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MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 10/22/12 4:41 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project End in Sight 3/22/12 6:16 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 3/22/12 12:28 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project End in Sight 4/1/12 8:30 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 4/1/12 7:39 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project End in Sight 4/2/12 10:41 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/9/12 7:35 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project T. Dan S- 3/22/12 1:44 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Coyote 3/22/12 1:59 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Terry Farrah 3/31/12 12:47 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 3/31/12 11:57 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 4/1/12 12:28 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Bernardo V. 4/1/12 5:28 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 4/2/12 1:37 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Terry Farrah 4/1/12 11:50 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 4/2/12 3:59 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Bernardo V. 4/2/12 1:02 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 4/3/12 12:05 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Pål S. 4/3/12 4:16 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 4/3/12 1:30 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 4/4/12 3:13 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 4/4/12 8:25 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Nikolai . 4/4/12 7:41 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 4/4/12 8:53 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Andrew . 4/16/12 4:03 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Bernardo V. 4/5/12 9:40 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Steph S 4/3/12 1:22 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Pablo P 4/4/12 12:06 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 4/4/12 3:12 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tommy M 4/21/12 8:27 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tommy M 4/21/12 7:45 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Christian A 5/7/12 12:29 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 5/11/12 1:55 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tommy M 5/11/12 5:29 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Pablo P 6/9/12 12:05 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 6/10/12 1:48 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tommy M 6/16/12 12:29 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 6/17/12 3:13 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tommy M 6/18/12 8:22 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 8/3/12 2:28 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 8/15/12 1:52 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tommy M 8/15/12 9:05 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 8/15/12 4:45 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Steph S 8/16/12 1:47 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tommy M 8/17/12 5:56 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 8/24/12 12:52 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Robert McLune 9/29/12 10:01 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Robert McLune 9/29/12 10:14 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Daniel M. Ingram 9/30/12 10:46 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Eric G 10/7/12 7:00 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Robert McLune 11/12/12 5:01 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Tamanan Suebwonglee 10/19/12 11:33 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Adam . . 10/19/12 7:40 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Robert McLune 10/19/12 9:38 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project End in Sight 10/20/12 8:29 AM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project Robert McLune 11/21/12 11:31 PM
RE: MCTB Expansion Project End in Sight 10/20/12 12:54 PM
MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
10/22/12 4:41 AM
Dear All,

I was wondering if those of you who consider yourself on the high-achiever end of things, with strong practice, solid knowledge of meditation theory, texts, practice, etc. would be interested in joining together to help expand out MCTB with more perspectives, takes on things, etc.

MCTB is already here in the wiki, and I was thinking of making this wiki version have lots of people's comments and additions and notes and takes on the basic material, text references, individual experiences, critiques, enhancements, expansions, etc.

This will be moderated by me, obviously, as it is my book, and I want the level of quality to be high, but I want it to be broader, include a wider set of points of view, so as to make something better than it currently is and deeper than I alone could come up with, and if people have valid critiques or contradictory points of view, I am for that also, so long as there is depth, reason, sense and practical benefit in those.

As you have read the thing, you probably had things you would have liked to see added, changed, or later had things you might add. I want that if you are willing to add it and it is good.

What I imagine it looking like is the core text with a lot of links to people's additional wiki-page comments, so for example:

"blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. [Tommy's take on blah][Ian's take on blah][Steph's take on blah]" etc.

Just to give examples, and not that those people necessarily will be participating, but people know those names.

It can obviously go in other directions, actualism, Tibetan, Zen, energetic stuff, whatever, just so we are really enhancing each section with a diversity of useful stuff that will make people more able to get something practical and beneficial out of it.

Basically, this is group-sourcing the second edition, albeit an edition that will just exist here, I suspect, and will be done for the greater good.

We could even add other chapters that don't yet exist, or appendices, or whatever people think is useful that also makes some basic sense to me.

I will be adding some parts also, likely, and may want to negotiate with some of the parts regarding how they are done, and it will probably at least be a fun and useful conversation, and build some community as well, which is good also.

This will obviously be an experiment in group process, which can often get interesting, but this is what is inspiring me at the moment, so I thought I would take the risk and go with it.

This book and the writing in it will be done for free as the book will be available for free here online, just so everyone getting into this is aware of that from the beginning.

Basic format for entries, as each wiki page needs its own unique identifier:

Link should look like [[ Wiki Page | Displayed Wiki Page Name]]

With Wiki Page being the actual link name and Wiki Page Name being what is displayed as the link.

After putting in that link, you can click on the red link to go to the new page and edit the page with the information you want to add. Be sure to label each page with your name at the top so they know whose take on things it is. We should probably come up with bios for those involved so people have a sense of their perspective sources and backgrounds to help frame their comments.

Getting used to the Creole syntax that the wiki uses is relatively easy.

The Wiki Page Name should have your Name and a Unique Topic Name.

The Displayed Wiki Page Name should be the readable version of that, and may be the same.

For instance [[Tommy on 2nd Jhana | Tommy on 2nd Jhana]] where as in this case they are the same, and you could actually just do [[Tommy on 2nd Jhana]], which displays the same for both.

Or, you could do something like [[http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/rest of link | DhO Thread on the Topic]] if you thought there was a cool thread that really related to the topic well.

Or even [[http://someotherwebsite.com/coolarticle | Some Other Websites Cool Article on the Topic]]

Anyone interested in this will need to become a Wiki Author: let me know who wants to do this. If no one is interested, I can do it myself, but it would be more fun in a group, I think.

Thanks for considering this,

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
3/22/12 6:16 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Though I have found many things in MCTB to disagree with, I also think that, restricting the discussion to the goal of MCTB (guiding readers to a specific set of attainments), most of those disagreements vanish; it is well-written, well-conceived, stunningly to-the-point, and thus would be difficult to improve on.

What, specifically, is your aim in revising MCTB? What specific things do you want revised-MCTB to do that it doesn't currently do?

In terms of the goals of MCTB, the main improvement that I would suggest is to drastically emphasize the Simple Model, maybe expand the first-person descriptions of what its stages tend to be like, etc. I think it lends to less confusion than trying to count path-moments etc., and may make for more accurate self-diagnosis too.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
3/22/12 12:28 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Thanks for your input.

Personal descriptions are exactly the sort of thing I am looking for, so if you are in a mood to lend those, great.

Also, you have critiqued its take on jhana, and if you were interested in adding your take, that would be good also.

Up for it?

Let me know,

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
3/22/12 1:44 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
To clarify, what this looks like to me is a full book on the wiki, with pages that branch off into commentary from other people (possibly pdf, but not print, because the links will need to be integrated). Is that correct?

I remember thinking that having a fully functional active wiki would open this material up to a lot of people who are a little apprehensive about reading a meditation book (or book in general), but given the chance to expose themselves to different parts of theory piecemeal over articles they looked up out of curiosity, they'd jump right in.

I'm interested, but don't consider myself a high-achiever, and won't have a whole lot to add content-wise.
But, if needed, I would be happy to help with editing, and suggestions on what content to include with the goal of making the book as a whole more useful.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
3/22/12 1:59 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Greetings,

I've been an occasional lurker since first encountering MCTB a couple of years ago, but this is my first post.

I am very excited to hear that you will be expanding on the project by taking advantage of wiki format. There are clearly a number of astute and knowledgeable posters on the forum whose perspectives can only enrich what is already an amazingly useful work. It will be interesting to seeing what directions the project branches out into as additional voices contribute breadth and depth, and I look forward to reading the new content.

May the experiment in group process continue to be inspired and inspiring!

abc

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
3/31/12 12:47 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I would like it if I could see which sections of MCTB have been edited as part of the expansion project. I have found MCTB very useful and am very interested to read any revised or expanded sections. Thanks to anyone who can make this possible (or tell me in what way it is already possible).

Terry

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
3/31/12 11:57 PM as a reply to Terry Farrah.
Actually, sad to say, nothing happened, as you can see.

Thus, I may just do it myself, which is fine, but I thought that a community with its diversity of skills, perspectives, and takes on things could do better than just me, but apparently interest is low, which is to say nearly zero, at least in telling me that people wanted to add content.

I am will have a bit of time soon to start on this, and if you wish I will update here with the sections I work on.

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/1/12 12:28 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Actually, sad to say, nothing happened, as you can see.

Thus, I may just do it myself, which is fine, but I thought that a community with its diversity of skills, perspectives, and takes on things could do better than just me, but apparently interest is low, which is to say nearly zero, at least in telling me that people wanted to add content.

I am will have a bit of time soon to start on this, and if you wish I will update here with the sections I work on.


I would have interest in participating, but not on a consistent basis. (Not that I don't have interest, it's more a matter of limited time.) Like, if I have access, and I see something I can feel confident changing/adding to, I will do it if it's easy to do, but not if it's hard (like hard to get to).

What about just backing up the current MCTB wiki version, making that uneditable, and then making the new one editable by everyone who is logged into DhO? (Uses the login as credential). Might encourage people to join if they can just edit something easily, bit-by-bit, wikipedia style, and it seems we don't have a huge mass of people editing so it would avoid some of the problems wikipedia has. And if it gets too bad then just revert to what you wanted to do anyway - each person requests permission themselves.

Also, what is the aim of the new book, as End in Sight alluded to? Better info on just the 4 paths defined there, or including anything e.g. Kenneth's stages, Actualism/Actual Freedom, etc?

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/1/12 8:30 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Also, you have critiqued its take on jhana, and if you were interested in adding your take, that would be good also.


I can't easily see a way to explain my take without going a fair distance away from the concepts and models that MCTB uses. Depending on the ways in which you wanted to revise MCTB, this might be less of a problem, but as it stands now, it does seem to me that anything that I write would be moderately out of place.

So, the question to you is, how much divergence (in that sense) are you willing to tolerate?

Maybe the simplest way to expand on the issue of jhana is simply to link to the explanations given by teachers who focus on it (e.g. Ajahn Brahm), explicitly noting that conceiving of what they're talking about as a "samatha-heavy" variation of what MCTB talks about is an assumption to be tested (rather than assumed based on accepting the concepts and models that MCTB uses), and possibly one which the teachers themselves would reject.

Culadasa's 10 stages of concentration is also a useful thing to link to.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/1/12 5:28 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I'd be happy to contribute as much as possible. I've been working on a portuguese translation of MCTB and will make sure to take notes on the sections that I belive could be better, or to which I would offer a different take.

If you have plans to expand the book further, an appendix containing your own take on 'stages on the path of actual freedom' and practises to attain it, all sistematized like the rest of the book, would be a very valuable addition.

Bernardo

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/1/12 7:39 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
@EIS: You mean from your narrow reading of MCTB, a book which includes a wide range, and includes that jhanas can be hard or soft, samatha heavy or concentration heavy, and links to numerous outside sources as essential reading material, and those contain a wide range of opinions on jhana themselves.

So, if you wish to conceive of MCTB as being narrow, then please feel free to add what you feel is outside it.

If you realize that MCTB leaves it wide open, then please feel free to work within that, the effect being the same, but the way you personally perceive it will be different, and it is all one to me.

Interestingly, last night I had a rare 14 hours to sleep and meditate in a row, and I chanced into extremely hard formless realms, territory I didn't even incline to, and it had been a while since I had visited it, as that is not what I am generally doing these days, but it just showed up, and I still think that the primordial consciousness or ground of being that B Alan Wallace talks about, as well as the stable, highly indescribable place you talk about, must be 8th, which, when hit properly, has an unusual stability to, like a silent singularity of incomprehensible something yet not something, a nearly nothing-going-on-ness to it that yet is highly profound and defies easy dimensional description and seems nearly a-sensate, which is of course absurd and yet it hints at that anyway if not quite delivering, and, given that the entrance to it hints at all sorts of things along the way, wide open space, brilliant blazing consciousness, profound nothingness, and then that, one can easily project all sorts of attributes onto it from those, as is so often done and understandably so, as the entrance through those can be really fast (less than a few seconds), and one may emerge the same way. Should you be into that discussion, perhaps start a new thread.

I predict you will disagree, but that is what keeps this interesting from my point of view, or I wouldn't have opened the thing up, as I realize there is a lot out there that is differently conceived of, regardless of whether or not it is actually different, and I think the conversation would be educational to those reading, as that is the sort of stuff that people often don't get: the many ways to think about this stuff, the controversies, but done well and a at high level, etc. Sometimes what is most revealing about controversies is the underlying assumptions that get taken as a given by both parties, such as these things being possible by ordinary mortals, etc.

**************

Regarding alternate models: one little political thing: before including Kenneth's stuff in MCTB or adding it on as commentary, might want to ask him what he thinks of that before you do it. I personally am fine with it.

***************

Regarding opening it up to everyone: I am not quite that bold yet, as I want to see how this will go, and I don't know how to lock some pages and not others, so what I want is a smaller group initially to see how that goes, and there is no obligation, just the opportunity, and no minimum to add or time pressure, just as it comes to you, and as I want the comments added as links to separate pages, it shouldn't blow the flow too badly hopefully, and if people want more flow, other online versions exist

Again, should anyone actually be interested, let me know that you are by email or some other definitive method such that I can allow you access.

Thanks again for considering,

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/1/12 11:50 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
... if you wish I will update here with the sections I work on.

I do so wish!
Terry

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/2/12 1:37 AM as a reply to Bernardo V..
Alright, we have two so far:

BCDEFG and Bernardo.

Thanks for offering,

D

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/2/12 3:59 AM as a reply to Terry Farrah.
Alright, so tonight I made a few small changes, among them:

Finishing up all links to the next chapter, something I should have done long ago.
Adding a link to Gary Weber on the Thought Model page and to Bernadette Roberts on the God Model page.
Adding a link to Amazon for people to purchase TA Today, which really is a great book.
Adding a link to Kenneth Folk's site at one point.
Adding a link to my essay on the A&P which is already on the Discussion page, but I thought it would be in the wiki linked to in the A&P section, as it fills that out.
Adding a very brief and to-be-finished-when-I-have-time link to a brief comment on Actualism in the Emotional Models section.

Those are the major ones.

There will be more coming,

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/2/12 10:41 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
@EIS: You mean from your narrow reading of MCTB, a book which includes a wide range, and includes that jhanas can be hard or soft, samatha heavy or concentration heavy, and links to numerous outside sources as essential reading material, and those contain a wide range of opinions on jhana themselves.

So, if you wish to conceive of MCTB as being narrow, then please feel free to add what you feel is outside it.

If you realize that MCTB leaves it wide open, then please feel free to work within that, the effect being the same, but the way you personally perceive it will be different, and it is all one to me.


Have you ever attained something that corresponds more closely to what I describe as 2nd / 3rd jhana (i.e. minus the orgasmic overwhelming pleasantness-that's-unpleasant, and the narrowness that you attribute to second, and the out-of-phase quality you attribute to 3rd, while retaining extreme levels of happiness and pleasure [piti / sukha], as appropriate in each, far beyond any typical experience that one might have in life?) We have discussed this before but I don't recall any follow-up concerning it.

If you can attain those things and can attest to their basic similarity with what's described in MCTB, I would be more inclined to take the former view in writing something, and if not, I would continue to be inclined to take the latter view in writing something. As this is directly relevant to how I would contribute to the wiki re: jhana, let me know what you find, as your schedule permits, and we can discuss it then if things are still unclear at that point. (PM me or start a new thread.)

As for what you wrote concerning 8th, I can't say I really relate to it, as it stands.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/2/12 1:02 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, maybe not the best place for this, but I think that making the The DhO Wiki closer to the actual wikipedia in layout would make it much more usable to new-comers. A multi-language support would also enable some of us to work on the translation of the articles right on the web, and make it possible to have a single article translated by more than one individual. A much more dynamic process.

Besides that, I belive some extra features enhacing the profile - like the ones you announced some time ago: past retreat experience, current assesment of insights attained - could give some extra credibility and personality to the articles by different users.

I know that you're probably busy working with the material itself and that all this related to the website could seem unnecessary and downright boring, but let us think of this in the long run. A full blown Meditation Wikipedia - DhO Style.

Bernardo

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/3/12 12:05 AM as a reply to Bernardo V..
When we moved from WetPaint to this platform (Liferay), it was to have a wiki.

We looked at a lot of wiki formats, including MediaWiki, the platform Wikipedia runs on, and the tech crew and I at the time had a lot of discussion about this, and finally we decided to go here for some of its capabilities, such as discussion forum capabilities, communities, and other reasons. I am not saying this was necessarily the right decision, but MediaWiki was considered, and it is obviously a good platform, but we didn't go that way.

What functionality do you wish to have that our Wiki doesn't provide? It is a pretty good wiki, I think, and I have been able to make it whatever I have wanted, which hasn't been elaborate, but has been sufficient, but perhaps there is something you have noticed that you want that it will not do?

Strangely, it has been really hard to get people interested in the wiki. I periodically post something asking people to add stuff and join up, and I usually get no response at all, so that I have gotten two so far has been unusually high turnout, sad as that is. If anyone has any thoughts on what is going wrong, I am interested in those thoughts.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/3/12 4:16 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

Strangely, it has been really hard to get people interested in the wiki. I periodically post something asking people to add stuff and join up, and I usually get no response at all, so that I have gotten two so far has been unusually high turnout, sad as that is. If anyone has any thoughts on what is going wrong, I am interested in those thoughts.

The threshold is too big. Why not make it so that everyone can contribute but admin/mod approval is required before any changes are published?

A team of individuals often manages the web content of a portal where some are allowed to create and edit content, while others must review and approve the content before it can be published to the live site. Liferay includes a full workflow engine (that can also be easily switched with an external 3rd party engine), which can be used to coordinate how content is reviewed and published.

In addition, Liferay allows other types of data to require an approval process. Documents, Wiki posts, blogs, etc. can also be required to go through a workflow. Using Liferay's workflow for other types of documents creates a powerful team collaboration platform.

http://www.liferay.com/products/liferay-portal/features/cms

Also there's a lot unused or outdated pages around the DhO portal, including Liferay features that are enabled but never used, like blogs. It's easy to get the impression that everything outside the messageboard is a read-once-and-forget type of deal, and that includes the wiki. If everyone can edit that also provides users with an incentive to actually use and read the wiki.

There could also be a "Recent posts" equivalent for the wiki as a way to draw attention to it.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/3/12 1:22 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Heya Dan,

Were you were referring to me or SW above? As far as what I could contribute, I'm not sure. I had been using the actualism method pretty strictly, then for a while incorporated vipassana not frequently formally sitting, mostly daily life paying attention in that general way.. and more recently back to pretty strictly just actualism. I think I probably have far more breadth of experience with actualism than any of the Buddhist traditions, but I see the Actual Freedom Trust folks as likely having issue with people publishing about their method. They seem to want to keep a very tight handle on what is said about how to practice in that way, the goals of the practice, and the results of practicing well in accordance with the method (not a criticism, I understand if they want to maintain a certain standard for what they have done). Thoughts/suggestions (on what I wrote here or other stuff you think I could contribute that I might not have thought of)?

Steph

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/3/12 1:30 PM as a reply to Pål S..
Pål S.:
Daniel M. Ingram:

Strangely, it has been really hard to get people interested in the wiki. I periodically post something asking people to add stuff and join up, and I usually get no response at all, so that I have gotten two so far has been unusually high turnout, sad as that is. If anyone has any thoughts on what is going wrong, I am interested in those thoughts.

The threshold is too big.

This is my thought, too, which is why I was suggesting letting it be a free-for-all, at first.

The way I use the DhO, when I type in 'd' in my browser window, it auto-completes to dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/recent_posts, then I hit ENTER, and I'm at the recent posts page. Then, I read those. The rest of the site practically does not exist, for me, and if other people use the site the same way, that might be the issue. It's just not featured prominently enough. I only ever see the wiki if I'm googling to find a specific post and a wiki hit comes up. Not sure what a solution would be... maybe a prominent link towards the top of the forum pages, like "WIKI HERE!"?

Actually, that leads me to not a bad idea for how to expand the book... anytime I look for a particular forum post, assume the post is important, and put the info from that post into a section in the book, even if it's just copy+paste quotes with links to the forum.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
5/9/12 7:35 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End In Sight
Culadasa's 10 stages of concentration is also a useful thing to link to.


John Yates (aka Culadasa) does not have a 10 stages of concentration; he uses Kamalasila's nine stages of meditation and adds his own "Establishing a Practice" (which he defines as developing "discipline and diligence" in the face of "daydreaming", "fatigue", "procrastination", etc), perhaps intending that his "modern English" will be more effective/reductive to a student than the Buddha's Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (establishing mindfulness) or even the five daily recollections (also here with the five recollections isolated)

Edited: the nine stages are attributed to Kamalashila, not Asanga.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/4/12 12:06 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Haven’t thank you yet for your wonderful MCTB!, I’m actually reading it for the third time. A MCTB 2.0 would be of great value, either if its written in community or by you alone. I can offer help in translating it to Spanish. I feel confident enough to work on it even do I have no buddist background, as your writing is really straight forward. There would be some problems with terminology though, I guess it would be better to use both pali and english terms in a spanish version, as english is already the lingua franca, to help readers navigate through the bibliography you recommended.

I don't "consider myself on the high-achiever end of things, with strong practice, solid knowledge of meditation theory, texts, practice" as you asked for, but nevertheless I would also like to offer a short summary of a Taoist model of stages of enlightment presented by Bruce Frantzis in his book “Relaxing into your Being”.

Most of the taoist tradition is about energetic and physical practices. This one is no exception to the rule, but as far as I have searched, it’s the closest approach to buddhism and so interesting to compare. This model was taught by Liu Hung Chieh (circa 1905-1986). He was declared enlightened in Mahayana Buddhism by Tan Hsiu Fa Shr, the head of the Tien Tai School. Latter he learned Taoist Alchemy from different meditation masters of Western China during a 10 year period.

Liu Hung Chieh (LHC) taught about two different approaches in Taoism, the fire method and the water method. The first one is the most widely known, specially in the West, and involves forceful opening of energy channels through neigong (breathing, standing and moving practices). The second one was made public so far by him and his disciples, and involves a gentler “dissolving method”. It covers standing, sitted and lying meditations, with body scans, but instead of just noting and moving on, the focus is on detecting and dissolving any blockage found. In order to dissolve, one has to deepen into the blockage, feel the sensations that conform it and let it dissolve. The transformation is “from ice to water to gas to space”. As far as I can understand, it’s a mix of vipassana and samatha practices, no just the former as there are visualization aids to feel the “granularity” of blockages (the term is mine) and later moving energy through meridian channels. Also, there seems to be a mixed bag of samatha jhanas and vipassana jhanas, related to the energy bodies described below.

LHC identifies eight energy bodies (like a matryoshka doll) with different vibrating frequencies, which also define the stages of progress towards enlightment.

1. physical body
2. chi (etheric) body
3. emotional body
4. mental body
5. psychic energy body
6. causal body
7. body of individuality
8. body of the Tao

The physical body stage is about getting consciousness of it with increasing levels of depth. The chi body vibrates vibrates at a slightly higher frequency, and fuels the physical body. These stages involve breathing methods, moving and standing practices. In my opinion, these stages are related to the first and second vipassana jhana. Besides energy circulation and energy releases, there are some odds experiences I could mention like viewing the outside from the tantien (as it is the primal point of concentration), stepping lightly as if walking on water, and feeling your body enlarge and/or shrink tied to the breath cycle.

The emotional body cover what chinese call “ghosts” or “demons”, negative emotional residues from childhood or later experiences that are dissolved through sitting meditations. I would relate the stage to the third vipassana jhana. Work on the mental body enhances the mind’s ability to discriminate between what taoist call “the real and the false”, the capacity for clear, instantaneus decisions without the laggage of negative emotions. It’s a stage I relate to Equanimity, the fourth vipassana jhana.

Then, at the 5th and 6th stages, there’s a shift towards samatha jhanas. The psychic energy body is about developing the powers and the perception of the spirit world, and seems to whirl around the fouth samatha jhana. The casual body is also related to psychic powers, but involves understanding of “time and space” and thus seems to refer to the fifth samatha jhana, and probably the sixth too.

The body of individuality is where the taoist said that “The Great Stillness” ocurrs, and Frantzis explicitly relates to “enlightment”, that is stream entry. "It’s a stage where the separate energies of the first seven bodies become unified. The energy of the ego first reaches its full potential and then completely dissolves". The body of the Tao cover the the later paths (don’t know if third and fourth only or second too, as taoists see everything as an ongoing process) , towards joining the human consciousness to the whole of the universe. This last stage is where taoist alchemy is introduced, which involves visualization and vibrational sounds practices.

It’s a widespread belief that taoist meditation methods appeal to those inclined towards kinesthetic processing of information (NPL). I would add that there’s a trade-off in this approach: it’s an easy going softer method that probably is easier to integrate with daily activities, but at the expense of shallower insights, (much) lesser concentration skills and with a longer process from day one to stream entry.

Please feel free to copy, modify or simply ignore this text. emoticon

Pablo

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
4/4/12 3:13 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
So, unbeknownst to anyone but me, the wiki was open to editing by any community member for about an hour this early morning, except that the promised workflow feature (which would allow review of changes by trusted moderators before they took effect) doesn't exist in the version of Liferay we use here, which is 5.2.2, and doesn't appear until version 6.x, and so, fearing chaos and possible vandalism and the like, which may have been excessive paranoia, but I realize that just because the DhO is so mercifully free of the stuff that happens on the rest of the net doesn't mean it couldn't happen, and reconstructing the thing would be a long pain in the behind for me, so, I reversed the privs and now it is back to the way it was, for the moment.

However, I have asked Chris Stavros at Omegabit who hosts this place if there is a way to upgrade to 6.0, and I will let you know what he says, and if we can, then there will be the promised workflow review capability, and we can open it up and see what happens.

There is actually a recent wiki page update thing: look at the top to the right of Front Page. I will post a link to recent wiki stuff on the main page. One can also subscribe by RSS, I believe.

As to which stef/ph I was referring to, I didn't actually have a specific one in mind, with a mental transformation of two known Stef/ph's into one in my mind simply to use as an example, not that I think of you two as the same person in any other context, and it was merely to provide familiar names that people could relate to and thus create a sense of welcome in some generic yet semi-specific way, if that makes any convoluted sense. I simply am interested in people who are serious about this stuff who are trusted DhO members being able to share and help expand the place with their wisdom and input, and so this is simply an invitation.

I will eliminate the Blog and incorporate it into the Wiki, as it never really got used for anything, just to cut down on the sense of dead things laying around.

Thanks for the suggestion about how to encourage participation and group-source wisdom here.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/4/12 3:12 AM as a reply to Pablo P.
Paulo P, your wiki entry can be found here

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/4/12 8:25 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
There is actually a recent wiki page update thing: look at the top to the right of Front Page. I will post a link to recent wiki stuff on the main page. One can also subscribe by RSS, I believe.

oh, nice! (Link here).

Simple suggestion: make a "Recent Wiki Updates" tab right next to the "Recent Posts" tab on the forum, that links to that page. That will make it super-easy to click on, and I think anybody who is reading the DhO forum will be far more likely to check it out if it's so easily accessible. I realize a wiki isn't a forum so the link doesn't 'belong' there, but I think it makes sense for the ease-of-access.

Oh and I would recommend keeping a copy of the non-expanded un-editable original wiki version somewhere for reference, if that's not too annoying to do...

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/4/12 7:41 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I am unsure of anything I could contribute to the wiki. Does anyone have any ideas?

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/4/12 8:53 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
BeomanClaudiu
Oh and I would recommend keeping a copy of the non-expanded un-editable original wiki version somewhere for reference, if that's not too annoying to do...

I also think an un-editable, non-expandable original MCTB may be useful.

Daniel: It's up to you, Daniel, since this is/was your work and you may want to see it go composted-and-regrown/new growth. Thanks for what you are doing freely (and even at expense to yourself) to support people's path.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/5/12 9:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I mentioned two in the previous post; more important would be a multi-language support. For instance, on wikipedia and wikitravel you can see all the available langagues for a specific article on a small menu on the leftsife. It doesn't have to be exactly like it, but it would be nice to have something similar in ours. It would enable more people to work on translating the texts and we could also upload the other versions of MCTB.

I also think we can expand several of the articles in the Wiki to offer a more comple account of a subject. In a article on stream-entry, for instance, we could add both the standard doctrine and personal accounts of what it does; personal accounts from those who got it and links to the 'how to get it' texts. In short, we could add texts and links to gather everything we know about a particular subject to it's wikipage.

Cheers.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/16/12 4:03 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I'll just through this out there, but how about a MCTB contraction project? What I mean is; a concise, indexed, specific glossaried version of 124 pages (to pick a number out of the air) that takes into account the type of language you are aiming for with your 'precise terminology' website. Sort of a striped down, pithy version without disclaimers, stories and updated to take into account the instructions those here who have used it found the most useful. Something more 'canonical' in other words. (Though perhaps with a joke or two thrown in and a forward by arj barker -"We were going to do a 45 min sit, but I nailed in 10...)

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/21/12 8:27 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I completely dropped the ball on this thread, I didn't even notice it since I haven't been on for a while. I'll see if there's anything in particular I can think of which might be of use, it's a really good idea and a more community-based expansion project should provide plenty of data points at the very least.

Champion idea!

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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4/21/12 7:45 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I was just thinking about this project, how about some sort of list of "typical" sensations to investigate while in each jhana? I'm just talking about the sorts of sensations you've investigated, maybe you've found them worthy of mention due to their subtlety or the possibility of being overlooked e.g. looking at how elements of space such as dimensionality, or how the volumetric aspects of 4th jhana are fabricated then deconstructing. Structure-wise, I reckon that it'd be easiest and clearest to have them listed as a specific sub-category, perhaps under "Insight" or something, just to keep it all tidy.

Obviously it's a subtle business and clarity of communication is essential, we're all mapping this in our own ways and so we could try to keep a clear line between metaphorical, factual (inc. actual and physical) language and be clear when we're using words in particular ways.

Just throwin' some suggestions...

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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5/7/12 12:29 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
This is a fantastic idea, Thank You Daniel! I will follow this with great interest! For me, MCTB has been much more valuable than all other great Dharma books together. I read it regularly, and I find it very useful to go back again and again to many of the topics. With this new initiative, I think there is a great potential to make it even better. I suggest you put the link to the MCTB Expansion Project on the front page!
Best Regards,
Christianemoticon

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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5/11/12 1:55 AM as a reply to Christian A.
If and when we get the DhO on Liferay 6.1 there will be workflow controls such that we can open the thing up but every change must be approved, then perhaps someone will offer to add something.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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5/11/12 5:29 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I'm working on a few ideas for entries but I want to make sure they're super-accurate and clearly described before submitting anything, plenty of fun in the works...

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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6/9/12 12:05 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi,

A suggestion for the future wiki *:

Wouldn't it be interesting to literally map DhO fellows subjective jhanas experiences in a table, using Daniel's model? In columns the jhanas, and in rows the subjhanas. Each practitioner should click all of the experiences he/she might have experienced. Then the table may be presented with the total clicks for each cell, or if possible, give a coloured distribution, say different percentages of blue and yellow. So, if there's little or none experiences the cell would be full blue, different green tones for some and yellow for many.

Controversy will inevitably arise regarding the location of OBE, lucid dreaming, energy releases, PCEs, pure land territory, siddhis?, etc, but here there are many advanced practitioners with experience in many traditions to fill in the gaps, connect differences, and so on, to write down an agreed help text to fill in the poll.

There's also at least another dimension interesting to graph: intensity of the experience, as that doesn't quadrate exclusively to the meditation skills of the practitioner. That could be shown in another table/graph or even trying a (nerdish) 3D (rotating?) graph.

Wouldn't it be fun? emoticon

I volunteer to do both tables as gifs with my basic Microsoft office tools (or try Mathematica for a 3D graph) and update them daily during the first month and then on a weekly basis. Is there any software tools to do it automatically?

Best,

* asumming that the new forum package would have poll tools.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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6/10/12 1:48 AM as a reply to Pablo P.
I honestly don't know if Liferay 6.x has poll tools, but the idea is a very interesting one.

Update: I have already had one otherwise talented programmer totally fail to be able to update this place to the latest version of Liferay that allows the management of wiki posts such that I can open the thing up but no one can destroy it, as changes will have to be approved by someone trusted, me, a moderator, etc.

So, I have hired another one, this one with an initial cost of about $650, which is ok, as my book made just about that in the last 6 months, so I am nearly break even on the dharma, which is how I like it.

I should know something soon enough about whether or not he will be able to do it and will keep you all updated.

In the meantime, be thinking of sections you wanted to comment on or add to or whatever you though or think would make it better, more complete, more usable, etc.

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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6/16/12 12:29 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I've been rolling a few ideas around my head for a while, but I just thought I'd actually post them and see what comes of it; because it's related to MCTB, the DhO and, if it worked out, a possible future source of income to maintain the DhO, I thought it would be appropriate here. I may post a seperate thread about it so as keep this one for "MCTB Expansion Project"-related discussions if anyone wants to discuss the idea further.

The idea was to create some sort of hardcore/pragmatic practice manual or handbook, the emphasis being on the practices, techniques and methods themselves rather than putting the focus on discussing the Buddhist model as such. It would be a collaborative effort by those interested, kinda like The Hamilton Project is with Nick, Owen and Clayton, but with articles submitted for peer review by the others and then discussed further. Eventually we'd have a collection of concise, practical articles on specific techniques and methods which could be published online or in hard-copy, with the proceeds going towards the upkeep of the DhO.

Obviously it would be useful to have further references, footnotes and quotations, as well as explanatory introductions, but I'm talking about keeping the theoretical side to a bare minimum. This, in my opinion, would open up the application of these practices in a non-dogmatic, flexible way which may be more appealing to those skeptical of "spiritual" models. Keeping things phenomenological and finding a mutually understandable way to describe the ins and out of these practices - looking at using the most precise and accurate language to describe things - would make a lot of this stuff far easier to understand and apply correctly. I know it sounds like a complicated thing to go about doing, but I think there's enough collective wisdom on this site from a broad enough range of practitioners, from a broad variety of background and circumstances, who could offer some very useful advice to those interested.

It would be published as a collective group, although all contributors would be credited for their work of course, with, as I've said, the proceeds going towards the upkeep of the site. I know Dan's cool about paying to maintain it, and it's still his site after all, but, personally, I'd like to find a way for those of us who've gained so much through this site, and MCTB, to do something to allow Dan to free up at least some of his income from the book. The guy is (at least partly...lol) responsible for most of us even ending up on this trip, to some extent at least, and for introducing many of us to each other, and to teachers like Kenneth. I don't want to come off as an ass-kisser or an 'Ingramite' (hahaha), but it'd be nice to be able to give something back to the community that brought many of us together and, since most of us probably aren't in a position to contribute financially, this seems like a realistic way to go about it.

Thoughts?

Clearly it's all just an idea right now, but does anyone else think it'd be worth trying to organize something like this?

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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6/17/12 3:13 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Your thoughts are all good ones and appreciated.

I very much like the idea of a more formal collaboration to create a collective project of practical dharma essays and techniques and the like.

What should we call it?

Shortly the wiki will be open and we can begin, if this project goes well.

The second programmer has had some success, but I am still not exactly sure how much, and the cost so far is actually about $1000, which I am still ok with, but not sure how much it will cost beyond that.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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6/18/12 8:22 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Your thoughts are all good ones and appreciated.

I very much like the idea of a more formal collaboration to create a collective project of practical dharma essays and techniques and the like.

Excellent!

What should we call it?

I hadn't got that far yet, how about "A Molotov Cocktail for the Soul"? emoticon

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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8/3/12 2:28 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

MCTB is already here in the wiki, and I was thinking of making this wiki version have lots of people's comments and additions and notes and takes on the basic material, text references, individual experiences, critiques, enhancements, expansions, etc.


On romannette vii:

I have also included a modicum of social commentary, some of which has a definite bite to it. Some of you may not find it helpful, or even find it quite distasteful and offensive. Some of you will quickly dismiss it as harsh or wrong speech. I am torn between the feeling that there really are some important points in those sections and the understanding that not everyone will be able to make good use of information and opinions presented in such strong terms. Thus, I ask you to please skip over those chapters and get to the friendlier or more technical sections beyond them if you don’t find them helpful. To facilitate doing so, I have included a star (asterisk) in the titles of those chapters that contain potentially inflammatory material so that they may be treated appropriately.

For myself, I'd ask for scrutiny on harsh speech and its justification. It is your book, but I think so far any idea I wanted to communicate would easily have been more effective without harsh speech.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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8/15/12 1:52 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
This from a guy I met at BG 12 in Boulder:

"Great meeting you at buddhist geeks conference!

Thought I'd outline some ideas on how to help other people contribute
their expertise, since you mentioned interest in that.

A. Identify specific people and match them to specific topics or even
book passages. Send simple message inviting their contribution on said
topic, or into a dialog of what you would be excited to see. I would
think the response would be much better than to a generalized
call-to-action on a forum.

B. Get a "research assistant" or two, their job would be to manage the
contribution process. Some possible task areas include identifying
people and topics, curating old forum posts that could be edited or
rewritten into a contribution, dealing with contacting and
recontacting people etc.You might find these people by asking the
pragmatic meditation teachers if they have any students that would be
a good fit. Or a hardcore forum user with middle of the road views.

C. It could be good for the book to invite other opinions on the
*starred chapters. It can help balance out the story. Also I've come
to the conclusion that despite the shortcomings, the boomers did
accomplish something, so it would be cool to get a non-defensive take
on what was impressive and important from that era.

Could be interesting and good for the community. Its also an
opportunity for people to "come out of the pragmatic closet" and
subtly endorse the view of frank talk about spiritual practice while
laying out their ode to boomerism.

----

A consideration is that this sort of process would lead content that
would be considered "canonical". It gets edited and assembled once,
and is really the topic as experienced through your lens.

I gather you would rather have a open, wiki approach, that is
continously edited etc. I think the problem there is find the software
that supports this process. This might not exist yet, or be fluid
enough to get adoption.

IMHO revising the book in a sort of editorial process is most likely
to get a result, and without having to invent a new medium. If you
want to do something novel, it would be helpful to identity successful
projects that have done user-annotated books or other related
concepts.

Good luck!
Kovas"

I think his ideas have merit, so I thought I would post them to see what people think.

Lee Moore, one of the early DhO tech support people and participants, is taking on the Liferay 6.1 migration, so hopefully this will work and the wiki will be more open and people will participate more. Many thinks to him.

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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8/15/12 9:05 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hit me up if there's anything I can do, Dan. Some really nice ideas in there!

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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8/15/12 4:45 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M: will do. Thanks!

I will let you know!

However, in the meantime, if you wish to write any additions to MCTB, go for it!

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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8/16/12 1:47 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Dan,

Seconding what Tommy said. Tommy and I have already talked about working on something for this project. If there's anything specific you need, totally happy to help with that. Or if nothing particular springs to mind at the moment, I'm sure we can still come up with something that's useful.

Steph

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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8/17/12 5:56 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
However, in the meantime, if you wish to write any additions to MCTB, go for it!

I'm going to re-read the whole book again and see if there's anything specific I could add to in any way, bearing in mind that it's your book that got me involved in this whole shebang and so this is like contributing to the Bible of Hardcore Dharma for me! Ha!

Steph and I have also spoken about the handbook idea I mentioned before, and we could almost certainly organize some way to collate contributions and prepare them for peer-review by those interested in helping out. I need to post a thread about that actually as I never followed through with the idea other than writing a few bits and pieces myself, but I'll make the wiki/MCTB project a priority and try to get something done shortly.

I'll drop you an email anyway and see what else you've got in mind for contributions.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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8/24/12 12:52 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Both Tommy and Steph are now wiki authors. Have fun!

Just be sure to mark your contributions somehow.

Daniel

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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9/29/12 10:01 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I was wondering if those of you who consider yourself on the high-achiever end of things, with strong practice, solid knowledge of meditation theory, texts, practice, etc...


Daniel, I am the opposite of the above, but a word of input anyway. Would it be possible, in a new revision, to have at least one section that lays out clearly the specific steps a newbie should take to get started. I think it was Tommy who at one point referred to MCTB as a "cluster bomb" and I agree. But the effect is to leave the new reader -- especially those for whom MCTB may be not just their first encounter of the MCTB view of Buddhism, but their first encounter of Buddhism *at all* -- shell shocked.

In MCTB, you appear to have distilled and concentrated in one place what are, well you say it yourself, the "core" teachings. Would it be possible to do a further distillation and create a section or two (e.g maybe one for samatha and one for vipassana, although perhaps making that a distinction is unwise -- shrug) called "The Core Teachings of MCTB". I'd just like some help to get over the post-reading-MCTB feeling of "Excellent, inspiring, superb. But ... so ... hmm ... now what *precisely* should I do *today*"

thx.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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9/29/12 10:14 AM as a reply to Robert McLune.
Robert McLune:
Would it be possible to do a further distillation and create a section or two (e.g maybe one for samatha and one for vipassana, although perhaps making that a distinction is unwise -- shrug) called "The Core Teachings of MCTB". I'd just like some help to get over the post-reading-MCTB feeling of "Excellent, inspiring, superb. But ... so ... hmm ... now what *precisely* should I do *today*"

I just noticed that Tommy wrote:

Tommy M:
The idea was to create some sort of hardcore/pragmatic practice manual or handbook, the emphasis being on the practices, techniques and methods themselves ...

Absolutely, especially if there was some attention paid to the shell shocked newbie.

I could draw an analogy with a field in which I *am* experienced -- programming. As with meditation there is some merit in simply saying, "If you want to be a programmer, start writing code." But in reality there's more to it than that. It is possible to make good and less good choices as to which programming language to start with. Choose C over BASIC. Choose Perl over C. Choose Python over Perl (for learning purposes -- I'm not trying to provoke a Python/Perl war :-). Similarly, there is some deep canonical knowledge -- e.g. in data structures and algorithms -- without which one can still code but without which one can never become great. So it's possible to construct, for the newbie, a more or less basic "recipe". First do this; then do that. Only once they're off the ground is it sensible to say "Well, you could try databases, or gaming, or maybe you fancy embedded systems..." and so on.

In fact MCTB already does provide some of that initial guidance, but the reader has to be on their toes to get it, and it's probably true to say that they'll only get it if they're also reading elsewhere. It doesn't sound like it would be difficult to remedy that, perhaps with the approach Tommy is suggesting.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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9/30/12 10:46 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
Great points.

Added to the list of things to put in the new version.

I am currently dealing with heavy life complexity: getting my house(s) ready to sell, that sort of thing, but it will happen soon enough, hopefully, in the midst of the chaos.

D

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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10/7/12 7:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Finishing up my second read, many thanks (SE last spring).

Hmm. Seem to be saying what's already been pointed to, but maybe this can flesh it out a bit more.

My comments are primarily about descriptions of nanas and jhanas. In many cases you have a level of mastery and detail that are far enough above my current abilities that it makes it kind of hard to identify some easier handles that I need for things as a beginner. Kind of hard at times to separate the wheat from the chaff, not that it's not all good. I guess my recommendation would be for some simpler handles or beginner versions maybe separated out at the beginning of descriptions. And maybe you've done that to some extent and I missed it. The detail is good, ultimately we need this level of detail.

My level is like, are there lights or not? Is there pulsing or not? Is it open and calm? About like that emoticon

Similarly, by the very nature of you as an individual writing this and your um, speed and intensity, there is a specificity in the writing and again that's okay but I'm thinking of some kind of way to generalize some stuff a bit. Which again, I'm sure you've done that to a degree having talked to tons of yogis. Currently I am aware of a couple of audio/video sources of some runs thru the jhanas and nanas, Kenneth's with Nick I think, and there was a Hamilton project audio that went thru all the nanas. Maybe we could transcribe those and provide some additional fodder for the MCTB. I could also imagine a new crop of yogis running thru those again and making some new recordings. Like training a neural network (had to geek it up a bit), we want it to generalize to new yogis rather than overfit to the training set.

Oh, and Pure Land Jhanas.

And Review phases A and B

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
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10/19/12 11:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel

A couple of years ago you started this thread. It's a discussion of your then PCE practice in which you mention two "Daniels", "Cycle Daniel" and "PCE Daniel".

The whole thread is worth a read but the following is one of the strongest statements that you make: "Cycle Daniel is having a harder and harder time coming up with anything good to say to the PCE that holds any weight at all with the Dual Daniels. In fact, were Cycle Daniel and the jhanas and ñanas and cycles and all that never to arise again, so much the better. This is quite a claim from someone who has spent so much time cultivating and mastering those things, and even writing it I find it somewhat surprising, but this is my current opinion as I write this, perhaps subject to change at a later time."

Is this still your experience? If not, can you talk about what has changed since then in terms of your practice and its results? If it is, in the updated MCTB are you proposing to drop the teachings leading to the dark night cycles, since these teachings would now appear to be superfluous, and substitute with teachings leading to the PCE?

Whether or not you do the above, would you also consider amending the book's title? With its current content it is really something more like "Mastering the Core Teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw and Buddhagosa". The Progress of Insight map, as far as I can make out from the suttas, appears not to have been taught by the Buddha at all. It's been discussed several times, I think uncontroversially, on the DhO that "MCTB paths" and "sutta paths" as taught by the Buddha in terms of the ten fetters are not the same. The Buddha's meditation instructions were certainly different from those in MCTB.

If the content changes to be more focussed on the PCE and actualism practice, then a change of title would probably be even more appropriate.

Regards

Tamanan

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
10/19/12 7:40 PM as a reply to Tamanan Suebwonglee.
Or maybe less appropriate depending on what you think is closer to the suttic teachings.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
10/19/12 9:38 PM as a reply to Tamanan Suebwonglee.
Tamanan Suebwonglee:
Hi Daniel
... you mention two "Daniels", "Cycle Daniel" and "PCE Daniel".
"Cycle Daniel is having a harder and harder time coming up with anything good to say to the PCE that holds any weight at all with the Dual Daniels. In fact, were Cycle Daniel and the jhanas and ñanas and cycles and all that never to arise again, so much the better. ...

The word "Daniel" has just lost all meaning :-)

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
10/20/12 8:29 AM as a reply to Tamanan Suebwonglee.
Tamanan Suebwonglee:
Whether or not you do the above, would you also consider amending the book's title? With its current content it is really something more like "Mastering the Core Teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw and Buddhagosa". The Progress of Insight map, as far as I can make out from the suttas, appears not to have been taught by the Buddha at all. It's been discussed several times, I think uncontroversially, on the DhO that "MCTB paths" and "sutta paths" as taught by the Buddha in terms of the ten fetters are not the same. The Buddha's meditation instructions were certainly different from those in MCTB.


Related to this, one major change I hope will be made is to insert a big "caveat emptor" disclaimer, or something like that: to emphasize the fact that the book is written by Dan Ingram, speaking from Dan Ingram's point of view, based on Dan Ingram's experience, and not as a disembodied voice pronouncing the truth, or anything else. I think some people have read MCTB and come away with the viewpoint that MCTB is a pretty orthodox take on the "core" of Buddhism, or MCTB covers (in broad strokes) pretty much all there is to cover concerning meditation and progress in meditation. In the first case, they'd be wrong (it is heretodox, whether or not it's accurate), and in the second case, to the extent that they believe that, they've inclined themselves not to think critically about the book, meditation, etc.

I think MCTB has this power over some readers to a greater extent than normal books do, because MCTB attempts to be systematic, comprehensive, and exceedingly precise, whereas many popular books concerning Buddhism and meditation are not; these qualities hold a special power over certain kinds of people (stereotypically: scientists / engineeers / "rationalists"), especially when they've been deprived of them elsewhere, and so can be blinding (like walking through a dark corridor and suddenly finding oneself outside at midday), which is surely a detrimental thing.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
11/21/12 11:31 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Related to this, one major change I hope will be made is to insert a big "caveat emptor" disclaimer, or something like that: to emphasize the fact that the book is written by Dan Ingram, speaking from Dan Ingram's point of view, based on Dan Ingram's experience, and not as a disembodied voice pronouncing the truth, or anything else.

I can't say I agree that's needed, simply because it's already there. Daniel already goes pretty far to express that caveat, even to the extent of pointing out certain chapters that the reader may simply want to avoid.

However, in a similar vein -- and it may also achieve your real objective (which is, if it's what I think it is, a good objective) -- what I personally *would* have found useful would have been, more specific pointers back to the primary Buddhist literature. Through reading MCTB I have actually been motivated to go back and read the older stuff; Mahasi Sayadaw initially, but then back to Visuddhimagga, Vimuttimagga, and beyond. But it took me a while to understand that those were significant, and once I've had a look at those, I'll probably still want some guidance at the best way to use my limited layperson's reading time. So since MCTB is trying to explain what Daniel felt was "core", and I sense he's fairly well read in this area (he makes lots of *general* references to older literature), it might be nice to get some more specific pointers.

That said, I know that bulking up with citations, notes and footnotes can turn a readable work like MCTB into a more dry, less readable, academic thing. So it may be he took the "other literature" thing as far as a general, non-academic audience would tolerate.

I think MCTB has this power over some readers to a greater extent than normal books do, because MCTB attempts to be systematic, comprehensive, and exceedingly precise, whereas many popular books concerning Buddhism and meditation are not; these qualities hold a special power over certain kinds of people (stereotypically: scientists / engineeers / "rationalists"), especially when they've been deprived of them elsewhere, and so can be blinding (like walking through a dark corridor and suddenly finding oneself outside at midday), which is surely a detrimental thing.

Well I'm right in the sweetspot of your stereotype, and I'm as skeptical as f*ck about all of this stuff! *Too* skeptical, some on here would argue. So I don't see there being an unusually high risk to "my people". emoticon

But even in general, while I absolutely share your concern (based on past evangelical christian experiences where my skeptical-as-f*ck (SAF) circuits had obviously powered down) about the impact a certain kind of "spiritual certainty" can have on some people, I don't think that impact is lessened by the author saying things to the effect of "This is just my opinion so please ensure you engage your SAF circuits when reading". The simple problem is that to take such warnings into account requires the reader to already have their SAF circuits operational. If they're not, then we humans appear to have a well nigh Olympic champion level of ability in believing anything, even if it is believing that the person who has just said, "I am not god; don't take everything I say as true" *is* god and that everything they say is true (simultaneously making and not making an exception for that very statement -- "Goedel, Escher, Bach" eat your heart out.)

P.S. In terms of power over others, I'd venture that a primary danger there is not MCTB but the DhO. In the few posts I've seen from Daniel himself, he has been very measured in what he says, to the extent I'd suspect he had scientific (a.k.a. skeptical-as-f*ck) training. Oh wait; he's an MD. He has! His recent Buddhist Geeks conference talk comparing our modern explorations of Buddhism with the only-slightly-less-modern explorations of the natural world by the myriad of moth collectors, plant categorizers, and fossil diggers, was just excellent. And the fact that he appears to hang out with the Highly Cool Willoughby Britton just adds more to his skeptical-as-f*ck credentials. But, as many Christians are to Christ, and many Buddhists are to The Buddha, so many readers of MCTB seem to be to its author.

P.P.S. Favorite Dr Willoughby moment is where she tries to pin Daniel down to giving some kind of quantitative statistical distribution concerning timescales and impact of "dark night": https://vimeo.com/28182458#t=50m50s But she seemed to have failed to understand that when he's talking, Daniel only stops for breathe twice an hour, so I don't think she ever got the numbers she was after emoticon

P.P.P.S. While I'm clearly on some kind of coffee induced rant-fest, I'll end by noting the similarities between these two, and pose the intriguing question that Friends may have some deep connection with MCTB and our very own Dr. Dan:

https://vimeo.com/28182458#t=51m18s (first nine seconds)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3ITjqLSAZY

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
10/20/12 12:54 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
Robert McLune:
End in Sight:
Related to this, one major change I hope will be made is to insert a big "caveat emptor" disclaimer, or something like that: to emphasize the fact that the book is written by Dan Ingram, speaking from Dan Ingram's point of view, based on Dan Ingram's experience, and not as a disembodied voice pronouncing the truth, or anything else.

I can't say I agree that's needed, simply because it's already there. Daniel already goes pretty far to express that caveat, even to the extent of pointing out certain chapters that the reader may simply want to avoid.


One example of a thing that would benefit from a disclaimer, in my opinion, is:

MCTB, Concentration vs. Insight:
One of the factors that actually adds to the confusion is that the concentration state terminology (jhanas) is used in the original texts to describe both the progressively more sophisticated concentration states and also the progress of insight, with little delineation of which is which. This was solved to some degree a few hundred years later when the stages of the progress of insight were articulated in the canonical commentaries, but the original problem was not mentioned. It was only in the second half of the Twentieth Century that the problem was sorted out to some degree by the Burmese, and I will delineate the vipassana jhanas later.


This is all quite controversial, but it's stated as if there is no controversy at all (as if there were some definitive scholarly source that could be cited which would support this position).

This is the closest to a disclaimer that I can recall:

MCTB, Foreword and Warning:

This book is for those who really want to master the core teachings of the Buddha and who are willing to put in the time and effort required. It is also for those who are tired of having to decipher the code of modern and ancient dharma books, as it is designed to be honest, explicit, straightforward and rigorously technical. (...)

Like my own practice, this book is heavily influenced by the teachings of the late, great Mahasi Sayadaw, a Burmese meditation master and scholar in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, and by those in his lineage and outside it. There are numerous references to other excellent traditions as well, some Buddhist and some not. It is my sincere wish that all diligent students of meditation find something in this book that is of practical value to them.


The first paragraph makes it seem like MCTB is revealing The Way, whereas the second paragraph is down-to-earth. I'd say more of the latter and less of the former would be great.

However, in a similar vein -- and it may also achieve your real objective (which is, if it's what I think it is, a good objective) -- what I personally *would* have found useful would have been, more specific pointers back to the primary Buddhist literature. Through reading MCTB I have actually been motivated to go back and read the older stuff; Mahasi Sayadaw initially, but then back to Visuddhimagga, Vimuttimagga, and beyond.


I hope you'll read them without filtering them through the models that MCTB uses. (This is my point: it's easier to do this if MCTB flags the fact that it's one person's opinion, rather than an accurate representation of any particular sect or school of Buddhism. Models of new subjects, when first formed, tend to be recalcitrant to change, especially when they're detailed and comprehensive.) And this is independent of whether they are all actually are describing the same stuff or not.

I think MCTB has this power over some readers to a greater extent than normal books do, because MCTB attempts to be systematic, comprehensive, and exceedingly precise, whereas many popular books concerning Buddhism and meditation are not; these qualities hold a special power over certain kinds of people (stereotypically: scientists / engineeers / "rationalists"), especially when they've been deprived of them elsewhere, and so can be blinding (like walking through a dark corridor and suddenly finding oneself outside at midday), which is surely a detrimental thing.


Well I'm right in the sweetspot of your stereotype, and I'm as skeptical as f*ck about all of this stuff! *Too* skeptical, some on here would argue. So I don't see there being an unusually high risk to "my people". emoticon


For clarity, maybe I should add "geeks" to the stereotype. I didn't mean for the stereotype to center around the ability to be skeptical, but rather, around a fascination with ideas, reasoning, models, descriptions, complexity, practical instructions, etc. But there are a lot of people interested in this who aren't especially skeptical in general. And there are a lot of people not interested in these things who are.

Sometimes people swing by the DhO and post something like "I'm a beginner, I want to practice concentration, but I know I shouldn't get lost in the illusion of solidity, so how do I know when to switch to insight?" (I tend to assume they got enthusiastic about meditation only because MCTB presents meditation in a way amenable to "geeks", which is why they're beginners: they hadn't found another tradition or book that explained it in a way that suited them.)They want help with their meditation problem, but their meditation problem is theoretical; apparently, they adopted MCTB's viewpoint concerning these things and are worried about issues that exist within that model. And yet, if they're beginners, all they have to go on is faith and confidence in what MCTB says...faith and confidence that the theoretical problem will be mirrored in their own experience, once they meditate for awhile.

(Not that it's a problem that they have faith and confidence in MCTB; the problem arises when they don't realize that they're operating on assumptions, and start trying to understand everything about meditation by filtering it through MCTB, or fail to consider other models that might suit their particular experience better in the future, or fail to try other modes of practice that don't make sense in the MCTB model (or use them according to how they would have to work if the MCTB model were true, which may not be the same as how they're intended to be used...).)

As a confession, I spent a whole lot of time not practicing after I had a serious MCTB-styled practice going, because I figured there was nothing good that I would be able to obtain through further meditation. It took me a while to stop reading everything through the MCTB filter, and to reconsider whether I was simply being foolish and rash. It's not Dan's fault that I was wearing these strange blinders, of course; I'm the only one to blame. But I might not have had this problem, or had it to the same degree, if MCTB had some changes that interacted with my fascination with models and etc. in a better way.

RE: MCTB Expansion Project
Answer
11/12/12 5:01 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
Another noob offering. I've just started a thread on what seems to be a perennial question of "But why get into this stuff anyway?" I merely reiterate the question here. I point out on that thread that there seems to be only two forms of answer to the question, "But what does following this Buddhism stuff all the way to Arahant-ship actually do for you?"

One could be called the "traditional" form. It is expressed in many different ways, but all amount to something like:

"The ending of all suffering, bliss beyond bliss, nirvana, major cosmic ticker tape parade, game over but in a *really* good way, better than the best cheesecake ever!!!!!!!!"

The other is the MCTB, DhO-style, hard-core, practical form, and is, in so many words:

"Well it's not freedom from anger. And no, it's not freedom from lust. Also, no, it's not freedom from pain, or from negative emotions. And in fact it might mean you're still an eejit, and a bit of boorish menace. But, errmmm, it's awesome. Oh yeah, it's really really awesome. And glorious too. High amounts of gloriousness. ... Yep. ... Pretty, pretty good. "
It would be great if MCTBv2 could try to address this emoticon