

and have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive and thus being naivete, you are not (being either good or) evil?


Bruno Loff:
Tarin:

so much for understanding how 'i' am 'my feelings' and 'my feelings' are 'me', and the value of being your own best friend...



Not really — I got a lot of good things out of the AFT website, being more friendly towards myself was one of them. The how 'i' am 'my feelings' and 'my feelings' are 'me' part, I didn't fully understand, no. It seemed rather axiomatic.

are there not other things which you may have also found axiomatic, or at the very least, justified by circular reason, yet (presumably) which you have nevertheless (thought you) understood and to good effect? for example:

there is suffering;
there is the cause of suffering;
there is the end to (the cause of) suffering;
there is the way to go about implementing this end.

you don't find the meaning of these things in the text itself; rather, their meaning is found in your engagement with the text. engage (un)skilfully, you'll get a(n un)skilful meaning.

an example of a skilful engagement with the text in question might be:
"if 'i' am 'my feelings' and 'they' are 'me', then in feeling my feelings closely i am being close (to myself), from which arises insight into how i seem to exist, and from which in turn arises insight into how this come to be."

an example of an unskilful engagement might be:
"as i just cannot understand how 'i' am 'my feelings' and 'they' are 'me', i shall rather assume that it isn't terribly important and meanwhile shall also believe things like feelings are the root of all evil, love sucks, and further, that opposition to these beliefs ought not to be considered, despite not finding out for myself why any of these things are or even whether they are.'



*


Bruno Loff:
Tarin:

as for your question to me (as well as to trent) specifically: define delusion, and i may be able to produce (or 'interpret', if you prefer) a meaningful reply.


Delusion: an opinion or interpretation which is firmly maintained despite evidence to the contrary. Have you had the experience, since becoming actually free (or whatever), of having new information come in which contradicts previous conclusions you derived?

of course. contradiction is a necessary process in the formation of any new idea. do cause-and-effect work differently where you live?


Bruno Loff:

And which might reveal that there was an error in the way you formed these previous interpretations — perhaps at the time the interpretation was formed your opinions were already half-formed, or biased due to past circumstances, and this made you prone to thinking with a certain inclination which was not actually based on tangible evidence, and this becomes clear upon the arrival of new evidence. This is quite normal, and should be happening within any brain capable of correcting its own misinterpretations.

looking closely at any line you draw between evidence and bias will reveal it to look like (either) evidence or bias. this should be enough to suggest to you that the difference has no substantive existence. how can something with no substantive existence be taken (to exist constantly enough) to be a source of dis/satisfaction? you put your well-being in the wrong place when you place it subordinate to the tangles of opinion and evidence. and unless you no long put off your well-being in this way, you will not know closely how evidence and opinion tangle, as concerns about your well-being will potentially be in the way.

of course, to (continue to) place well-being there is understandable; it is difficult to be initially satisfied upon discovering that satisfaction is not satisfying, and yet dissatisfaction is dissatisfying.



Bruno Loff:

If it is not happening, then either there are no misinterpretations, or they are not being detected correctly. Since Trent has stated that "delusion has no hold" in his mind, I am specifically asking what that is like.

if i understand what you are asking correctly, my answer is that it is like this: as i have no vested interest in any of my conclusions, which, rather than being set in stone, are more like ripples drawn on water, then i really don't feel one way or another about whether or not those conclusions are contextually applicable, or whether or not those (conclusions) which are (contextually applicable) will continue to be (contextually applicable), or whether or not those which are not will continue to not be.

new information arrives all the time, just as often contradicting as confirming previous conclusions, and all the while refashioning all existing conditions of information. how could it be any other way? this is the nature of mind and memory, obvious, at least from where i'm standing, which is never in the same river twice.



*


Bruno Loff:

Tarin: Are you clear where I am coming from, and why Richard's reported misbehavior is something noteworthy (if true)? The issue at hand is whether this blindness to certain feeling-motivated events (such as crying) is a feature or a potential result of the AF condition itself, a possibility which should be investigated with the utmost neutrality. And part of that investigation could use the input of those who are actually free.

yes and yes, assuming that i understand your conflict correctly and assuming that you regard the condition of crying as being necessarily effected by feelings.

personally speaking, i don't cry, nor do i see any reason why, or likely circumstance in which, i would (to the extent that chopping onions produces tearing, not crying).

but then again, i also don't know what an actual freedom is, let alone the specifics of what conditions can and cannot obtain in it, and so even if i were inclined to help you proliferate your investigation (with the utmost neutrality), i would anyway not be in a position to provide the input you specified.

however, i have, over the past year and a half or so, been witness to the changing ways you've related to your understanding of your path, and the only salient constant i have discerned through those changes is your sense of the path's inevitability. what this suggests to me is that the various attitudes and changing conditions of concern you've passed hither and thither through - the questions that have lifted and dropped on your plate - have been a lot of hubbub, more noise than signal, artefacts of your practice rather than its impetus. for this reason, i am largely content - rather than simply indifferent - to leave your ways of relating to practice to be however they are and to change however they do; the alternative is not as straightforward as it may seem (it would be similar to asking a person who yelled 'ouch' after stubbing their toe what they meant by the statement).

tarin

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 6:34 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

if so, do you also understand that feelings are instinctually engendered, and upon that, evil (and good) constructed?

if so, do you therefore understand that, feelings being instinctually engendered, neither you, nor anyone else, are to blame for your - or their - feelings?

if so, do you understand that with the cessation of such blame arises an opportunity to feel your feelings afresh?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling your feelings afresh, you do not feel distanced from them?

if so, have you observed how, in not feeling distanced from your feelings, you (automatically) feel naive?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive, you are (being) naivete?

and have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive and thus being naivete, you are not (being either good or) evil?


Thus being naivete, I am not (being either good or) evil SUBJECTIVELY. But this doesn't mean that the instincts stop playing their part. It just means that 'I' stop experiencing them as playing their part because of my being naivete and not being able to experience feelings of good or bad. Then 'I' start to think that 'I' am no more.

Being free of malice and sorrow (or in other words being blind to them) is just one part of the human condition, it doesn't mean that one is free from instincts. Instincts are there and they keep on doing their thing without the person who is free of malice and sorrow knowing about it.

HAIETMOBA or any other practices of AF and other practices inspired by Actualism do nothing about the instincts. One can't work directly with the instincts. Actualism/practices inspired by actualism have none of the means to work on the instincts. It is just a method to make oneself blind to ones instincts while they keep on doing their work.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 6:39 PM as a reply to Change A..
Instincts are there and they keep on doing their thing without the person who is free of malice and sorrow knowing about it.

HAIETMOBA or any other practices of AF and other practices inspired by Actualism do nothing about the instincts. One can't work directly with the instincts. Actualism/practices inspired by actualism have none of the means to work on the instincts. It is just a method to make oneself blind to ones instincts while they keep on doing their work.


lots of assertions, no reasoning

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 6:57 PM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
Thus being naivete, I am not (being either good or) evil SUBJECTIVELY. But this doesn't mean that the instincts stop playing their part. It just means that 'I' stop experiencing them as playing their part because of my being naivete and not being able to experience feelings of good or bad. Then 'I' start to think that 'I' am no more.

Being free of malice and sorrow (or in other words being blind to them) is just one part of the human condition, it doesn't mean that one is free from instincts. Instincts are there and they keep on doing their thing without the person who is free of malice and sorrow knowing about it.

HAIETMOBA or any other practices of AF and other practices inspired by Actualism do nothing about the instincts. One can't work directly with the instincts. Actualism/practices inspired by actualism have none of the means to work on the instincts. It is just a method to make oneself blind to ones instincts while they keep on doing their work.

You're not reading tarin's progression very carefully. Emphasis mine:

tarin greco:
if so, do you also understand that feelings are instinctually engendered, and upon that, evil (and good) constructed?

if so, do you therefore understand that, feelings being instinctually engendered, neither you, nor anyone else, are to blame for your - or their - feelings?

if so, do you understand that with the cessation of such blame arises an opportunity to feel your feelings afresh?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling your feelings afresh, you do not feel distanced from them?

if so, have you observed how, in not feeling distanced from your feelings, you (automatically) feel naive?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive, you are (being) naivete?

and have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive and thus being naivete, you are not (being either good or) evil?

How did you get from "feeling your feelings afresh" and "not feeling distanced from your feelings" to "being blind to them"?

EDIT: That is to say, how does feeling your feelings afresh, intimately, without distance, lead to being unable to feel your feelings while they are occurring? What's the logical progression there?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 6:54 PM as a reply to Change A..
More noise than signal is a very apt way to describe this thread.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 7:09 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
How did you get from "feeling your feelings afresh" and "not feeling distanced from your feelings" to "being blind to them"?

EDIT: That is to say, how does feeling your feelings afresh, intimately, without distance, lead to being unable to feel your feelings while they are occurring? What's the logical progression there?


AFTER one has become naivete, then one starts being blind to the reactions of instincts.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 7:18 PM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
How did you get from "feeling your feelings afresh" and "not feeling distanced from your feelings" to "being blind to them"?

EDIT: That is to say, how does feeling your feelings afresh, intimately, without distance, lead to being unable to feel your feelings while they are occurring? What's the logical progression there?


AFTER one has become naivete, then one starts being blind to the reactions of instincts.


Being naivete is only possible if one is being sincere. Being sincere is only possible if one is not being blind (ignoring) one's instincts or feelings.

In other words, being blind (ignoring) one's instincts or feelings will stop naivete from continuing.

In other words, naivete is not ignorance.. quite the opposite, in fact.

Put simply, if you are trying to be naivete by ignoring your feelings, you're doing it wrong.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 7:24 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
You haven't understood what Bruno is saying. I will leave it to Bruno to try to make it clear if he wants to.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 7:42 PM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
You haven't understood what Bruno is saying. I will leave it to Bruno to try to make it clear if he wants to.

Ah, I didn't realize you were speaking for Bruno. My mistake.

To Bruno, then: My point was that, if one follows a path that requires feeling one's feelings intimately, without distance, one will not get to a point of being unable to feel one's still-occurring feelings. The causality doesn't work out that way. If one follows a path of being blind to one's feelings (which is not naivete) then other things will likely happen.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 7:54 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Ah, I didn't realize you were speaking for Bruno. My mistake.


I was not speaking for Bruno. I was speaking from the place where Bruno is speaking from. I think it will be better if we let Bruno answer Tarin directly assuming that I haven't said anything at all starting from my reply to Tarin onwards.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 8:55 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
However I think trying to "be free" from the human condition does tend to repress and dissociate. I believe that the closest thing to "being free" from the human condition would be to learn to love our human condition.


If you could choose to be happy and free of malice all the time, would you?

Would you choose it for your parents? For your neighbors? For the unfortunate in the world, who otherwise suffer from famine / disease / war / etc?


Maybe it would be good to define "Being free and happy all the time"


We can start with the everyday meanings of "happy and free of malice". No need for a definition, the normal, vague understanding will do.

I'm really just curious what you think, so if you need a specific definition, feel free to pick one that you think would be informative, and then answer.


Here's the answer (with a previous explanation):

After my deep realization of emptiness, I had a period of time (about 1 year) living in such a state. People were clearly seen as empty, conditions were empty, situations were empty, I was empty. A sense of absolute liberation from the relative/conditioned world. I think this is an absolutely valid perspective of life. In this place the relative self is seen as a mere transient illusion, so it doesn't matter what happens to it. I was actually in the ER room close to dying and literally didn't care, fear/worry just did not arise in this state. In Zen this is called the "stink of Zen"

However in my experience, I started to realize that I was denying/suppressing/ignoring the relative side of reality. The perspective of the separate self, the self that gets attached, that has cravings, etc. Gradually this perspective started to become real again and I felt like I was being born once more.

The "Return of the self" is the next stage in the Mahayana path. And this is my experience, in my case it was a very rude awakening but it doesn't have to be like that for everyone.

The next step is the "integration" of this two perspectives of reality - which I see as a life time endeavor. Both perspectives are valid and both are useful. When I was in an emptiness/liberation/limitless state is true that I was free, but I was missing the human heart.

RIght now all emotions arise in my experience, including sorrow, grief, fear, etc. Yes they are empty and transient, and yet they are also very real. I honor both perspectives of life, the limitless and the limited and I wouldn't feel like a complete human without this two.

So to answer the question, I choose to be a full human being, with everything that it comes with. The freedom of being someone, no one and everyone.

I do think that people who claim to be happy and free all the time are denying a basic part of their humanity, they don't want to experience those parts of the human condition so this emotions become shadows that tend to leak out in harmfull ways (many examples of this along the spiritual world, maybe including AF ??? .. forgive me, I'm just speculating here)

If I could wish perpetual happiness to someone, I guess I would, but to me this is like wishing that some one could learn to fly, or to breathe under water ... just not happening. I would rather wish that they become a full human being, that they realize enlightenment and keep growing for the rest of their life, becoming a happier, more fulfilled individual that is not stuck in the enlightenment perspective or in the separate self perspective.

Now, after all this babbling, if some one claims to be free from the human condition (to which I can only think, how COULD they know that all the emotions they don't like won't ever arise in the future ? unless they unconsciously dissociate from them) then I won't try to disuade them ... I'm not so arrogant as to believe that I know for sure what can be done.

I don't think it is possible to escape the human condition, I think it is possible to learn to love it more and more ...but what the hell do I know anyway ? emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:15 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Hi Santiago,

As some of us here at the DhO think it is possible to take care of 'fetters' and the compounding of dukkha and are currently practicing in order to work and do away with such phenomena (and some of us to a certain degree have been successful), there are places where you might be more at home, where there is a common sentiment like the one you hold.

If you don't believe in raising the bar of what's possible and/or beneficial, or in the objectives of other 'buddhist' and non-buddhist schools of thought and are not ok with others following what they wish to follow, and your reason for posting here is more to convince people that their objectives should be dropped for others namely your own (by talking more about your view than about your practice) so as to reinforce and justify your own path choice, then I don't think you are in the right place.

But if you can be tolerant of others and their objectives in practice, as there seem to be a few different objectives and views here, then by all means share your view and hopefully more so your actual practice to your heart's content.

Here is a good example of a place where you can reinforce your own path with folk who hold similar views to your own: http://dharmarefugees.lefora.com/.

Each to his/her own.

Edit: And I am still fully human. Just much happier and peaceful than before. But then again, my version of a 'full human being' probably doesn't match your own.

Nick

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:26 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
After my deep realization of emptiness, I had a period of time (about 1 year) living in such a state. People were clearly seen as empty, conditions were empty, situations were empty, I was empty. A sense of absolute liberation from the relative/conditioned world. I think this is an absolutely valid perspective of life. In this place the relative self is seen as a mere transient illusion, so it doesn't matter what happens to it. I was actually in the ER room close to dying and literally didn't care, fear/worry just did not arise in this state. In Zen this is called the "stink of Zen"


In case you are interested...one major difference between the state you appear to be describing and the state others have reported interest in is that, in the former, there is a relative self that appears as a "mere transient illusion", but in the latter, there is no relative self that appears at all.

However in my experience, I started to realize that I was denying/suppressing/ignoring the relative side of reality. The perspective of the separate self, the self that gets attached, that has cravings, etc. Gradually this perspective started to become real again and I felt like I was being born once more.

The "Return of the self" is the next stage in the Mahayana path. And this is my experience, in my case it was a very rude awakening but it doesn't have to be like that for everyone.


I agree, this is how it tends to go...if a relative self is appearing, then calling it empty and not giving it respect is just an attempt to sweep it under the rug (dissociation), and tends not to work out well.

The next step is the "integration" of this two perspectives of reality - which I see as a life time endeavor. Both perspectives are valid and both are useful. When I was in an emptiness/liberation/limitless state is true that I was free, but I was missing the human heart.


Would you be interested in investigating what the state that has no appearance of a relative self is like?

Now, after all this babbling, if some one claims to be free from the human condition (to which I can only think, how COULD they know that all the emotions they don't like won't ever arise in the future ? unless they unconsciously dissociate from them) then I won't try to disuade them ...


The Pali suttas say that suffering comes from not understanding the causes of suffering clearly; presumably, once one sees clearly, the answer (to how one would know that suffering will not arise in the future) is obvious.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
1/31/12 11:24 PM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
End in Sight:
Nad A.:
Now you're asking if they should take it as evidence of a disorder. No I don't think that's, on its own, enough evidence of a disorder. And even if it was matched with a "disorder", it wouldn't mean the mental state is necessarily to be avoided. The point is "Interesting mental states should be studied scientifically" not left to anti-scientific guru's.


If this is your basic point (that scientific investigation of these things can be fruitful), I think you'll find a lot of agreement here.

One thing you may not appreciate is that scientific investigation generally depends on grants, grants are awarded for particular purposes, those particular purposes are usually highly practical (e.g. "how does mindfulness training affect such-and-such brain region related to addiction?") and cannot be tailored to open-ended non-practical "exploratory" research (e.g. "person X claims freedom from suffering, what is their brain doing?") in the way that one might assume.

If you, personally, think that such research is extremely important, then perhaps gathering a bunch of people together who are willing to fund the appropriate scientists to work on projects that you think are important would be a good idea. More likely, though, I expect that fundraising is not what you'd like to dedicate your life's efforts towards, which is wholly understandable...perhaps reflection along these lines will influence your opinions about what you think other people ought to do (as you describe on the thread "Brain scans of people who are Actually Free?"


Your point about how it's not so easy to proceed with research would go down a whole lot better if I hadn't heard such ludicrous excuses and anti-scientific conspiracy-theorism (I'm coining the phrase) from at least two people who claim to be AF.


As my point is just a fact about the way that academic science functions, it should not take anything to make it go down well...facts are facts.

Anyhow, I think it would be interesting to hear how you think this kind of research would make a practical difference in the world. I personally see no obvious path from scanning someone's brain (who claims not to suffer) to any sort of useful intervention or technique that could help others. Basic research (as this is what we are talking about) tends not to yield applications in any straightforward way...but perhaps you have more insight into this.

What is your opinion of Richard's excuse?


I don't have an opinion on his decision.

About the larger context, perhaps he lucked into a situation where some academic had the means and the inclination to run him through some expensive machinery...or perhaps he was going to "scan" him in an MRI to look for gross structural abnormalities (unlikely to be useful). I don't know.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 2:03 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
"... if a relative self is appearing, then calling it empty and not giving it respect is just an attempt to sweep it under the rug (dissociation), and tends not to work out well." -- End In Sight


Yes, indeed. "Calling" it empty and then ignoring it would be sweeping it under the rug. Realizing it actually IS empty, as are all the relative things we experience (including the sense of self) is a very different thing altogether. Intellectual honesty would seem to require that we actually listen to others and accurately represent their POV. Otherwise we are... deluding ourselves ;-)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 2:47 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
"... if a relative self is appearing, then calling it empty and not giving it respect is just an attempt to sweep it under the rug (dissociation), and tends not to work out well." -- End In Sight

Yes, indeed. "Calling" it empty and then ignoring it would be sweeping it under the rug. Realizing it actually IS empty, as are all the relative things we experience (including the sense of self) is a very different thing altogether. Intellectual honesty would seem to require that we actually listen to others and accurately represent their POV. Otherwise we are... deluding ourselves ;-)


If you take a look at Santiago's posts (not just in this thread) concerning his experiences of "emptiness", as well as his own characterization of those experiences, you will find that I am listening to and representing him quite accurately.

As for your (distinct) usage of the term, since it seems you want to discuss it...I have found that, as self-related experience is transformed from a gross form into a subtle form, it seems more and more empty. In other words, the less self-experience there is, the more empty whatever remains seems. (This can be tested using concentration practices of the "letting go" type, flitting back-and-forth between higher and lower levels of self-experience.) But the implication of that is, when everything is perceived as maximally empty, self-experience will not occur at all. What have you found?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 2:56 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
"As for your (distinct) usage of the term, since it seems you want to discuss it...I have found that, as self-related experience is transformed from a gross form into a subtle form, it seems more and more empty. In other words, the less self-experience there is, the more empty whatever remains seems. (This can be tested using concentration practices of the "letting go" type, flitting back-and-forth between higher and lower levels of self-experience.) What have you found?" -- EIS

I find, as we have discussed many times on another message board (KFDh), realizing the empty nature of the sense of self renders the point moot. That's my experience.

"But the implication of that is, when everything is perceived as maximally empty, self-experience will not occur at all."

Implication? What's the experience?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 3:17 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I find, as we have discussed many times on another message board (KFDh), realizing the empty nature of the sense of self renders the point moot. That's my experience.

Would it be accurate to put it this way?

In your experience, there are things that prevent realizing the empty nature of all phenomena (let's call them "obscurations" for short[1]), and there is the sense of self. These two are perhaps related in some way, but are not the same thing. You find that the sense of self is not a problem when there are no obscurations, so you find no need to do anything about it; rather, your practice is aimed at an ongoing, permanent realization of the empty nature of all phenomena (no obscurations). No obscurations - no problem, regardless of whether there is a sense of self.

Is that accurate? If so, could you go into more detail as to what the obscurations are and how they are related to/different from the sense of self? If not, could you clarify what is inaccurate about it? I don't think I ever clearly understood your entire take on the matter... perhaps better late than never, if you're willing to elucidate your take now.

-----
[1] Note, I don't mean to reify anything by calling them "obscurations", just that 'things preventing the realization of the empty nature of all phemonena' was getting to be a mouthful. If you prefer another word, then that's fine with me.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 4:27 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:


If you take a look at Santiago's posts (not just in this thread) concerning his experiences of "emptiness", as well as his own characterization of those experiences, you will find that I am listening to and representing him quite accurately.

[\quote]

End, since you invite feedback about your communication style, I'll share with you that this statement seems extremely arrogant to me. Santiago would be a better judge of whether you are representing his position accurately, don't you think? And Chris' differentiation between "calling" and "seeing" something as empty seems to have been spot on. My impression of Santiago's descriptions of his experience is that he was *seeing* everything as empty, not calling everything empty. I'm not equating this with a PCE or AF, either. That's beside this particular point I think.

This goes to the whole point of the thread it seems: a state of experiencing which, from a first person POV, appears to lack certain qualities and characteristics, but from an interpersonal or empirical (i.e., brain scan) POV appears to have those qualities and characteristics. It seems like a really interesting and important question, to me. The implications of such possibilities are many, and well worth considering for contemplative practitioners dedicated to, in part, transformation of first person experience!

-Jake

ETA: lol, oh well, I guess this just isn't my day for formatting quotes properly on message boards ;-) hahaha

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 4:22 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Intellectual honesty would seem to require that we actually listen to others and accurately represent their POV. Otherwise we are... deluding ourselves ;-)


Indeed. Ideally so. But this doesn't always happen, does it Chris?

;-)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 4:47 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:
And Chris' differentiation between "calling" and "seeing" something as empty seems to have been spot on. My impression of Santiago's descriptions of his experience is that he was *seeing* everything as empty, not calling everything empty.

I think the main issue being brought up in this thread is the distinction between suppression/ignorance, and lack of arising.

Santiago's describes that he was ignoring/suppressing something, though he didn't realize it at first:
Santiago Jimenez:
People were clearly seen as empty, conditions were empty, situations were empty, I was empty. A sense of absolute liberation from the relative/conditioned world. ... However in my experience, I started to realize that I was denying/suppressing/ignoring the relative side of reality.

End in Sight said that doing so "tends not to work out well".
Chris said ""Calling" it empty and then ignoring it would be sweeping it under the rug", implying (to me) that he didn't think Santiago was ignoring anything. But, by Santiago's own admission, he was.

Mr. Jake *:
This goes to the whole point of the thread it seems: a state of experiencing which, from a first person POV, appears to lack certain qualities and characteristics...

I think Santiago's experience was different. It's not that it was lacking certain qualities and characteristics, it's that he was ignoring/suppressing certain qualities and characteristics.

This is an important distinction to make: ignoring/suppressing is not the same as qualities simply not arising, even from a first person POV. In practice, the difference is huge, though I grant that it sometimes takes a bit of discernment to figure out which is which. Simply put, you can't ignore something that isn't arising... try ignoring or suppressing the sounds of an alarm clock ringing somewhere in Paris right now.

The issue seems to be that when some people hear that qualities aren't arising, they take that to mean that something is necessarily being ignored/suppressed. I don't think that is the case, and I don't see how a path that involves no suppression or ignorance can possibly lead to a state of suppression/ignorance. This isn't to say that someone couldn't try to follow a path that doesn't involve suppression or ignorance, and end up accidentally suppressing/ignoring something.

Mr. Jake *:
ETA: lol, oh well, I guess this just isn't my day for formatting quotes properly on message boards ;-) hahaha

You put a \ instead of a / in your end-quote tag.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 5:33 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
"I don't think I ever clearly understood your entire take on the matter... perhaps better late than never, if you're willing to elucidate your take now."

Maybe you can revisit some of the conversations we've had on this very subject at KFDh. I'm not going to re-type them here because they're freely available and easily found there. It's not complicated but maybe that's part of the problem. I notice a tendency for folks to get into a mindset that assumes practice and its fruits need to be complex and somehow additive. My experience is that practice and its fruits get simpler and simpler as one realizes more. The process appears to me to be subtractive as more conditioning (veils, obstructions if you will) is slowly pulled away until the clear light shines through.

Daniel said this really well upthread:

"For what it is worth, my practice these days is basically just good old direct clear sensate awareness straight up without any obvious attempt to have it be or do anything particularly and seeing what happens, though the general panoramic through and through view tends to pervade, as it were.

In this I have gone back to very simple first principles as they would seem hard to argue with and thus I can proceed without any obvious concern about any of the rest of it, which is really nice, actually... (pun intended)"


Bingo!

Lastly, this is what I think is the cogent part of Santiago's comment:

"After my deep realization of emptiness, I had a period of time (about 1 year) living in such a state. People were clearly seen as empty, conditions were empty, situations were empty, I was empty. A sense of absolute liberation from the relative/conditioned world. I think this is an absolutely valid perspective of life. In this place the relative self is seen as a mere transient illusion, so it doesn't matter what happens to it."

I grok that. Emptiness of self and other.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 5:56 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
"... a state of experiencing which, from a first person POV, appears to lack certain qualities and characteristics, but from an interpersonal or empirical (i.e., brain scan) POV appears to have those qualities and characteristics. It seems like a really interesting and important question, to me. The implications of such possibilities are many, and well worth considering for contemplative practitioners dedicated to, in part, transformation of first person experience!" -- Jake

Yes, it's pretty clear that folks report first person experiences that are not consistent with what we observe from an external perspective. It would be fascinating to explore this somehow.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 6:14 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:
End in Sight:


If you take a look at Santiago's posts (not just in this thread) concerning his experiences of "emptiness", as well as his own characterization of those experiences, you will find that I am listening to and representing him quite accurately.



End, since you invite feedback about your communication style, I'll share with you that this statement seems extremely arrogant to me.


Thanks.

Funny thing is, I spent a fair amount of time looking for a neutral way to write it. emoticon

Santiago would be a better judge of whether you are representing his position accurately, don't you think?


Have you read the thread "An Essay on Zen and the Path of the Bodhisattva"? Santiago agreed in that thread that this experience of his was a kind of dissociation:

Santiago Jiminez:
The experience of having no center, and realizing that no one and no thing has a center, its all impersonal and therefore free from suffering.


And this appears to be the experience he's describing on the thread "RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho":

Santiago Jiminez:
I remember being in an experience similar to what AF claims (or at least what I understood from an interview of Daniel and Tarin) walking around for almost a year realizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, or irritated for ... ever again ... at all .... (very Eckhart Tolleish as I see it) ... this was after deep realization


Which appears to be the experience he's describing on this thread:

Santiago Jiminez:
also have had temporary experiences like the ones you describe. By temporary I mean about 1 year. I was convinced that malice and sorrow were gone for good. It turned out that I was completely deluded and was just suppressing very deep parts of my humanity, they then came back like a tsunami that left me almost dysfunctional. I think I was saved by my many years of practice.


and

Santiago Jiminez:
After my deep realization of emptiness, I had a period of time (about 1 year) living in such a state. People were clearly seen as empty, conditions were empty, situations were empty, I was empty. A sense of absolute liberation from the relative/conditioned world.


Which is what brought up my point about dissociation. So, as I see it, Santiago was the judge.

Now, as a practical question, since I am not as tactful as I would like to be...how would you have changed my previous response in order to appear less arrogant, given that reading Santiago's past posts are required to understand that I am not misrepresenting him (based on what he has said and agreed about, as far as I can see), and given that I wanted to indicate that?

As another practical question, did you go back and read through Santiago's posts after seeing my suggestion that one should read through them for context? If not, why not? (I suspect, if I had a more effective method of communicating things such as "the context is important; read through it", I would appear less arrogant, because reading through it would clarify my position, so maybe you can suggest one.) If so, why do you think I'm playing judge (instead of standing with his prior judgment)? Perhaps there is some subtlety here that I'm missing.

Let me emphasize that these are genuine, practical questions whose answers would benefit my style of communication.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 6:25 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I find, as we have discussed many times on another message board (KFDh), realizing the empty nature of the sense of self renders the point moot. That's my experience.


To go in a different direction...do you find it to be empty in every respect, or can it still deepen in certain respects, or can it be seen as empty in new and possibly surprising respects?

If it is not seen as absolutely empty in every respect, I think the practice I suggested could be interesting for you.

If not...may I ask what benefit (if any) your continued practice yields for you? If there is nothing further to achieve with regard to seeing the sense of self as empty, and changing the arising of the sense of self becomes unimportant when its arising is seen as empty, and if I assume the same is true for analogous issues (e.g. making oneself happier is unimportant when unhappiness is seen as empty), I am not sure what you in particular would continue to find worthwhile about practice...but, I would like to know.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 8:02 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:
End in Sight:
If you take a look at Santiago's posts (not just in this thread) concerning his experiences of "emptiness", as well as his own characterization of those experiences, you will find that I am listening to and representing him quite accurately.


End, since you invite feedback about your communication style, I'll share with you that this statement seems extremely arrogant to me. Santiago would be a better judge of whether you are representing his position accurately, don't you think?


It's occurred to me that there are fewer miscommunications and fewer instances of behavior that seems objectionable to others outside of dharma forums because, outside of dharma forums, conversations between two people are more commonly limited to those people in a way that isn't true of a forum such as this. When everyone participates, the possibility of one person not having the same common ground as the others is much more likely (which is often the cause of miscommunication and misunderstanding).

Since others do not find me to be as clear as I would hope, and as there may be something specific about my writing style that lends it to being misinterpreted, and as I have no desire at all to cause discord (such as, in this situation, between myself and Chris, or between myself and Jake, but more generally, discord of any kind), I think I'll try sticking to only posting about practice-related issues for awhile (such as my own practice, or concrete advice that may be valuable to others, rather than free-form discussion about differing values, goals, models, etc.) and see if that improves things. That should reduce the possibility that there will be a lack of common ground between those involved.

Hopefully that will be better, overall, for the DhO community.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 8:43 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


This is an important distinction to make: ignoring/suppressing is not the same as qualities simply not arising, even from a first person POV. In practice, the difference is huge, though I grant that it sometimes takes a bit of discernment to figure out which is which. Simply put, you can't ignore something that isn't arising... try ignoring or suppressing the sounds of an alarm clock ringing somewhere in Paris right now.


Yes, it's an important distinction and one that's not lost on me. Beo, it's possible that there be nothing arising (in conscious awareness) and yet it is still arising and it is having effects on behavior. There are forms of brain injuries for instance in which there is no longer visual perception, but there are pre-conscious visual processing systems that will cause a hand to rise up and block an oncoming ball. Now, I'm certainly not trying to equate AF with a brain injury; that hysterical anti-AF bullshit from the first wave schism a few years back is not something to bring back. I'm just making the point so it's clear to you that I do understand the distinction; you don't need to make it clear to me. There is another possibility beyond conscious suppression and complete elimination of the underlying conditions. That possibility is in my reading the topic of the thread. I take a pretty open view of what is plausibly possible in terms of neuro-phenomenal plasticity. I think for instance a master contemplative, with the help of a neuroscientist, could conceivably rewire brain/experience to cure the blindness condition I mentioned. Why not? Likewise it seems possible to have utterly non-phenomenal affective activity that would show up behaviorally and on brain scans for instance but simply not in experience. I am taking everyone's descriptions of their first person experience at face value; I am not implying that there is deception or a psychological self-deception even. I think the more arresting possibility is a neuro-phenomenal change that leaves certain systems intact and functional yet no longer phenomenalizing. Is such a thing inconceivable to you?

beo:

The issue seems to be that when some people hear that qualities aren't arising, they take that to mean that something is necessarily being ignored/suppressed. I don't think that is the case, and I don't see how a path that involves no suppression or ignorance can possibly lead to a state of suppression/ignorance. This isn't to say that someone couldn't try to follow a path that doesn't involve suppression or ignorance, and end up accidentally suppressing/ignoring something.


I understand that this can be an issue for some people: there is simply a distrust that someone's report of their subjective condition is honest, or that the reportant is being honest with themselves. I don't see the point in perpetuating those kinds of doubts. For myself, if I think someone is misrepresenting themselves intentionally or through self-delusion I try to disengage completely if I call em on it and after calling em on it, remain unconvinced of their sincerity, because what's the point? I don't need to fix anyone, which is what further engagement would amount to in such a situation. I don't see any of the participants here in those terms; I am operating under the assumption that everyone here is honestly reporting their experience to the best of their abilities. Ok? Also, I am not operating under the assumption that AF or ten fetter Arhat is an intrinsically undesirable or worse a harmful condition. I'm inclined to see what is being pursued here as a completely valid path. But I think this question that is being raised is worth considering. Do you?

And thanks for the formatting tip ;-) Every now and then I develop temporary dyslexia. For real, it's the damndest thing! That's probably what I was doing on the other board too. Hahaha ;-)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 9:07 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Mr. Jake *:
End in Sight:


If you take a look at Santiago's posts (not just in this thread) concerning his experiences of "emptiness", as well as his own characterization of those experiences, you will find that I am listening to and representing him quite accurately.



End, since you invite feedback about your communication style, I'll share with you that this statement seems extremely arrogant to me.


Thanks.

Funny thing is, I spent a fair amount of time looking for a neutral way to write it. emoticon

Santiago would be a better judge of whether you are representing his position accurately, don't you think?


Have you read the thread "An Essay on Zen and the Path of the Bodhisattva"? Santiago agreed in that thread that this experience of his was a kind of dissociation:

Santiago Jiminez:
The experience of having no center, and realizing that no one and no thing has a center, its all impersonal and therefore free from suffering.


And this appears to be the experience he's describing on the thread "RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho":

Santiago Jiminez:
I remember being in an experience similar to what AF claims (or at least what I understood from an interview of Daniel and Tarin) walking around for almost a year realizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, or irritated for ... ever again ... at all .... (very Eckhart Tolleish as I see it) ... this was after deep realization


Which appears to be the experience he's describing on this thread:

Santiago Jiminez:
also have had temporary experiences like the ones you describe. By temporary I mean about 1 year. I was convinced that malice and sorrow were gone for good. It turned out that I was completely deluded and was just suppressing very deep parts of my humanity, they then came back like a tsunami that left me almost dysfunctional. I think I was saved by my many years of practice.


and

Santiago Jiminez:
After my deep realization of emptiness, I had a period of time (about 1 year) living in such a state. People were clearly seen as empty, conditions were empty, situations were empty, I was empty. A sense of absolute liberation from the relative/conditioned world.


Which is what brought up my point about dissociation. So, as I see it, Santiago was the judge.

Now, as a practical question, since I am not as tactful as I would like to be...how would you have changed my previous response in order to appear less arrogant, given that reading Santiago's past posts are required to understand that I am not misrepresenting him (based on what he has said and agreed about, as far as I can see), and given that I wanted to indicate that?

As another practical question, did you go back and read through Santiago's posts after seeing my suggestion that one should read through them for context? If not, why not? (I suspect, if I had a more effective method of communicating things such as "the context is important; read through it", I would appear less arrogant, because reading through it would clarify my position, so maybe you can suggest one.) If so, why do you think I'm playing judge (instead of standing with his prior judgment)? Perhaps there is some subtlety here that I'm missing.

Let me emphasize that these are genuine, practical questions whose answers would benefit my style of communication.


Hmm, I don't know. Maybe when I'm not so tired I'll come back and try to offer feedback about your communication style. For what it's worth, I'm not sure it's a question of phrasing something differently. You can say something in ways that are easier or more difficult for individual people to hear based on their personal associations with your words, but if the intent of the communication is condescending or arrogant, how pallitably you phrase it won't change that. It will just make it easier for you to persuade someone to assume the position of being corrected.

Since I am reading your quotes of Santiago and thinking to myself, "huh, I still don't think End is really getting what Santiago is saying; it seems like End is trying to play lawyer with those quotes and pin down the meanings of those words in such a rigid fashion that they all mean what he wants them to mean, so..." And I am totally clueless why you bolded the "one year" business ;-) hahaha!. Entirely possible I'm missing obvious shit because I'm running on four hours of sleep last night.

But I'm reading your quotes of Santiago and thinking, boy, that's not really how I read those quotes. I did read those earlier threads. I don't think you understand the view context of Santiago's practice. I think I do. I think I understand the view context of your perspective too. So from my POV I believe I'm seeing a miscommunication which is pretty understandable given the differences in view and goal. As I see both your paths as valid and not necessarily in linear order with one being the ultimate outcome of the other, I feel pretty comfortable with my assessment that I get where each of you are coming from and yet not so sure either of you get where the other is coming from.

The latter evidenced by the apparent fact that each of you seem to see the others' Goal as, from your own perspective, a major "trap" on the way to your own goal. If I understand you guys correctly, for you, any sort of nonduality between samsara and nirvana seems like a premature compromise that hopefully is corrected by further investigation leading to the utter elimination of the root causes of samsara. For Santiago as I read him, the utter elimination of Samsara is a potential exreme one can be trapped in on the way to realizing nonduality (in his sense of the term). Now, it's possible that one of you is right and the other wrong. But it's also possible, and given what I know of both neuroplasticity and my own practice, that you're both pursuing valid but different and divergent goals with different methods in the context of different views. Given the general state of the world, in terms of peace and justice, I find polemic between different dharma paths a waste of time. In my view we ought to be each of us doing our damndest to optimize our own chosen views, methods, paths and goals and sharing what we find so folks of like mind can benefit from what we find.

ETA: which last point of mine I see you've come to on your own; I didn't read all through the posts before responding to this one. I think your intention to post on your own practice is probably wise. I guess I think, these issues are going to come up. But we could all do well by trying to separate questions like those Bruno is raising from all out polemics between differing view/method/goal systems. Participation in a thread like this is tricky shit. In a sense, the topic is really beyond the bounds of individual practice in some sense in that ultimately it seems to call for some third person verification-- behavioral and neurological analyses, I guess. The question is worth raising nevertheless, even if we aren't going to get the research we need to resolve it scientifically any time soon. It's a tough nut to crack.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 9:13 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:
I am taking everyone's descriptions of their first person experience at face value; I am not implying that there is deception or a psychological self-deception even.

Ok, understood.

Mr. Jake *:
Likewise it seems possible to have utterly non-phenomenal affective activity that would show up behaviorally and on brain scans for instance but simply not in experience. ... I think the more arresting possibility is a neuro-phenomenal change that leaves certain systems intact and functional yet no longer phenomenalizing. Is such a thing inconceivable to you?

Hmm... not as I understand the word 'affective', as my understanding requires it to exist in experience to be considered 'affective'.

I think I know what you're getting at, but before I reply, could you phrase the question differently? Perhaps including a specific example.

Mr. Jake *:
I don't see any of the participants here in those terms; I am operating under the assumption that everyone here is honestly reporting their experience to the best of their abilities. Ok?

Ok, understood.

Mr. Jake *:
But I think this question that is being raised is worth considering. Do you?

I think it is. But I think there is a better way to do it than apocryphal evidence.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 9:34 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
This is what transpired on the thread "An Essay on Zen and the Path of the Bodhisattva":

Santiago:
the sutra describes IMO the experience of great liberation. The experience of having no center, and realizing that no one and no thing has a center, its all impersonal and therefore free from suffering.


(...)

Santiago Jimenez:
End in Sight:
In my opinion that's [the experience of great liberation, as Santiago described it] called "dissociation", not enlightenment or liberation. emoticon
Yes I agree ... thought I think this is something not so uncommon for people on the path. I would say that liberation implies experiencing humanity fully, not dissociate from it.


As an explanation for what that no-center experience was like:

Santiago:
In this place if someone we love dearly dies we might not experience any stress, we might just see the whole event as the play of changing empty and meaningless form. Nothing can touch us because we are empty and so is everything else. However according to the tradition (also my personal experience and that of my teachers) there is a next step, which might come years or even decades after.


I do not see how that can be anything less than Santiago's agreement that this "no center" experience is dissociation, and it is something he experienced...and all of his comments in other threads about the dissociation-esque problems (from his own POV!) he now sees concerning his past experience of no suffering are referring to the very same "no center" experience, which he happily managed to overcome.

I really can't see how any alternative interpretation is possible. If you let me know, explicitly, how you think otherwise or thought otherwise, that will be very helpful to me. (We can take it to PM if you like.)

(Santiago, if I have mischaracterized your position, you should let me know.)

I bolded the the "one year" thing only to indicate that Santiago appeared to be talking about one single experience of emptiness / non-suffering in his personal history, not a variety of different things that might not all be the same type of thing.

If I'm being "lawyer-like" about this, it's because I'm trying to make clear, in a very precise way, why I have the interpretation here that I do.

You can say something in ways that are easier or more difficult for individual people to hear based on their personal associations with your words, but if the intent of the communication is condescending or arrogant, how pallitably you phrase it won't change that. It will just make it easier for you to persuade someone to assume the position of being corrected.


And if my intention wasn't to be condescending or arrogant, but merely (in this case) to ask that the context be looked at explicitly...what would have been a better way to phrase it, so that it did not appear that my intention was to be condescending or arrogant? Again, we can take this to PM if you like.

EDIT: In light of my resolution to restrict the topics of my posting, we should take this to PM, as I only continued this publicly in case Santiago wanted to step in and correct my interpretation (which would help me re: communication style, as it would indicate that my interpretations of things are faultier than I believe).

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 9:43 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
No need to take it to pm. We can agree to disagree for now ;-) I guess I just don't see your points, even if true, as as significant as you do. And I think I spelled out why that may be in my comments about different views, methods and goals above.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 9:48 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
I am not looking to agree or disagree with you, I am looking for you to explain (as explicitly as possible) how you came up with something different than me, as this entire subthread is based on something I said that I think is obvious from reading previous threads, which you apparently do not. Knowing how divergences like these come about can help me to e.g. not say things so resolutely when I suspect others are likely to have different interpretations, whether those interpretations are justified, unjustified, both, neither, or whatever else.

PM me if you're interested in following up on this. I would appreciate it!

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/1/12 11:45 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


If you don't believe in raising the bar of what's possible and/or beneficial, or in the objectives of other 'buddhist' and non-buddhist schools of thought and are not ok with others following what they wish to follow, and your reason for posting here is more to convince people that their objectives should be dropped for others namely your own (by talking more about your view than about your practice) so as to reinforce and justify your own path choice, then I don't think you are in the right place.

But if you can be tolerant of others and their objectives in practice, as there seem to be a few different objectives and views here, then by all means share your view and hopefully more so your actual practice to your heart's content.


Thanks Nick,

Once again, I'm sorry if I appeared intolerant to other views. I try to always make it clear that I just speak from my own experience and from what makes sense to me, i.e. this are just my subjective opinions.

The reason I brought this up is because I have seen much harm created when people, in an effort to eradicate suffering (which is usually just a synonym for what they don't want in their life) end up denying parts of their humanity that then come out anyway in harmfull ways, and I totally include myself here !! This thread started by Bruno's comments on the AF's funder, not that I know what's going on with the AF stuff, but I sense that something like that might be happening, however, this is just speculation, so forgive me once again.

I think is desirable to shed some light over this, not in an effort to justify my beliefs, but in an effort to bring a wider perspective to the issue, since I think it could be helpful for someone. The goal to be free from suffering is something so noble that I would never try to convince someone not to pursue it, or to dropp their objective (I don't think I can anyway) the reason why I joined this forum was to learn about different practices and view points. I believe I'm just pointing out to what I think can be a trap, one in which I totally fell into.

I think the forum is a wonderful place to learn and share, I have benefited greatly from it. And also to express what we think about our practice (I would say that our views and our practices cannot really be separated, they sort of depend on each other). But it's true that we can also start to get all tangled up in this concepts and miss the point, which is just to practice (again, my opinion) instead we just get so competitive and spend so much energy trying to prove that our view is the right view - BTW, since this competitiveness is very masculine stuff, don't you guys think maybe that's why there aren't many girls in this forum?
emoticon

Thanks again for the reply Nick, I hope this can be beneficial in some way for some one, and above all, I sincerely wish everyone here nothing but the best in their own chosen paths, I feel privileged to be able to express my views on the Dharma and to have so many of you commenting on it. (yeah this tends to sound corny, I know ... but it's true nonetheless)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 12:17 AM as a reply to Thom W.
More noise than signal is a very apt way to describe DhO at the present time.

Richard first appeared on the spiritual scene on the Krishnamurti forum. I think it is apt to quote J here:

"If you are very clear, if you are inwardly a light unto yourself, you will never follow anyone"

-- J. Krishnamurti

This is what seems to be the case at DhO now. Everybody is finding their own ways on what to do and as such are being a light unto themselves.

Richard is against the teachings of Krishnamurti but he unknowingly has moved many here on DhO towards J's teaching!

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 12:34 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
"... a state of experiencing which, from a first person POV, appears to lack certain qualities and characteristics, but from an interpersonal or empirical (i.e., brain scan) POV appears to have those qualities and characteristics. It seems like a really interesting and important question, to me. The implications of such possibilities are many, and well worth considering for contemplative practitioners dedicated to, in part, transformation of first person experience!" -- Jake

Yes, it's pretty clear that folks report first person experiences that are not consistent with what we observe from an external perspective. It would be fascinating to explore this somehow.


Would one of these inconsistencies be because you saw a picture of a few of us smiling together?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 7:22 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
"Would one of these inconsistencies be because you saw a picture of a few of us smiling together?"

It's something I've experienced myself and something I have had others describe to me in words.I think it's a very real phenomenon. My experience with it comes from talking to quite a few people and I think it's a fascinating "disconnect" that should really be the focus of investigation. I have seen pictures of some of you smiling together, yes. It reminded me of me when I meet people I've corresponded with online and finally meet them in person, or when I see someone close that I haven't seen for a long time. Understand that when folks report first person experience that is obviously not what others see in their behavior it piques one's interest.

Also, I have to say, there are so many roads to the top of this practice mountain that it's kind of goofy to get too focused on one or the other. It's like becoming a doctor and having to choose between being a general practitioner and being a specialist. You have to do one or the other, right? So knowing that a GP is someone who knows less and less about more and more until they know almost nothing about everything, and that a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know almost everything about nothing, is something to keep in mind. They're both MDs, of course, but they go about doctoring in different ways. Both are valid and perfectly acceptable.

I jumped in here because it seemed that a generalist was being misinterpreted and told he had to be a specialist. I note that a common response to generalist comments, at least for some folks, is to reinterpret their comments or to suggest that their experience isn't valid because it's not specialist experience.

Tolerance. Acceptance. Understanding.

Metta!

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 7:21 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
One more comment -- it's about models. We make many,many, many assumptions based on what's in our heads, those models we assume overtly or unconsciously. They're not the territory. The territory, as far as I can tell, is chaos and such a complex interweaving of cause and effect that it's essentially undiscernable over time. We may think we we really and finally get it, only to be proven wrong by our own practice in three hours, three days, or three months or three years.

I see no end to this practice but I'm not the Buddha. I'm not anywhere near being the Buddha. I can only speak from my experience, but if my experience is dismissed out of hand because it disagrees with a model in someone else's head, or when I dismiss someone else's experience because of the model in my head, well then.... we're gonna have "issues."

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 7:54 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
[A generalist] is someone who knows less and less about more and more until they know almost nothing about everything, and a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know almost everything about nothing.

Cracked me up! emoticon

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 1:09 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Chris Marti:
[A generalist] is someone who knows less and less about more and more until they know almost nothing about everything, and a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know almost everything about nothing.

Cracked me up! emoticon


though have seen the saying about the specialist somewhere else (was it zen and the motorcycle?), this is the first time i am encountering the corollary on generalist emoticon. good one!

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 3:17 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
One more comment -- it's about models. We make many,many, many assumptions based on what's in our heads, those models we assume overtly or unconsciously. They're not the territory. The territory, as far as I can tell, is chaos and such a complex interweaving of cause and effect that it's essentially undiscernable over time. We may think we we really and finally get it, only to be proven wrong by our own practice in three hours, three days, or three months or three years.

I see no end to this practice but I'm not the Buddha. I'm not anywhere near being the Buddha. I can only speak from my experience, but if my experience is dismissed out of hand because it disagrees with a model in someone else's head, or when I dismiss someone else's experience because of the model in my head, well then.... we're gonna have "issues."


Perhaps you make many, many, many assumptions based on the complex chaotic territory in your head because you are trying to discern interwoven cause and effect over time instead of watching phenomena occur one-by-one in the here-and-now?

Otherwise, I think it is pretty simple to see that stress has a cause, thus it- and your “issues” and the associated practice- can end; regardless of whether that takes three hours, three days, or three months, or three years … anyhow, you’ll go 6 ft. under one day.

See no end? … The end is inescapable!

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 3:33 PM as a reply to Null Velle.
"Perhaps you make many, many, many assumptions based on the complex chaotic territory in your head because you are trying to discern interwoven cause and effect over time instead of watching phenomena occur one-by-one in the here-and-now?"

Well, that could be the case. But is it? Might there be another point that you're just missing by so easily dismissing mine?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 3:46 PM as a reply to Null Velle.
Null Velle:
See no end? … The end is inescapable!

'end' might refer to two different things. (What used to be called) AF is the end of 'being', thus no more malice and sorrow. Yet, speaking to people who (used to) claim AF, they still say aspects of their experience are deepening. So something is still going on. Perhaps practice has ended, but life continues, and there is no difference between the two anymore?

Thus it's inaccurate to say there is no end - cause 'being' has ended and there is no more suffering - yet it's also inaccurate to say there is an end - cause experience is still deepening. Perhaps take care to figure out what kind of 'end' people are talking about.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 3:56 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I think Null Velle was referring to death as "the inevitable end."

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 4:09 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I think Null Velle was referring to death as "the inevitable end."

Hmm, perhaps. But I meant that a lot of practitioners take the view of "endless path" (such as you), and a lot of practitioners take the view of "there is an end (to suffering)" (such as me), and there might be disputes over that, but it might be that they the two approaches are compatible (and thus not actually a cause for dispute).

As for dying, my take is, we all will, and no way to know what happens after, so might as well enjoy living in the mean-time =).

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 4:36 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Well, that could be the case. But is it? Might there be another point that you're just missing by so easily dismissing mine?


I don’t know whether that is the case, which is why I ended the sentence with a question mark. Maybe you can look and see? I also did not dismiss what you wrote, otherwise I could not have replied in reference to what you wrote... Maybe the point you’re trying to make which you think I have missed isn’t as explicit as you think it is? Anyhow, if there is a point to your post which you think I may have missed, maybe you could state it again, reiterate it, or otherwise call it to my attention.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
'end' might refer to two different things. For example, I heard AF described as a 'dead-end', as in - what, you're done now? Yet, speaking to people who (used to) claim AF, they still say aspects of their experience are deepening. So something is still going on. Perhaps practice has ended, but life continues, and there is no difference between the two anymore?

Thus it's inaccurate to say there is no end - cause 'being' has ended and there is no more suffering - yet it's also inaccurate to say there is an end - cause experience is still deepening. Perhaps take care to figure out what kind of 'end' people are talking about.


What I replied to is the snippet of his writing: “I see no end to this practice …” and within the provided context that it immediately followed (among other things) a mention of causality (which fit the context of my response as well), and also within the context that it is a thread regarding delusion and condition(s) that may or may not experience that (which implies that it is related to associated practices).

I wrote my response in such a way as to be applicable to all possible meanings; physical death necessarily spells the end of: one’s experience of causality, of suffering, of any kind of practice, of ‘being’, and of any change to experience (since death is the end of all experience)). My reply was therefore directly aimed at what I thought to be the most likely usage he meant by ‘end’ while also covering the other possible meanings while implicitly alluding to several things I thought might be worth his consideration. If such a reply somehow qualifies as careless, I am all ears for your elaboration about that.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/2/12 6:51 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
If I’m understanding you correctly here…

Bruno Loff:
this raises the issue if this inability to correctly interpret one's own behavior is, or is not, a feature, a flaw, or perhaps a tendency, of permanent PCE-like conditions in general. It could be that it is just a quirk of Richard, and it could be that it is indeed a tendency or flaw of such conditions. And, if this turns out to be the latter case, how could we possibly detect such a flaw? and correct it?


And here…

Bruno Loff:
That you make mental or verbal narratives about "what is the goal of practice," or "why I am doing meditation," is completely redundant. In fact, you have absolutely no choice in the matter, as your own body is going to do it anyway, due to a deep urge for tranquility. That you, after the decision has actually been made deep down, for motives which are actually somatic rather than psychological or ethical, justify your actions with a pretty little speech about "the human condition of malice and sorrow" is actually utterly irrelevant, for in fact you have no choice in the matter.


Combined with this from Jeffery Martin…

So whatever that is to not have emotion, to be on sort of the far end there, you still have a tremendous sense of well being. It’s just not an emotional sense of well being. So people don’t represent for instance having love. If you say do you have love. They’d say “no I don’t have any love.” And that’s true for even things like their kids. They don’t have fatherly or motherly love for their children even anymore. So those sorts of extreme forms of love that people maybe can’t imagine not being a part of their life literally there’s no experience of them.

Now when we measure their body, we do measure sort of the same type of physiological responses that you would measure in people that had emotion. So it’s interesting because there does appear to be sort of what you would think of measurable emotional response in the body but there’s no experience of it.


http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/07/bg-225-the-end-of-self-referencing/

It would seem that “yes” someone’s actions would still be influenced (not clear to what degree) by emotion even though they could not consciously recognize “feel” the emotion that drove the behavior; they would be blind to it.

Regardless, for me everything is status quo. Keep focusing on the senses, examine beliefs, stay present, felicity, breath etc. I’ll keep assuming I have a choice in “my practice”, until maybe someday I experience that I never did. Looking forward to it! emoticon
Ed

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/3/12 3:06 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

Santiago:
In this place if someone we love dearly dies we might not experience any stress, we might just see the whole event as the play of changing empty and meaningless form. Nothing can touch us because we are empty and so is everything else. However according to the tradition (also my personal experience and that of my teachers) there is a next step, which might come years or even decades after.


I do not see how that can be anything less than Santiago's agreement that this "no center" experience is dissociation, and it is something he experienced...and all of his comments in other threads about the dissociation-esque problems (from his own POV!) he now sees concerning his past experience of no suffering are referring to the very same "no center" experience, which he happily managed to overcome.


Just a quick clarification. As I see it, the experience of no center/no limits/no self/ no time etc. is not dissociation by itself, it is the attachement to this perspective and the rejection/suppression/ignorance of the perspective of the separate self what causes dissociation.

What I consider a healthy view is to acknowledge, respect and love both of this ways of experiencing reality. Learning to be solid as a rock and empty as space, with all states in between. Not being so concerned about enlightenment or delusion.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/3/12 3:57 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
End in Sight:

Santiago:
In this place if someone we love dearly dies we might not experience any stress, we might just see the whole event as the play of changing empty and meaningless form. Nothing can touch us because we are empty and so is everything else. However according to the tradition (also my personal experience and that of my teachers) there is a next step, which might come years or even decades after.


I do not see how that can be anything less than Santiago's agreement that this "no center" experience is dissociation, and it is something he experienced...and all of his comments in other threads about the dissociation-esque problems (from his own POV!) he now sees concerning his past experience of no suffering are referring to the very same "no center" experience, which he happily managed to overcome.


Just a quick clarification. As I see it, the experience of no center/no limits/no self/ no time etc. is not dissociation by itself, it is the attachement to this perspective and the rejection/suppression/ignorance of the perspective of the separate self what causes dissociation.

What I consider a healthy view is to acknowledge, respect and love both of this ways of experiencing reality. Learning to be solid as a rock and empty as space, with all states in between. Not being so concerned about enlightenment or delusion.


that's what i thought you meant ;-)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/3/12 5:50 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Tarin, you seem to have hit the nail in the head in so many ways, with regards to my own practice, that I was left feeling rather perplexed.

---

The whole (reported) Richard misbehavior, which goes far beyond just weeping, will hopefully serve me in the future, as I come closer to wherever this is going. I am not sure there is anything left I can hope for, with regards to this. If, from all the mental noise that I got from learning of these reports, I can distinguish some signal, it was the following idea, expressed by now in various places by various persons:

Claudiu Beoman:
I think it's important to understand that one still very much needs to have the intention to act skillfully in the world. Perhaps it's not a matter of attainments automatically bestowing skillful means on a person, but more a matter of attainments making it easier to act skillfully in the world, if one intends to work on that.


---

I think that the discussion of repression vs. acceptance vs. reinforcement vs. obscuration vs. transformation vs. whatever, with respect to feelings, is really fundamental. There are subtle ways one can dissociate from those, rather than improving the situation, and I personally find it difficult to distinguish what is happening when, even after what is now almost three years of meditation and introspection. I haven't read all of the posts of this parallel discussion (perhaps it should be split into a different thread?), but will do so in due time.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/3/12 9:19 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

Would you be interested in investigating what the state that has no appearance of a relative self is like?


Sure I would be very curious about that !

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/3/12 9:23 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
End in Sight:

Would you be interested in investigating what the state that has no appearance of a relative self is like?


Sure I would be very curious about that !


Have you ever done a pure concentration practice? (I don't know if Zen traditions employ them or not.)

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/4/12 9:03 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
There are ways of meditating in which there is pure concentration on the breath during the whole period. There is also Koan practice in which you focus on a specific question. During this practices what tends to happen is that there is no sense of an "I" that is breathing, there is just the breathing. Also there is no sense of a subject that is asking a question, we focus so much on the question that we become the question.

When you speak of a state of no reappearance of the relative self, is that to be considered a permanent trait or something that is experience during the practice period ?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/4/12 9:15 AM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
There are ways of meditating in which there is pure concentration on the breath during the whole period. There is also Koan practice in which you focus on a specific question. During this practices what tends to happen is that there is no sense of an "I" that is breathing, there is just the breathing. Also there is no sense of a subject that is asking a question, we focus so much on the question that we become the question.

When you speak of a state of no reappearance of the relative self, is that to be considered a permanent trait or something that is experience during the practice period ?
Not to wade into your discussion with EIS, but just like to share something I wrote in the past:

First I do not see Anatta as merely a freeing from personality sort of experience as you mentioned; I see it as that a self/agent, a doer, a thinker, a watcher, etc, cannot be found apart from the moment to moment flow of manifestation or as its commonly expressed as ‘the observer is the observed’; there is no self apart from arising and passing. A very important point here is that Anatta/No-Self is a Dharma Seal, it is the nature of Reality all the time -- and not merely as a state free from personality, ego or the ‘small self’ or a stage to attain. This means that it does not depend on the level of achievement of a practitioner to experience anatta but Reality has always been Anatta and what is important here is the intuitive insight into it as the nature, characteristic, of phenomenon (dharma seal).

To put further emphasis on the importance of this point, I would like to borrow from the Bahiya Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.irel.html) that ‘in the seeing, there is just the seen, no seer’, ‘in the hearing, there is just the heard, no hearer’ as an illustration. When a person says that I have gone beyond the experiences from ‘I hear sound’ to a stage of ‘becoming sound’, he is mistaken. When it is taken to be a stage, it is illusory. For in actual case, there is and always is only sound when hearing; never was there a hearer to begin with. Nothing attained for it is always so. This is the seal of no-self. Therefore to a non dualist, the practice is in understanding the illusionary views of the sense of self and the split. Before the awakening of prajna wisdom, there will always be an unknowing attempt to maintain a purest state of 'presence'. This purest presence is the 'how' of a dualistic mind -- its dualistic attempt to provide a solution due to its lack of clarity of the spontaneous nature of the unconditioned. It is critical to note here that both the doubts/confusions/searches and the solutions that are created for these doubts/confusions/searches actually derive from the same cause -- our karmic propensities of ever seeing things dualistically


In other words, for liberation and effortless experience there must be a realization of what is always already the case, rather than merely cultivating a state of experience.

Related articles:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html
http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html
http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/09/realization-and-experience-and-non-dual.html

1) Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
2) On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
3) Realization and Experience and Non-Dual Experience from Different Perspectives

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/4/12 9:37 AM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
There are ways of meditating in which there is pure concentration on the breath during the whole period. There is also Koan practice in which you focus on a specific question. During this practices what tends to happen is that there is no sense of an "I" that is breathing, there is just the breathing. Also there is no sense of a subject that is asking a question, we focus so much on the question that we become the question.


Do you reach a point where there is no sense-perception? (For example, as I understand it, zazen is practiced with eyes slightly open; in the deepest forms of concentration you have experienced, is there anything being seen?)

When you speak of a state of no reappearance of the relative self, is that to be considered a permanent trait or something that is experience during the practice period ?


It is experienced during the practice period, as a foretaste of experiencing it as a permanent trait.

Here's an excerpt from Bhante G concerning concentration:

Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English:
Some teaches say that the jhanas are unnecessary, perhaps that they are rather like playthings for advanced meditators. It may be technically true that some can attain final release from craving, delusion, and suffering without jhanic meditation, but there are many benefits to achieving the jhanas. (...) The jhanas taste like liberation, a total freedom from all the mental and emotional woes that plague is. But the jhanas themselves are not that total freedom....but still, they give you the absolute assurance that more is possible, that your mind too holds the seeds of complete freedom; through the jhanas you can be assured experientially that liberation is not just a theory...


By the way, about dissociation, when we talked about it I speculated that your attainment coincided with MCTB 1st path...one does not "get over" that, one only gets over the impression that that attainment is identical to not suffering. So, we've been on the same page, though perhaps I could have been more explicit about that.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/4/12 4:37 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
During the time of the Buddha there were many "heretical" teachers whose practices were more or less identical to the Buddha's.

They had disciples, were monks, they went for alms, believed in Salvation, were probably very moral, were philosophers, held in high esteem etc.

One of them, Sanjaya Belathaputta, was the original teacher of both Sariputta and Moggallana.

Anyways the one guy I can find who most matches Richard's philosophy is Ajita Kesakambali (he was said to have worn a garment made of human hair):

Basically he was a Materialist, he claimed that with death came Annihilation and that there was no reward for Good or Evil deeds.

Sadly, I must make comment that I think this is what's happening here, we (or maybe not all of us) have taken to a teacher who basically recommends being Happy and Harmless, and has very many "reasonable" practices/doctrines. It's just that, well, he is not the "real deal"? So to speak.

Edit:

Then the wandering ascetic Subhadda approached the Blessed One and saluted him courteously. And having exchanged with him pleasant and civil greetings, the wandering ascetic Subhadda seated himself at one side and addressed the Blessed One, saying: "There are, Venerable Gotama, ascetics and brahmans who are heads of great companies of disciples, who have large retinues, who are leaders of schools, well known and renowned, and held in high esteem by the multitude, such teachers as Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambali, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sañjaya Belatthaputta, Nigantha Nataputta. Have all of these attained realization, as each of them would have it believed, or has none of them, or is it that some have attained realization and others not?"


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/5/12 2:42 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
There are ways of meditating in which there is pure concentration on the breath during the whole period. There is also Koan practice in which you focus on a specific question. During this practices what tends to happen is that there is no sense of an "I" that is breathing, there is just the breathing. Also there is no sense of a subject that is asking a question, we focus so much on the question that we become the question.


Do you reach a point where there is no sense-perception? (For example, as I understand it, zazen is practiced with eyes slightly open; in the deepest forms of concentration you have experienced, is there anything being seen?


Zazen can be practiced with both eyes open or closed. I wouldn't say that there's a lack of sensory arisings during significant "time" in my own experience of meditation. It's more a sense of sensory experience being intermittent, a kind of flickering of sensory arisings coming in and out of existence - internal images, internal sounds, the sense of the existence of the body is flickering - there's a small gap that continuously breaks sense perceptions - though this is experienced both in and out of the cushion. Sometimes reality is experienced in this intermittent way and sometimes is felt as more continuous and solid.

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/5/12 10:25 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
There are ways of meditating in which there is pure concentration on the breath during the whole period. There is also Koan practice in which you focus on a specific question. During this practices what tends to happen is that there is no sense of an "I" that is breathing, there is just the breathing. Also there is no sense of a subject that is asking a question, we focus so much on the question that we become the question.


Do you reach a point where there is no sense-perception? (For example, as I understand it, zazen is practiced with eyes slightly open; in the deepest forms of concentration you have experienced, is there anything being seen?


Zazen can be practiced with both eyes open or closed. I wouldn't say that there's a lack of sensory arisings during significant "time" in my own experience of meditation. It's more a sense of sensory experience being intermittent, a kind of flickering of sensory arisings coming in and out of existence - internal images, internal sounds, the sense of the existence of the body is flickering - there's a small gap that continuously breaks sense perceptions - though this is experienced both in and out of the cushion. Sometimes reality is experienced in this intermittent way and sometimes is felt as more continuous and solid.


How fast is the flickering?

If it's a couple of times per second or so, then what you're describing is probably what we call "vibrations" around here (and in MCTB ).

If there are periods where all the sensory experience disappears for a second or more, and returns afterwards, that's in the direction of what I had in mind.

There are a couple of ways to go towards the latter type of experience (as I assume you were describing the former), but the easiest to explain is something like: if you're paying attention to your breath, it appears not to be ultra-clear because there is some kind of mental movement that keeps drawing attention away from it for small fractions of a second. The more you concentrate, the easier it is to stay with the breath, the fewer mental movements, the clearer the breath seems. When all mental movements are deeply suppressed, all the defilements (which are tied in with the sense of a self that arises) associated with those movements are suppressed, which is a foretaste of some aspects of what enlightenment is like (as a permanent state) according to Pali Buddhism. So see if you can tune into the mental movements that wax and wane in the process of concentrating, and relax, and let go of them (or stop generating them). The way to judge how suppressed mental movements are is to get to a point (at least) where sense experience starts to fade away, and yet alertness is extremely high (beyond anything normally experienced outside meditation).

If you decide to try this and want some feedback, or just want to document your experience, I'll look forward to reading your practice thread!

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/7/12 9:48 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Thanks I've been trying what you suggested. I usually don't do pure concentration practices, generally in Shikantaza (just sitting) there is no intention to control attention. When I try to keep focus on the breath I usually perceive it as "vibrations". It's harder to perceive the breath as a single "object". When I come to the end of the out breath, there's sometimes a lack of mental images and sounds, however the sensations of the body are still there in vibrating mode.

I guess the disappearance of all sensory perceptions can only happen at the end of the in breath/out breath ? And this would include the disappearance of body sensations ?

RE: The delusion of no-delusion?
Answer
2/7/12 10:37 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
Thanks I've been trying what you suggested. I usually don't do pure concentration practices, generally in Shikantaza (just sitting) there is no intention to control attention. When I try to keep focus on the breath I usually perceive it as "vibrations". It's harder to perceive the breath as a single "object".


One thing that works really well for me is to consider that there is the breath (which is smooth), and then there are vibrations, and the vibrations are literally separate objects that are "on top of" the smooth breath that occlude it and make it appear to be vibrating and not so smooth. So instead of trying to get the breath to be smooth and non-vibrating, I try to see that the breath is already smooth and non-vibrating. (It's not a trick or autosuggestion; it's successful when the vibration is perceived as a fluctuation of mind that has nothing to do with the breath but happens at the same time as the breath, at which point the fluctuation can be ignored and the breath can really be tuned into.)

(A hint is, if you experience a mental object called "attention" and you try to place it on your breath, all you will get is vibration-y breathing sensations, because the mental object called "attention" is a fluctuation of mind that gets in the way of the perception of the breath. So, try to notice the breath without using "attention" in this way and without putting it on the breath, or on anything.)

Another method that works for me is to make sure not to pay attention to the vibration quality of the breath, i.e. stop recognizing or thinking about the gaps in any way, and just notice the friction quality.

Also, sometimes I think of the breath sensations as having different aspects, some of which are more pleasant and more clear than others, and I pay less attention to aspects that aren't pleasant and clear, or I pay more attention to aspects that have proven to lead to a more pleasant and clearer perception. (Vibrations are generally unpleasant and unclear compared to other aspects.)

There are lots of ways to play around with this, but practice is probably the main thing for most people.

I guess the disappearance of all sensory perceptions can only happen at the end of the in breath/out breath ? And this would include the disappearance of body sensations ?


I think that certain subtle body sensations and sounds are the most resistant to disappearing, but in principle, everything can disappear, at any point during the breath cycle. You may not even realize it's happened (partially because there's no perception of "everything disappeared") until the sensory stuff comes back! It all depends on how strong your concentration is.