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Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/19/12 11:06 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Fitter Stoke 8/19/12 9:21 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/19/12 3:59 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Jon T 8/19/12 5:38 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/19/12 7:31 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/19/12 9:46 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log This Good Self 8/20/12 12:14 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/20/12 12:24 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Nikolai . 8/20/12 12:44 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Nikolai . 8/20/12 12:32 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/19/12 9:33 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/19/12 10:38 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/19/12 11:23 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Fitter Stoke 8/20/12 8:32 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log N A 8/20/12 9:00 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/20/12 9:26 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Steph S 8/20/12 11:38 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Russell . 8/20/12 12:52 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Fitter Stoke 8/20/12 1:20 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log pamojja 11/27/16 7:08 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Some Guy 8/19/12 9:38 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Nikolai . 8/19/12 10:08 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/19/12 11:04 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Nikolai . 8/19/12 11:42 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/19/12 10:54 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Richard Zen 8/20/12 12:33 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/20/12 12:47 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Fitter Stoke 8/20/12 8:24 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log This Good Self 8/20/12 10:24 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Some Guy 8/21/12 8:44 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log N A 8/22/12 10:36 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/28/12 3:01 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log N A 8/28/12 10:47 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Tommy M 8/28/12 5:33 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log N A 8/28/12 11:58 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Tommy M 8/28/12 4:39 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log N A 8/28/12 4:54 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log J Adam G 8/30/12 10:40 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Yadid dee 8/20/12 7:04 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Adam . . 8/21/12 12:15 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Robot Foo 8/30/12 5:36 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 8/31/12 2:40 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Richard Zen 8/31/12 8:47 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 10/12/16 1:35 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log shargrol 10/12/16 6:05 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 10/17/16 3:47 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log This Good Self 10/17/16 7:02 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Noah D 10/12/16 10:26 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log T DC 10/12/16 12:46 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Peter S 10/15/16 11:57 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Ben V. 10/16/16 6:58 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Jeremy Kranz 10/16/16 8:25 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Andrew K 10/19/16 7:44 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Caro 10/19/16 10:35 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 11/10/16 2:29 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log T DC 11/10/16 4:16 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 11/11/16 1:32 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 11/26/16 11:28 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log shargrol 11/27/16 8:05 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log shargrol 11/27/16 10:13 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log shargrol 11/18/16 11:53 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Myles Davidson 12/3/16 4:21 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Jeremy Kranz 12/11/16 9:07 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Daniel M. Ingram 12/13/16 9:01 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log bernd the broter 12/14/16 8:37 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Laurel Carrington 12/14/16 5:39 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log svmonk 12/15/16 10:26 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Sleeping Buddha Syndrome 2/12/14 2:20 PM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Stick Man 11/11/16 11:25 AM
RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log Rob Stitt 11/18/16 9:53 AM
Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 11:06 PM
Hey, this is something I have meant to do for a long time, but here is a little something about what is up with me these days, in no particular order.

Had a great time at BG12, had fun speaking and meeting lots of cool people. Wow! What a great bunch of brains and hearts trying to do good things in their own minds and in the world. It was great to finally meet some of the original DhO'ers in person, such as Chris Marti and Tom Otvos, and to reconnect with Vince Horn, Hokai Sobol, Kenneth Folk, and the like. I think more gatherings about this stuff where people just hang out and talk is a very good idea and I will try to come up with something when I am not buried in work. BG made me notice how getting a lot of attention for something like a book or giving a talk can rapidly get out of hand in strange ways, projections, the politics of managing ones social attentions, and the like that make things very complicated. While it was a lot of fun in some ways, and coming back to Alabama where I am just some guy who takes care of patients was a real comedown in some ways, it was also really relieving, as then all of that drama, however good most of the time, was over. That said, there was a level of really high mental stimulation there that provoked lots of new and useful combinations of ideas, and I miss that in this green and quiet paradise I call home.

MCTB seems out of date to me, and a few parts annoy me, and I think I should add and reorganize a lot of it, so I work on that in my spare time, which is little. I hope there will also be a version where people contribute their take on things, as some are offering to do. Scrivener is a cool program for working on large projects like this: for those thinking of taking something like this on.

Speaking of authors, just got done teaching a guy named Jeff Warren on a month retreat. Teaching always makes me realize that what I say and what I have written down are not always quite the same, and so that leads to further inspiration to revise MCTB.

Also, at BG I got inspired by some tech-people who are also very interesting practitioners to use visual software to try to map out the processes and some mind maps about the stages of insight, so got yED and started doing that: it is a lot of fun, and has helped me sort out how I internally think about these things (which is really complex) and how that sometimes contrasts with the summary statements I make when talking about them. I will post links when I come up with some...

I am working a ton, we are short staffed at work, so there has been little time for many, many things, such as and including participating much here in the last 1-2 months.

Despite working a lot, on July 24th there was an odd event that changed things, and I am still sorting out how it performance tests in the real world and changes with time, but the obvious points are:

There was a resynchronizing of something, such that, if you imagine a watch with the second hand just one gear-tooth out of sync, such that at, say, the stroke of midnight the second hand was one second behind, and then suddenly the teeth synced up properly, such that suddenly everything was time aligned properly for the first time, that is what this feels like, such that time pressure is significantly less if there at all (again, we'll see how this holds up over time as the months go on and things morph as they do). This has had numerous subtle and not so subtle motivation implications as well as increased a general sense of satisfaction and sense of wellbeing, and my mouth ulcers which I have had nearly daily for years have been gone now since that time, which has happened at times in the past and may not be related, but is worth mentioning, and continues to make me wonder about immune mechanisms and attentional things. I have noticed before that a retreat of over a week or so would give me at least 1-2 months aphthous ulcer free in the past...

This resynchronizing followed very logically from the veil-vanishing thing that put everything in PCE-like perception mode apparently permanently on Jan 18th, which also could be said to have been the vanishing of anything attentional of any kind, really, which eliminated some sort of distortion that I didn't even know was there. Both resulted from just paying an outrageous amount of attention to everything in the spacial field as it occurred.

I got a new wand from Acme Wand Supply through an art gallery in Boulder, CO while at BG 12: carved ebony handle with black glass base, thin snakewood shaft, copper fittings, black bullet/copper tip, very well-balanced, clearly quite focused and quick, like the wand you would want to have if you wanted to send a very narrow beam of dark something precisely to a target even over a great distance. The most interesting thing about having this particular wand is how much it just calls out, "Shoot that black beam!" and how this causes me to really think about what that would do and where that drive comes from and what it would mean to do it, which is very good practice at this point, I think, and provocative and exploratory of the uses of power, which is always a good idea.

I got an email from a woman who described having relatively well-developed and natural psychic abilities, which lead to a series of dreams in which they were all about competition and power issues related to the powers (very brief example: me and a woman arm wrestling at a distance of about 6 feet apart with our arms psychically linked but not touching, and her once making her arm go all floppy such that the bone was rubber so that there was no way the arm wrestling could take place, and the other time her using her other arm to aid the first arm, resulting in twice the strength, that sort of thing, which sounds boring, but seemed to have profound implications at the time), which has also caused me to wonder what that is about, and how much of things related to the power being about power and competition universal (as things related to powers have caused those sorts of things for as long as there have been those), and how much of that is specific to me and why. No firm conclusions, just a general inquiry ongoing.

Anyway, that is all for the moment. I hope something in this useful to someone. It was useful to me to just get it down.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 9:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Which parts of MCTB seem out-of-date/annoy you the most?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 3:59 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
The most annoying thing for me is that many practice points that I wish to keep in the first part actually would benefit from things in the third part, and vice versa, such that I can't figure out the optimal order of things, as simple pragmatic points often would seem to be better placed much later, but then I worry they will be lost in the complexity of those later sections.

There are a number of things in the Models of the Stages of Enlightenment chapter that I will revise based on things similar to those I have posted here.

More interesting to me is what others have found annoying about it and wished to see clarified or revised, as if you have suggestions, now is the time.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 5:38 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
hi,

what do you do for your aphthous ulcer. I take an over the counter topical but my condition isn't chronic...maybe a reoccurrence every 6 weeks.

Why no apperceptive awareness of the pristine purity of this moment yet? is it pride that's getting in the way? that would be my guess from my own projections... a person with his life completely together and an impressive reputation to boot would feel a lot of pride. just one partial and uneducated guess. Or maybe it's your busy schedule...a Self may be felt necessary in order to keep it all together.

jon

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 7:31 PM as a reply to Jon T.
Hey: aphthous ulcers: I tend to avoid acidic foods, such as pineapple and tomatoes, but when they occur I do nothing, as if I did, I would be doing it a lot, as they have generally occurred often. I have used betamethasone ointment in the far past to good effect, and would recommend it for the occasional one, but to be on a steroid such as that long-term, as there is some systemic absorption, is not that appealing if I can help it, and I can, so I don't. I find teas with tannins helpful, such as peppermint and licorice tea. Just simply running relatively hot water (but not hot enough to burn) on them is actually simple and relatively effective.

As to pristine purity and pride and the like, I have learned to be extremely careful with words like "pristine" and to assume that there is no "pride" would be a truly dangerous act. As I said, these things are worth observing over periods of time long enough such that however impressive they are (and this one is truly impressive at the moment), most in time reveal some subtle or gross something that initially wasn't obvious, as has been stated even by some who have thrown around terms like Actual Freedom to describe their practice. I find these things are best tested out on a retreat, but just finding a free day to work on revising MCTB and to contribute a bit here has been tricky, so no retreat forthcoming.

As to my life completely together, that is a truly high complement, I think, but, however nice the sentiment, it wouldn't seem so from this side: just ask my wife, for a start. As to reputation, it also varies depending on the person you are talking with, and beyond a small amount of temporary fame in a very small, obscure end of the dharma world, there goes a small but I think slightly larger amount of infamy in a similarly small, obscure corner of the dharma world just next to it, but the sentiment again is a kind one, and I wish that my life met with your ideals, as they are nice ones.

As to a "self" to keep things together, I don't recommend it, as that is the sort of thing that the distortions of perception that lead to the transient sensations that are commonly misperceived as being a self will come up with, but it is total fantasy and not true at all.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 9:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hmmmm... that was interesting, CCC. What's on your mind?

Don't like the wand? Shouldn't have shared about the wand? A bit too much disclosure of my thoughts at the moment? Don't like the picture? I a missing something here.

Too much for me to be a bit open on my own forum? I very rarely say much about my practice to anyone, have barely posted in the last month or two, and then I do and get something that hopefully is humerus but feels a bit toxic, and if I need to create a more specialized environment where honesty is met with something a bit more empathic, that is easy.

Got anything in the spirit of mutually supportive adventurers sharing their journeys together and helping each other?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 9:33 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Dan,

Daniel M. Ingram:
As I said, these things are worth observing over periods of time long enough such that however impressive they are (and this one is truly impressive at the moment) [...]


Could you go a bit more into what makes this one truly impressive? You've given a few details but not too many. I'm curious to hear more about your current experience. Some particular questions to prompt you but feel free to add more or decline to comment:

1) What were you looking for pre-July 24th, if anything in particular? Like were you looking to have anything in particular happen or just seeing where experience goes or trying to pay as much attention to everything as possible or...? Any particular focus, I mean?
2) Are you enjoying life in general?
3) Does anything in your experience match the description of "a manifest life-force; a genuinely occurring stream of benevolence and benignity that originates in the perfect and vast stillness that is the essential character of the infinitude of the universe." (link)?
4) Care to comment at all as to the status of the universe being: infinite or finite or it doesn't matter; eternal or with beginning and end or it doesn't matter; things inherently existing or not inherently existing or it doesn't matter?
5) What happens if you try to meditate nowadays? Can you still get regular jhanas, arupa jhanas, pure-land jhanas, psychic powersy type stuff, etc?

Cheers,
- Claudiu

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 9:38 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Interesting update, and inspiring for practice down here in the shallow end. I had a couple thoughts:

The version of MCTB I've been wishing for may not be relevant to your current revisions. I've been wanting something for people who are not initiated, not dark night yogis, have no mushroom culture dust about them, but who need something as accessible as Thich Nhat Hahn for example. Just a primer on noting, the progress of insight, 3 c's, etc. Basically, something for my mother. Why shouldn't the casual shopper have a shot at the real thing, instead of waiting for them to come out of the other end of a 10 year mostly fruitless search (like most of us who wind up here)? We (you) are ceding prime market share!

Also: nice wand. The forum section on powers seems pretty quiet. In fact, I have the sense it's still widely looked down on even here to discuss them... . I just want to know, in what sense does consciousness extend beyond the body? I've had some experiences that suggest it does, but I'm surprised to find many advanced yogi's are staunchly dismissive of the idea. (Let's assume I understand that I'm asking only because I fear death, and my time would be better spent examining the bare phenomena of this moment. I know.)

(Also, nice to hear AF-related practice described in a straightforward way. I hope I'm not jinxing the thread by saying so.)

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 10:08 PM as a reply to Some Guy.
Thanks for the update, Daniel.

I relate to the following descriptions of yours. I've had two shifts that resulted 1st in the PCE-like perception and no more attention wave/bounce. And there was a further shift which seems similar to what you mention below. The subtle and nor so subtle motivation implications....can you elaborate on this development?

There was a resynchronizing of something, such that, if you imagine a watch with the second hand just one gear-tooth out of sync, such that at, say, the stroke of midnight the second hand was one second behind, and then suddenly the teeth synced up properly, such that suddenly everything was time aligned properly for the first time, that is what this feels like, such that time pressure is significantly less if there at all (again, we'll see how this holds up over time as the months go on and things morph as they do). This has had numerous subtle and not so subtle motivation implications as well as increased a general sense of satisfaction and sense of wellbeing, and my mouth ulcers which I have had nearly daily for years have been gone now since that time, which has happened at times in the past and may not be related, but is worth mentioning, and continues to make me wonder about immune mechanisms and attentional things. I have noticed before that a retreat of over a week or so would give me at least 1-2 months aphthous ulcer free in the past...

This resynchronizing followed very logically from the veil-vanishing thing that put everything in PCE-like perception mode apparently permanently on Jan 18th, which also could be said to have been the vanishing of anything attentional of any kind, really, which eliminated some sort of distortion that I didn't even know was there. Both resulted from just paying an outrageous amount of attention to everything in the spacial field as it occurred.



P.S. I up your wand with a Sith lightsabre.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 10:38 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Dear Claudiu,

Hey, wasn't looking for anything in particular, just happened, relatively surprising when it did.

I am enjoying life, thanks for asking.

Questions 3 and 4 don't seem that interesting in terms of ways to think about this stuff: sorry of this seems like a dodge. Those extremes seem to be missing something.

Jhanas: seem interwoven in a shimmery way with the rest of the shimmery stuff, state shifts still occur, but haven't had much time at all to practice much along that front. Fruitions still occur, if that is interesting. Haven't actually tried full formless realms, but would be surprised if they weren't functioning somehow: will do at some point, though the most interesting thing regarding the jhanas is that any inclination to them just dissolves in a pleasant puff of nothing, and then later some shift occurs, which seems to be a somewhat different functional and temporal arrangement from before, but again, there have been lots of odd points along the way where things were somewhat different for some period of time and then later went back to some more familiar way of functioning, so we'll see.

Powers: energetic stuff, visualization stuff, emotive-intent stuff: all still occur.

How are you? How goes pure intent?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 10:54 PM as a reply to Some Guy.
Hey JB,

Your request for something with just the good information and none of the rant is a great idea, and that is also part of what annoys me about MCTB: 1) that it seemed like it needed the rand at all, and 2) that there are large parts of the world where it just doesn't apply, 3) that parts of the dharma world where it needed to be said now don't need it said, as they have moved on to something better. If I can, I will see what I can come up with. Time is short now, but hopefully come winter there will be more.

Sometimes in the longer medical textbooks there are "Just the facts" versions that summarize the core nuggets of practical knowledge, and a Just the Practices and Theory version of MCTB would be a great idea! It might be a bit boring, but then sometimes boring is healthy.

Yeah, even here in this little protected corner of the web, the powers and that stuff don't always go down well. I am always reluctant even here to mention just a little bit, and as CCC's comments indicate, even that tiny bit garnered strange reactions.

I actually don't believe there is anything called consciousness that can be differentiated from sensations, and as thoughts and the other sensations can occur anywhere there is a field of experience, then anywhere they occur there is what would conventionally be referred to as consciousness. You can clearly imagine flames coming off your computer monitor, and so those thoughts must be occurring there in that space outside the body, and you can clearly perceive ordinary things beyond your body and outside your body, so clearly there must, in the conventional sense, be consciousness there also.

I am not exactly sure that what I describe is AF related practice necessarily, as I wasn't doing anything but paying attention, which would just seem like a generally good idea, and maybe this is my own fear of jinxing things as well, as this place can get touchy, even as much as I hope it will do better than what happens in the rest of the world, which it mostly does, but obviously there are moments... ;)

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 11:04 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Dear Nicolai,

Hey, great light saber! I should have pulled out the black silk hooded robes for the wand picture, but that probably would have really set people off! ;) Buncha wowsers!

interesting to hear you had similar experiences.

Motivation:

Ok, I'll give it a shot, realizing that this is relatively new, and may change...

For example, as noted above, when the inclination to test out jhana arises, that inclination itself is a pleasant shimmery thing that itself is so satisfying that it would seem strange to even want to go into jhana, and similarly with numerous other similar inclinations, though I am not sure about all of them, and suspect that some don't do this.

That inclinations are themselves satisfying has implications that I don't think I can even appreciate the full profundity of at this point, and I think that some longer period of time will be required to see what happens when that way of things functioning permeates through various older mental structures for a while.

How are you, anyway? How's down under? Got a bunyip on the barbie?

Daniel

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 11:23 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Hey, wasn't looking for anything in particular, just happened, relatively surprising when it did.

I am enjoying life, thanks for asking.

Cool cool, good to hear.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Questions 3 and 4 don't seem that interesting in terms of ways to think about this stuff: sorry of this seems like a dodge. Those extremes seem to be missing something.

No, that doesn't seem like a dodge at all. I actually thought that would be the most likely way you'd answer, but wasn't sure, which is why I asked.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Jhanas: seem interwoven in a shimmery way with the rest of the shimmery stuff, state shifts still occur, but haven't had much time at all to practice much along that front. Fruitions still occur, if that is interesting.

I actually haven't had a fruition happen in a while. I haven't been practicing for them, nor meditating, so maybe they happen and I don't notice anymore, but I haven't noticed anything like that in a while.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Haven't actually tried full formless realms, but would be surprised if they weren't functioning somehow: will do at some point, though the most interesting thing regarding the jhanas is that any inclination to them just dissolves in a pleasant puff of nothing, and then later some shift occurs, which seems to be a somewhat different functional and temporal arrangement from before, but again, there have been lots of odd points along the way where things were somewhat different for some period of time and then later went back to some more familiar way of functioning, so we'll see.

Powers: energetic stuff, visualization stuff, emotive-intent stuff: all still occur.

Sounds interesting; thanks for the extra info.

Daniel M. Ingram:
How are you? How goes pure intent?

I'm doing alright. Pure intent is quite exciting and fascinating and seems to be leading to a delicious place. Recently I've mostly been focusing on the 'me' side of things, seeing what makes 'me' tick, how 'I' am built up, understanding what makes up a belief, letting certain beliefs stop being believed in, seeing why certain bodily tensions happen and how to lead to them not happening, etc., interspersed by periods of just contemplating what it means to be alive, to be seeing things, breathing, interacting with the world, etc., during which periods pure intent is much more obvious. Investigation (the former) and contemplation (the latter) seem to go hand in hand, contemplation providing the motivation for investigation as it leads to the realization that it is 'I' who is preventing that purity from always being apparent (thus showing that investigation is necessary) and also shows experientially what will be left in 'my' place and how to go about getting there (thus providing hints that make the investigation possible). It's all fitting together pretty nicely and it seems to just be a matter of willingly going further and further along.

In case it's of interest to you, I don't really think my insight training has helped me much in this endeavor, at least not in terms of helping with either the investigation or the contemplation in and of themselves. Investigating the three characteristics a la MCTB operates on a different level with a different goal than investigating 'me' does a la Actualism, and it doesn't seem to help much, practically. As for the contemplation, investigating the 3Cs seems to have nothing to do with that, and as contemplation shows the goal, I'd say that the insight training I've done seems to lead to a totally different, rather unrelated outcome. What I can say the insight training has done is given me a higher tolerance for pain and for weird things to happen, along with some added motivation in that I can see a huge potential for 'me' causing pain (aka dukkha nyanas a la MCTB ) that I probably wouldn't have seen in quite the same way had I not done insight training a la MCTB at all.

Anyways, I'm happy with what I'm doing now, and quite looking forward to seeing where it takes me!

Cheers,
- Claudiu

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/19/12 11:42 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Dear Nicolai,

Hey, great light saber! I should have pulled out the black silk hooded robes for the wand picture, but that probably would have really set people off! ;) Buncha wowsers!


Peoples, why so serious!?!


For example, as noted above, when the inclination to test out jhana arises, that inclination itself is a pleasant shimmery thing that itself is so satisfying that it would seem strange to even want to go into jhana, and similarly with numerous other similar inclinations, though I am not sure about all of them, and suspect that some don't do this.


I only experience an inclination when it is triggered by thing s like this, people talking about it or I read about it somewhere which triggers a thought of curiosity and only then does the mind get directed to fashion them.

That inclinations are themselves satisfying has implications that I don't think I can even appreciate the full profundity of at this point, and I think that some longer period of time will be required to see what happens when that way of things functioning permeates through various older mental structures for a while.


Interesting. I've never really paid attention to the quality of 'intention' before the jhanas are fashioned (and they seem less about absorption and more about 'exclusive objects' of mind, which don't give off the same absorption feel that they used to before previous shifts). Doing so now, perhaps because you have now introduced this explanation of your ongoing experience, the mind does fashion intention into quite a 'heightening' experience. It is pleasurable in an emotion-free way. Hard to describe. I might be scripting/fabricating it due to reading about it though, so the intention to create the same mind-made experience is resulting in something assumed similar. I never really noticed though that 'intention' towards jhana was pleasurable. Though i do experience a serious lack of mental urge to fashion them and thus don't experience the intention that much. The intention though does seem awfully close to when they are fashioned. Meaning, when the intention is there to fashion 'space' as the exclusive object of the mind, the intention seems inherent in the the 'space' being the exclusive object of mind or at least melding quickly with its very fashioning. Intention co-arises with the jhana so to speak. And thus it seems quite freeing, at least from rupa thus quite inherently 'pleasant'.

Thanks for the trigger.

How are you, anyway? How's down under? Got a bunyip on the barbie?


I am doing quite well. Studies in shiatsu and Traditional Chinese Medicine is com ing along and is starting to seep into my way of thinking...and fabricating.

Edited twice to add extra stuff.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/20/12 12:14 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


Got anything in the spirit of mutually supportive adventurers sharing their journeys together and helping each other?


Yes I'd like the 'how to practice' part of MCTB to be changed from:

-- effort, striving, goal-oriented, narrow focus

to...

-- effortless, surrender, open focus, spacious


so that practitioners don't get Dark Nighted or worse.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
Answer
8/20/12 12:24 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
The how to practice part of MCTB contains that second perspective in abundance. Need endless examples?

That said, I definitely see how people could miss them if they were looking at it through its obviously predominant lens of effort, which is strongly present.

Which sections, specifically, would you modify? It is a long work.

Are you sure that people can be spared Dark Night stuff as you advocate? Are you sure there not a place for skillful effort in dealing with Dark Night phenomena? Are you sure that attempts to surrender to things that aren't pleasant may not involve effort? Are you sure that the wide open spaciousness of the higher levels of attainment are not easiest to obtain for some by a path involving effort?

Narrow focus is advocated in those stages where it pays off, namely the early ones, and wide and inclusive focus is advocated where that pays off, namely the later ones. Did you miss that part? I may need to make it more clear.

Thanks for your suggestions.

BTW, what was up with your strange little series of messages earlier today? I was away from the computer when they arose but was still logged in, so didn't see them until about an hour after you put them up.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 12:32 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Daniel M. Ingram:


Got anything in the spirit of mutually supportive adventurers sharing their journeys together and helping each other?


Yes I'd like the 'how to practice' part of MCTB to be changed from:

-- effort, striving, goal-oriented, narrow focus

to...

-- effortless, surrender, open focus, spacious


so that practitioners don't get Dark Nighted or worse.


Not to poo poo your approach and forgive me for using an old text quote by dead peoples, CCC, but effort and exertion are part and parcel of at least the the theravadan approach. Though i do think if the ability to fabricate exertion is slightly warped or not complete and not cultivated correctly it can lead one down pretty shady alleys and make one desire and exert effort to fabricate in the wrong direction, i.e. the other way from the ending of stress. Thus, one suffers a 'dark night'. As far as I can tell, the dukkha nanas don't have to suck and pull one under. Everyone has a choice to react or not and fabricate the madness that can be termed 'dark'. Perhaps beforehand there is a need to emphasize developing and cultivating the pre-requisite skills before jumping into the deep end. But alas, many don't have such patience, which is probably also a vital prerequisite

"Monks, whoever neglects these four bases of power neglects the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Whoever undertakes these four bases of power undertakes the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Which four?

There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence... concentration founded on intent... concentration founded on discrimination & the fabrications of exertion.
Whoever neglects these four bases of power neglects the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Whoever undertakes these four bases of power undertakes the noble path going to the right ending of stress." SN 51.2

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 12:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

If you can add more detail on your recent shifts and where this diverges from the original book I think that would help since I'm not quite sure how you view beyond fourth path differently. What is beyond 4th path for you? I've talked to Ron Crouch and he's talked to the different camps, including AF'ers, who find that reality is "really real" and those following a noting style find reality feels "not real". emoticon There seems to be a divergence there.

If you have a lot of new information to add then just do another book. A second edition could revise the book extensively if treated like a textbook. The audience will see that not all has been discovered and that there is room for added knowledge.

Also, is there any new published scientific studies from Whiloughby Britton or others you can add to the book? Do you and other scientists know more about the dark night?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 12:44 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Here is a quote from someone alive. ;-)


"Many popular Western writings criticize the four qualities listed in the bases of power — desire, persistence (effort), intent (will), and discrimination (the discriminating mind) — as enemies of proper meditation, both in that they interfere with the calming of the mind and are antithetical to the goal of the Unfabricated, which lies beyond desire, effort, and the categories of discrimination. The first part of the extended formula deals with the first of these criticisms.

"There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This desire of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered." (Similarly with concentration founded on persistence, intent, and discrimination.)

This passage shows that the problem lies, not in the desire, effort, intent, or discrimination, but in the fact that these qualities can be unskillfully applied or improperly tuned to their task. If they were absent, the practice — if it could be called a practice — would stagnate from loss of direction or motivation. If they ran wild, they would interfere with mindful concentration. So the trick is not to deny them, but to tune them skillfully so that they will help focus the mind on the present moment. Thus, for instance, in the practice of meditation, as with any skill, it is important not to focus desire too strongly on the results one hopes to get, for that would interfere with the mind's ability to focus on giving rise to the causes leading to those results. If, instead, one focuses desire on putting the causes in proper order in the present moment, desire becomes an indispensable part of the process of mastery." Thanissaro Bhikkhu

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 12:47 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
@ Richard:

Hey, yeah, working on that. It will take some time, I think, which I don't have enough of.

Very short: at this point, and with lots of additional information I now have from my own practice and various reports, there are lots of potential mind mods, and they don't all look alike, even among people who say they have done the same thing, and they don't always occur in the same sequence, and they don't all come with the standard expected packaged benefits, and they seem to give very different feels to the thing, and so at this point I would say go with what feels best and makes sense, and see how far you can take it, and when it feels like you should do something else, talk with people about that and see what feels right next, realizing that sometimes you may have missed something good if you bailed too soon, but there is no way to always know that in advance, the the core principles of paying a lot of attention to what is happening still seem a great idea.

@CCC: no worries, Mate. Blowing of steam sometimes just needs to occur. Let me know if and when you find some of those useful notes.

Signing off for the evening: have 7am department meeting...

D

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 7:04 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Dan,

Thanks for sharing your practice, I hope you make this a more regular event, I get great benefit from reading your reports, because it encourages my own practice.
I also think that as the founder of this website and the author of the book, it is very helpful to hear more regularly about your life and practice, and I don't think these are 'too much', so please keep em coming!

Yadid

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 8:24 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
@ Richard:

Very short: at this point, and with lots of additional information I now have from my own practice and various reports, there are lots of potential mind mods, and they don't all look alike, even among people who say they have done the same thing, and they don't always occur in the same sequence, and they don't all come with the standard expected packaged benefits, and they seem to give very different feels to the thing, and so at this point I would say go with what feels best and makes sense, and see how far you can take it, and when it feels like you should do something else, talk with people about that and see what feels right next, realizing that sometimes you may have missed something good if you bailed too soon, but there is no way to always know that in advance, the the core principles of paying a lot of attention to what is happening still seem a great idea.



That is interesting. You seemed to espouse perennialism in MCTB: the idea that many of the world's spiritual traditions are aiming at the same state. I've thought about this many times while studying your map of the ñanas/jhanas which includes the traditional kabbalah sephira mapped to each mind stratum.

Do you no longer think it's the case that all traditions (or even all Buddhist traditions) aim at the same thing, or do we just suck at mapping it?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 8:32 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
The most annoying thing for me is that many practice points that I wish to keep in the first part actually would benefit from things in the third part, and vice versa, such that I can't figure out the optimal order of things, as simple pragmatic points often would seem to be better placed much later, but then I worry they will be lost in the complexity of those later sections.

There are a number of things in the Models of the Stages of Enlightenment chapter that I will revise based on things similar to those I have posted here.

More interesting to me is what others have found annoying about it and wished to see clarified or revised, as if you have suggestions, now is the time.


Regarding the pragmatic points, I've turned on a few friends to hardcore dharma practices. I tell them to read your book, but usually not before I sent them to Kenneth's page, only because there's a program right on the front page. The concern, of course, is that I give them your book, I come back three weeks later, and they're still not meditating because they haven't finished the book. Meanwhile they could have been noting their asses off and already gotten an A&P. The strong point of your prescriptions in MCTB is that you show that you have to put in the strong effort at the beginning but then learn to be more inclusive in the dark night and equanimity stages. I have no idea what the commenter who complained about lack of openness and inclusivity was talking about. My best practice-experiences with your book came when I would read some passage and realize, "Oh, I can let up now and let reality do its thing. Okay. Insight."

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 9:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel!
Daniel M. Ingram:
More interesting to me is what others have found annoying about it and wished to see clarified or revised, as if you have suggestions, now is the time.

Maybe stop calling yourself an arahant? Or do you still think that "lived is the holy life, done is what needs to be done"

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 9:26 AM as a reply to N A.
Both great points and already in progress.

what else?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 11:38 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Going with the theme of needing to pay attention to different aspects of experience depending on which nana... How about more detail on the different types of sensations that may become more apparent or important to look at for each path? This could also include tips for the more beneficial styles/modes of paying attention for each path.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 12:52 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Both great points and already in progress.

what else?


I agreed with Steph. There is so much written about 1st path, however once you cross that threshold (even moreso after 2nd) things get so damn confusing. I have started thinking about how to write about subsequent paths. Maybe you smarter people would be better at it than me, but I have felt the void in information since 2nd path. The best resource has been my teacher and reading peoples practice logs. Anyways, I would be neat to see someone try to add detailed info in about later paths.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 1:20 PM as a reply to Russell ..
Russell .:
Daniel M. Ingram:
Both great points and already in progress.

what else?


I agreed with Steph. There is so much written about 1st path, however once you cross that threshold (even moreso after 2nd) things get so damn confusing. I have started thinking about how to write about subsequent paths. Maybe you smarter people would be better at it than me, but I have felt the void in information since 2nd path. The best resource has been my teacher and reading peoples practice logs. Anyways, I would be neat to see someone try to add detailed info in about later paths.


Indeed, indeed. Things are a lot more difficult since 2nd path. Even with the benefit of a teacher, I'm wandering in the wilderness.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/20/12 10:24 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Some of my ideas are in a new thread "depression and progress". Thanks.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/21/12 12:15 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Both resulted from just paying an outrageous amount of attention to everything in the spacial field as it occurred.


what exactly do you mean by the "spacial field"

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/21/12 8:44 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


I actually don't believe there is anything called consciousness that can be differentiated from sensations, and as thoughts and the other sensations can occur anywhere there is a field of experience, then anywhere they occur there is what would conventionally be referred to as consciousness. You can clearly imagine flames coming off your computer monitor, and so those thoughts must be occurring there in that space outside the body, and you can clearly perceive ordinary things beyond your body and outside your body, so clearly there must, in the conventional sense, be consciousness there also.


Hmmm.... Thank you. I'm not sure about the flames coming off my computer screen. All those perceptions are occurring in my brain, so the theory goes. It seems a bit circular to say consciousness depends on sensations when clearly sensations depend on consciousness. But if you do astral projection can you see what's on my computer screen?

Anyway, I finally just now heard your very excited and exciting talk from the The Conference, and was wondering how this notion of description as part of practice might be integrated into MCTB2. Perhaps making up some kind of worksheet or practice journal template a la D&D character sheets, perhaps including a possible lexicon, etc. Just a thought. Journaling is so intrinsic to practice here, but not mentioned in the book.

Do you think the journaling that goes on here is really inadequate? Should we scrap the whole approach and start over? Is there an example of better record keeping here or elsewhere online that moves in the direction of what you have in mind? Or is a journal the wrong thing altogether? Data points? Graphs?

For the naturalists, the record keeping was their whole practice, so to match that... would really change one's practice, or become one's practice. That's ok, fascinating actually, but watch out for hubris. The science-oriented practice may not describe the, say, art-oriented practice. Or whatever. The medium is the massage, you know?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/22/12 10:36 PM as a reply to Some Guy.
Another issue with MCTB is the coverage of these ñanas:

13. Change of Lineage
14. Path

My understanding is that nobody (on DhO at least) actually ever experienced these stages, they're just some dogmatic stuff straight from the Visuddhimagga. If this is true, MCTB should make it clear (it doesn't). If I'm wrong, then it would be nice to have some experiential description of those stages. MCTB coverage of them is basically just filler, but it does present them as unquestionably real.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/28/12 3:01 AM as a reply to N A.
Totally not true.

Those terms are given to specific impulsions of the first time one enters the Three Doors to Fruition and are definitely identifiable, as they have been by me and others that have been on the DhO.

Just because some are poor microphenomnologists and poor analysts doesn't mean everyone is.

It is non-dogmatic stuff from the Abhidhamma that gets translated to the Visuddhimagga, and it is definitely perceivable by those with quick and nimble minds, such as and including myself.

It is hardly filler, but, as they last just one moment, they hardly require more than I gave them. MCTB explicitly does make it clear exactly what they are and exactly how long they last and exactly what they do. Specifically, and I quote, from the section on Conformity knowledge, the first of the three:

"This stage lasts only one moment and never arises again until one attains the next stage of enlightenment. The same is true of the next two stages. Stages twelve to fourteen (Conformity, Change of Lineage, and Path) also share the fact that they represent the three moments of the first entrance to transcendent ultimate reality (stage fifteen, Fruition) through one of the Three Doors. In subsequent attainments of Fruition at that path (during the stage of Review), the three moments before Fruition are not called Conformity, Change of Lineage and Path. These three stages will get extensive treatment in the chapter on The Three Doors" and

"Having understood things just as they are, this next stage, which also lasts for just a moment, “does the damage” as a friend of mine joyfully put it. It permanently changes the minds of the meditators in ways that I will discuss in just a bit. They leave the ranks of the unenlightened and join the ranks of those that are. While the social designation of formal lineage transmission is a very useful thing to have received, the results of this stage are in fact what that symbolic act is all about. They have done it, and thus attain..."

and

"This stage also lasts just a moment, and after the first completed progress of insight it marks the first moment of the newly awakened being’s awakened life. The first time around, this is called “stream entry” or “first path” in the Theravada, the “fourth stage of the second path” or “the first bhumi” in the Tibetan tradition, and many names in Zen that are purposefully ambiguous. After a subsequent, new progress of insight it marks the attainment of the next level of awakening, and there are lots of names for those that will be discussed shortly. It is directly followed by..."

How is that not explicit and clear? What more or less could you want? Should I pander to those with weak perceptual skills, weak analysis skills, so as not to make them feel bad about themselves? Should I add needless detail to things that require no more?

They are unquestionably real. They are identifiable. The specific colors, textures, and movements that those moments take will vary widely depending on the content of the moments that are taken as object of that level of insight, as clearly stated in the Three Doors chapter, so descriptions are somewhat meaningless, at least of the specifics, which could be literally anything. The movements, the patterns, the essentials are described in the Three Doors chapter in a degree of specificity and detail beyond what is found in any other source I have ever heard of. Can you find better? Let me know.

Daniel

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/28/12 5:33 AM as a reply to N A.
N A:
Another issue with MCTB is the coverage of these ñanas:

13. Change of Lineage
14. Path

My understanding is that nobody (on DhO at least) actually ever experienced these stages, they're just some dogmatic stuff straight from the Visuddhimagga. If this is true, MCTB should make it clear (it doesn't). If I'm wrong, then it would be nice to have some experiential description of those stages. MCTB coverage of them is basically just filler, but it does present them as unquestionably real.

Your understanding is entirely incorrect. Try getting Path, then come back and talk about it.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/28/12 10:47 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
They are unquestionably real. They are identifiable. The specific colors, textures, and movements that those moments take will vary widely depending on the content of the moments that are taken as object of that level of insight, as clearly stated in the Three Doors chapter, so descriptions are somewhat meaningless, at least of the specifics, which could be literally anything. The movements, the patterns, the essentials are described in the Three Doors chapter in a degree of specificity and detail beyond what is found in any other source I have ever heard of. Can you find better? Let me know.

Hey Daniel, the Three Doors chapter is great, but it never talks about what stages of insight are being described. The only mention of stages of insight, other than Fruition, is this line in the beginning of the chapter:

"Stages 12-14 and subsequent attainments of Fruition at that level of awakening present as radical and complete understandings of the Three Characteristics at the level of formations"

You describe the process leading up to the Fruition in depth, but you never say anything like "This is Conformity", "This is Change of Lineage", "This is Path".

Stages 12-14 supposedly arise once per path, so presumably at most four times; but in the Three Doors chapter you don't talk about which parts of the experience arise once per path. You do mention going through the Three Doors "hundreds of times", which is why I assumed that you're not talking about stages 12-14.

You could probably make things a lot clearer with an extra sentence or two in that chapter.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/28/12 11:58 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Your understanding is entirely incorrect. Try getting Path, then come back and talk about it.

Hey, I'm trying to help improve a book. My understanding, whether correct or not, is shaped by MCTB and this forum.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/28/12 4:39 PM as a reply to N A.
Hey, I'm trying to help improve a book. My understanding, whether correct or not, is shaped by MCTB and this forum.

I understand that, but I'd suggest basing your understanding on your own experience, rather than what you've read online or in a book, hence my suggestion about getting Path and then seeing what those stages refer to experientially. When you do, then you'll see why the information available in MCTB with regards to those stages is actually quite sufficient, and is probably more detailed than any other source I've come across.

You describe the process leading up to the Fruition in depth, but you never say anything like "This is Conformity", "This is Change of Lineage", "This is Path".

Stages 12-14 supposedly arise once per path, so presumably at most four times; but in the Three Doors chapter you don't talk about which parts of the experience arise once per path. You do mention going through the Three Doors "hundreds of times", which is why I assumed that you're not talking about stages 12-14.

My two Ugandan dollars on this one: Conformity, Change of Lineage and Path are momentary impulsions which happen in less than a second, literally it goes BANG-BANG-BANG-Fruition, and on coming out of the cessation it becomes ridiculously clear that something's very different about your experience.

Stages 12-14 are not the Three Doors; the Three Doors are: Emptiness/Not-Self, Impermanence and Suffering. Stages 12-14 occur once per Path, but each and every Fruition will occur through one, or a combination of, the Three Doors of Anatta, Anicca and/or Dukkha.

Hope that helps...and btw, don't just assume that I'm having a pop at you if I contradict something you say or state something brusquely, I'm genuinely trying to help although it may not seem that way sometimes. : )

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/28/12 4:54 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I understand that, but I'd suggest basing your understanding on your own experience, rather than what you've read online or in a book, hence my suggestion about getting Path and then seeing what those stages refer to experientially. When you do, then you'll see why the information available in MCTB with regards to those stages is actually quite sufficient, and is probably more detailed than any other source I've come across.
Well yeah.. working on it!

Conformity, Change of Lineage and Path are momentary impulsions which happen in less than a second, literally it goes BANG-BANG-BANG-Fruition, and on coming out of the cessation it becomes ridiculously clear that something's very different about your experience.

Thanks. I think the addition of exactly this to MCTB would help a lot. This is what is missing. MCTB has phrases referring to three mind moments (such as "dat.dat.dat-(gone!)") but does not identify them as those stages.

Hope that helps...and btw, don't just assume that I'm having a pop at you if I contradict something you say or state something brusquely, I'm genuinely trying to help although it may not seem that way sometimes. : )
Don't worry, I'm quite familiar with your posting style emoticon

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/30/12 10:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

Sometimes in the longer medical textbooks there are "Just the facts" versions that summarize the core nuggets of practical knowledge, and a Just the Practices and Theory version of MCTB would be a great idea! It might be a bit boring, but then sometimes boring is healthy.


This is exactly what I have wished for in MCTB sometimes. To make up for its lack, my PDF is bookmarked with individual pages across the book which contains precise practice instructions.

However, that's not really a solution. A solution might vaguely resemble a multi-section FAQ for active practitioners looking to improve practice, placed at the end of the book:

Appendix I: Summary of Concentration practice
Appendix II: Summary of Insight practice
Appendix III: Summary of the Progress of Insight (Two pages facing each other, containing a trimmed down version of the sub-nyanas/sub-jhanas table. Or four pages if necessary to avoid microscopic print size.)
Appendix IV: Nirodha Sammapatti

Or something like that. Basically, the cheat-sheet to sometimes glance at right before a formal sit/walk, which reminds you of the most important things in just a few pages. As a reference, it would be no problem if this section were boring.

Also, second editions of practical books such as this one are greatly helped by the addition of a "What's been changed" section of the preface.

BTW, I could probably help with editing a second edition. I've picked up some good writing and revising skills, though advanced practitioners would need to draft new copy and approve revisions of the existing copy.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/30/12 5:36 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Here's an idea: instead of revising MCTB, do a series of audio commentaries about it.

I really like to hear you talk, your passion is engaging. So instead of spending years preparing MCTB 2, why don't you just write down a list of episodes covering topics from all over MCTB, and then just start the recorder and talk away.

If monologues are not your thing, you can invite someone to act as a competent sidekick.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/31/12 2:40 AM as a reply to Robot Foo.
Your ideas are all good ones.

I have considered reading MCTB and adding commentary as I went, but the project would be a long one. I have the audio gear to make it sound great, but time at the moment is short. Perhaps your interest will help bump that up the list, but first I do want to revise parts of it.

Additional appendices is a great idea: it inspired some work tonight. Thanks for that.

PRACTICE UPDATE:

So: We are short physicians at work, so I worked 7 shifts in 8 days, most of them were supposed to be 10-hour shifts, but they often turned into 11.5-12.5-hour shifts, and adding nearly 1.5 hours of driving time to them, and a committee meeting, and viola: you have a recipe to really test out something in the face of the profound fatigue and temptation to burnout that comes when you work 7x13.5+0.5=95 hours at a really hard and intense job in 8 days and with not enough sleep between shifts.

Results: by shift #6 I was fatigued, but by shift #7 I was not only running on something beyond vapors in the proverbial tank, I was feeling actually sick, like physically toxic, an effect that lasted intermittently about 1.5 days post the last shift ending, and really only vanished this evening sometime after sleeping a lot, working out, eating fantastic food, dancing to some techno and funk, watching 3 episodes of "How I Met Your Mother", and getting time to finally do things I really wanted to do, like post here.

Lesson: just because you have done really cool things to your brain, pushing yourself too far is still a really bad idea, and it is often more interesting to find the limits on personal transformations than to experience those transformations themselves. Just tryn'a keep it real, y'all.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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8/31/12 8:47 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I had a similar experience. In accounting you can go for long periods as well. Some work 100 hours per week regularly. Hello cancer! emoticon

Fortunately I didn't have to go 95 hours but I did go 75 hours and the brain goes into a temporary depression. I didn't like anything and the world seemed so grey and pointless. I don't want to go back there again. Even when practicing vipassana during that time it had no effect and it was scary. Getting back to things I liked with no studying for a couple of days relieved the headache.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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2/12/14 2:20 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Reply to Daniel:

Did you ever "shoot that black beam?" Wondering what the results might have been.


I have been terrified of walking a loop versus a straight line down and back for some time now. I have often tried to get myself to do a loop through the neighborhood, and something always called me to turn around and retrace me steps.
Today I realized that there must have been some subtle mind territory I was not comfortable enough with, because I finally decided to do a loop. The whole time I was wanting to turn around but something non local kept me moving forward. I realized that by not turning around when I got home that I was somehow deconstructing something in what "home" means, and that by continuing in this sort of limbo esque state of not being here nor there, well, I just continued.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/12/16 1:35 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Practice and life update:

I am working way too much. This has been a theme of my life for a very long time now, basically since 3rd year of medical school began about  15 years ago, but it it starting to become unsustainable, both as I am getting older (now 47 years old and feeling it) but also the pressure to do other things, such as more dharma-related activities, is getting stronger and starting to manifest in strange ways, like lightening bolts of energy wanting to arc off my fingers, which I am not sure is good.

A bit over a year ago they made me an assistant medical director at work, most helping with the business side, metrics, tech issues, process improvement, and the like, so that is more meetings, more excel spreadsheets, more stress, more complexity, but I kept my more than full-time clinical load at a hyper-intense job even for emergency medicine physicians, which is already way up into the stressful, intense job stratosphere. This has taken its toll, and I am going to have to pare this back in some way before I break something that I can't put back together: working on clarifying and manifesting those specifics now. It will not be a simple project, but it has to happen. If you are of a mind to, send me good wishes for success in figuring out how to cut back and not damage things that need to go well.

MCTB2 is coming along, working on third full pass through, adding little odds and ends here and there. We went back to the original draft last year, tore that into pieces, edited each one, put it back together, now seeing how it all fits and working out some fine points. It has been a lot of work but worth it, and I am satisfied with what is coming out of that process. My apologies for how long this has taken. There were some circumstances that were unexpected, as with any big project. My additional workload has also contributed to the delay, as time has been very, very tight.

More formal dharma practice: I get time to sit every night before I sleep, time amount varies, typically 30-45 minutes or so. Those sits are all about settling, healing, sustaining, maintenance in the face of a work schedule that has crossed from excessive to damaging. However, from a certain point of view, all day long there are clearly dharmic elements going on. Still, that is not quite the same thing as formal practice, and formal practice still clearly makes a big difference, though not enough difference in the face of my work life.

There are other practice considerations going on, mostly about interior design, as it were, exploring what is the optimal way to craft an inner landscape/sambodhakaya manifestation/spirit body or whatever you wish to call it that is at once very human and also very dharmically-optimized for various circumstances. Much of that involves explicitly magickal theory and thinking, really enjoying Rune Soup podcast and some of the books mentioned there. The emphases there are mostly very old-school Western magick, but I can't help but filter it through a more Buddhist perspective. Current books to read are many, but they include Apocalyptic Witchcraft and Alchemical Traditions.

What am I looking for down those strange pathways? Well, that is a good question. In section 7 of Zosimos of Panopolis work On The Letter Omega, he points out the difference between Zoroaster's approach, basically that one use spells to optimize every aspect of life, and Hermes Trismagestus' approach, which would be to transcend the travails ordinary material world in both aspiration and eventually somehow in practice. It is an old debate, appearing in many forms in Buddhism, magick and elsewhere. We find it in parinibbana vs bodhisattva debates, as one of many examples, and those debates call to me also in practice.

Trying to find time to do an 18-day retreat for my birthday, which is in February: not sure why eighteen is the magick number, but it is what comes to mind, and is likely the maximum amount of time I could possibly get off with all resources dedicated to that task. While various permutations of venue and companions percolate through the vision-o-meter, it will likely be solitary or nearly so in some remote location, such as Patagonia South Amarica or southern Arizona, if all goes well. Still working on the logistics. I need water nearby, a good view, solitude, food to eat, and nights warm enough to spend time outside but without mosquitoes. It will be a mix of relatively formless, relatively Sutta Mahamudra/Dzogchen-influenced practice, and more explicitly elemental, magickal work using a mix of techniques after concentration gets strong. In this, you can see both Zoroaster and HT's perspectives working both in competition and hopefully coming to some sort of fluxing, working truce. It is hard to explain how much I need a break along those lines. Location suggestions? Culadasa's place has been mentioned as a possibility. Forest Refuge is on the list, but that could get political, and politics is very much the last thing I want to be dealing with. I need to be able to get there in less than 24-hours of traveling, as I want to optimize practice time, so New Zealand and Asia are likely out.

I have also been thinking a lot about karma and its implications across lives, in this life, and what is truly the best use of one's time. The blessing, curse, and strange karms of having a job like being an ED physician is that the need for that work to be done very real, very compelling, clearly helping to ease suffering and actually save lives, and also very bottomless, so it is karmically sticky for one with rescuer tendencies, such as myself. I had a past-life experience burst in 2003, and the immediately proximal life was something like an [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asura_(Buddhism)]Asura. The older I get, the more I can feel karmic and magickal residual tendencies and consequences along those lines, so dealing with that has been interesting. It likely explains a number of abilities and also difficulties pretty well. Not into past lives?: Ignore this paragraph.

"All beings are the true heirs of their karma. Their happiness depends on their actions and not upon my wishes for them." Perhaps another 100,000 repetitions of that will do some good.

Practice tip: don't work yourself to death. No amount of dharma practice, ability, technique or similar support will fully compensate for that, so it seems to me at this time.

Speaking of magick, again, any good blessings you wish to send my way to help me strip down while maintaining a few key obligations such that I can run at a more sustainable pace and give more time to more explicitly dharmic endeavors are much appreciated.

Be well and practice well,

Daniel

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/12/16 6:05 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wishing you well Daniel! It can be hard to work less when your work benefits others.

One thing I remind myself when I am tempted to take on too much at work is... and this is somewhat hard to explain but... "If success depends on just me, then it will never last. Sometimes long term success needs short term failures".

There are many things that I could do at work, tasks I could pick up, issues I could champion, where I could temporaily fix a problem... but it would be all on me. And if I go away, or if it is the final thing that breaks my back (and I'm close too, I can really sympathize) then the core problem -- lack of conscious awareness of the problem, not enough resources being devoted by the organization, no institutional commitment to really address the issue -- is still unchanged. 

So the way I see it, sometimes you need to back off and let problems fully manifest so that they get addressed. It's like the organization is another "mind" that needs to experience suffering so that it changes its ways. Humans rarely change without being "pushed" by discomfort. Organizations especially so!

Another way to think of it: pretend it isn't you. Would you create a situation where someone worked as hard as you did? No way, that would be mean to them. By your working this hard, you are essentially creating a precident for the organization to treat a worker this way. 

It can be hard, but let things fail. It's better for everyone in the long run.

It's very easy for someone with a heroic, asura/titan, instinct to over extend themselves. Remember titans lose >everything< because they are always exploring their limits and always go past them. Even though they are more aware of the edge of their abilities, much more than beings in any other realm, they always are tempted to try just a little more, to push a little bit farther. That's their fatal flaw. That's the asura/titan realm. They want to be devas/gods, but they always push it too far.

The scary thing is when you get healthy again, you realize just how drained you were. Sometimes that's the scariest part of it all. You don't want to experience the weakness, the recovery process, so you keep busy with activity. (Again, I feel this myself, so I can really sympathize.) It can be hard to pull back and go through the healing/chi-filling process. People think it's easy, but going through any change is always disruptive and "feels wrong" for a while before the new baseline gets established. But it's clear you know you need to do this.

Best wishes! 

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/12/16 10:26 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel:
Speaking of magick, again, any good blessings you wish to send my way to help me strip down while maintaining a few key obligations such that I can run at a more sustainable pace and give more time to more explicitly dharmic endeavors are much appreciated.

I'll say a spiritual mind treatment.

Edit:  Your highest expression of Harmoney, it is done!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/12/16 12:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel - Much respect for all you do, from ER doc to MCTB proginator!  Helping people on all levels, from physcial to spiritual!  Good wishes for the retreat!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/15/16 11:57 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, great to read your update, and I'm feeling sorry for all the stress that you're struggling with there. I can only imagine how tough it is. You need to look after yourself better. Think of those safety messages on a plane before takeoff - take care of your own mask before helping others!

I also have to say you've yet again - in the latest of many little ways - opened my eyes to the complexities of the path (or paths), that even in your circumstances practice can be challenging, and that getting time off to practice well is a much-sought-after goal for you as much as it is for beginners like me. 

All the best with your 18-day plan for Feb. Patagonia sounds awesome. I'm sure you can find a spot down there, get some food and water supplies in, turn off the phone, and go for it. 

Please update us all on how it's working out...

Peter

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/16/16 6:58 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hello Daniel,

This is the first time I write to you. I want to wish you all the blessings needed to find the sustainable pace that will be beneficial for you.
I am also in the helping profession (social worker and psychotherapist) and was on the brink of burnout last May. The symptoms were quite intense and since then I made myself a "prescription", or a personal policy, to work less. This and some time off work in the summer helped a lot. I had to make a clear concrete plan to lessen my caseload and give up my "great healer phantasies." And also "dared" put my limits on how much work I would accept. My health depended on it. My body was screaming for it.

Anyways, sending blessings your way. I and so many have and  are benefiting a lot from your writings and this whole pragmatic Dharma movement. May all the merits/good karma that you accumulated help you get your right pace quickly.

With much respect,

Benoit

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/16/16 8:25 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I wish you the best.

Jeremy

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/17/16 3:47 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

It's very easy for someone with a heroic, asura/titan, instinct to over extend themselves. Remember titans lose >everything< because they are always exploring their limits and always go past them. Even though they are more aware of the edge of their abilities, much more than beings in any other realm, they always are tempted to try just a little more, to push a little bit farther. That's their fatal flaw. That's the asura/titan realm. They want to be devas/gods, but they always push it too far.

The scary thing is when you get healthy again, you realize just how drained you were. Sometimes that's the scariest part of it all. You don't want to experience the weakness, the recovery process, so you keep busy with activity. (Again, I feel this myself, so I can really sympathize.) It can be hard to pull back and go through the healing/chi-filling process. People think it's easy, but going through any change is always disruptive and "feels wrong" for a while before the new baseline gets established. But it's clear you know you need to do this.

Best wishes! 

Your thoughts have the ring of experience, truth, relevance, compassion and value. Thanks for them. This will not be a quick project, but it must get done.

Thanks to those above also for the well-wishing! I will need it.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/17/16 7:02 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Take your foot off the accelerator.   Good idea?

Best wishes.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/19/16 7:44 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Daniel best wishes to you to get through this situation and many blessings your way with the aspiration for cleared obstacles and conducive conditions for your practice. Many thanks to you for your role in MCTB, the DHO and the work you do and thanks for keeping us updated on your situation and on MCTB2!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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10/19/16 10:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel, wishing you a lot of courage and gentleness with the process of reducing your workload!
I can very well relate to what you describe, having myself worked way too much for many years. Lately, I have been rather frustrated by this. Wondering how inspite of what I would call "progress with insight meditation" I can still be so destructive with myself, again and again running into the same trap of ending up with too much responsibility at work - and as a consequence not be happy. For me, it seems to be a process of getting to see through the core beliefs that drive this behaviour and resolving or healing those. It´s fascinating in the sense that to some extent this seems to merge insight practice with psychology, as ultimately everything points back to the same ideas of dismantling the illusion of a separate self, understanding the driving forces of desire and aversion and realizing the basic goodness that exist in myself and everybody else...
All the best!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/10/16 2:29 AM as a reply to Caro.
If you haven't seen the movie Doctor Strange and you like cartoonish action adventure movies, I highly recommend it. Not only are the graphics off-the-charts good, but the themes are perennially coming up in spiritual practice.

What was so strangely compelling for me specifically about the movie was the numerous curious parallels, which I list in no particular order:

  • Many of the visuals were very much like those I experienced during my retreat in 2012 at the Tower of Hallbar (see www.firekasina.org). The glowing amber fire-like energy that they drew the circles and energetic shields was just like one of the more common colors that I used to draw similar shapes, one of which Duncan saw.  The time-bending wheel that projected off his hand in green with sacred geometric patterns was uncannily similar to the spinning patterns I was conjuring off my hand towards the end of the retreat.
  • That raises questions of temporal magick, which I have been thinking about a lot recently. One small insight from that recent cogitation: patience is skillful fourth-dimensional logistics.
  • The battle scenes were uncannily similar to many of the standard battle scenes I have in my dreams, including the possibility of launching into a travel from them, the flying, some of the modes of combat, the energy blazing off their hands, the shifts between places and realms through self-created gates, the phase issues that they got into when traveling in which they had partial but not complete ability to move through various physical objects without interacting with them, the ability to warp space and circumstances around them, and the final reluctant standoff and truce achieved the the end between Dr Strange and Dormammu: all the stock themes of my frequent wizard combat dreams.
  • These wizard combat aspects and the temptations of power in general play right to my more Asuric tendencies and inclinations, for better or worse, and the karmic implications of that realm's  aspects are currently a hot topic in my life.
  • The theme of Steven Strange and Christine Palmer oscillating back and forth between the world of emergency medicine and the world of meditation and magick, with the odd paradigmatic tensions that can create, as well as the theme of progress, as they both learn to adapt and grow in paradigmatic flexibility to various degrees and learn to roll with the strangeness, as it were.
  • The themes of innovation, exploration, and feeling out of one's depth and yet somehow achieving things that one never thought one possibly could when it comes to meditation, astral travel, energetics, and magick.
  • The movie explored the perennial tensions between medicine and meditation regarding which is most needed in this world, realizing that they both complement each other and yet at times cause conflicts with each other, particularly in terms of money, time, renunciation, responsibility, personal healing vs healing the world, and social acceptance vs rejection in the two worlds. These are themes I wrestle with every single day, and working to craft some dynamic balance between them that does both well and honors the paradigms and limitations of both defines a large part of what I think of as the cutting edge of my practice.
  • I hope that my February retreat will help me find a bit more wisdom regarding some of these curious aspects of this life.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/10/16 4:16 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
...all the stock themes of my frequent wizard combat dreams.


Wow!  That sounds awesome!  I have the odd battle dream now and then but they are nothing outside of the 21st century.

Just a question, you have mentioned astral projection; is this a frequent occurance for you, and how does it occur (i.e. spontaneously, via concious methods..)?  I have had an astral projection experience before and I have read a fair amount about them, and although it does seem very interesting, for me personally the difficulty of precipitating such an event stops me from really pursuing it.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/11/16 1:32 AM as a reply to T DC.
Astral projection has been highly variable in terms of occurrence and ease of access over the years.

My first travel was around age 14-15 or so, pretty classic and typical: floated up out of my body, looked down, saw myself there, floated through the wall, snapped back suddenly.

Since then, I have had many, some when about to go to sleep or wake up, some out of lucid dreams, a few during formal meditation off the cushion, one where I stepped about half-way out while actually doing walking meditation on a retreat where concentration was strong. Some have lasted mere seconds, others have lasted up to maybe 5-7 minutes, but those are more rare for me.

Most have occurred spontaneously. A few happened due to conscious attempts to make them happen and practice, as I have gone through phases where I gave those experiences more attention.

If you want more success with this, you can hardly beat Traveling: An accidental expert's guide... by Alan Guiden, available where fine books are sold, and curiously just happens to be published by Aeon, my publisher, though I found his work long ago when it was first on the web for free. Keep practicing, follow the exercises, and the chances of traveling go up dramatically. Enjoy!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/11/16 11:25 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Once you're enlightened you can stop practicing, can't you ?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/18/16 9:53 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,
Would you consider doing a Q & A for people like me who would like to pick your brain?  




PS  Regarding your work schedule, take care of yourself!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/18/16 11:53 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Doctor Strange.


Enjoyed it, thanks for the recommendation!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/26/16 11:28 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
A few recent fun hypogogic moments on the edge of sleep while drifting in and out in the morning:

Two mornings ago I flashed onto vision of the front yard, but all the trees, bushes, and plants, including the grass, were vivid, scintillating, tingling, crackling, rapturous, jewel tone colored spirit energy: this clear vision lasted a few seconds then was gone.

This morning a strong voice suddenly said to me, "There is only one element: the Light and the Dark, just this and nothing more!" Then the whole visual field flashed white and then black, as if to emphasize the point, and it was over. I have this feeling this was something important, and, after discussing this with a friend who also practices, they related this to the Tao which produces the Yin and Yang, which come together as one in the famous symbol, and this produces the other aspects of reality. I also think it is a message to stick to things more fundamental as a basis, even as I explore the Water Element, which is still part of the project.

Tearing the office apart to reclaim it as the bedroom it originally was so as to get the house(s) ready to sell as part of the strip-down project. Working a lot. Editing MCTB2 proceeds: about 140 pages into 4th careful pass through, and it is getting there.

Just reporting snippets.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/27/16 7:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
More interesting to me is what others have found annoying about it and wished to see clarified or revised, as if you have suggestions, now is the time.

Though a bid late to the party, just started to read MCTB and immatiately could relate to the pragmatic approach to the practice of Dhamma. Though mysef practicing Goenka-style only. Love your passion for the essentials, which is felt through each of your words.

About your opinion on the watered down versions of Dhamma-teachings in the west I just read. - It reminded me of my own reservations written 11 years ago concerning the opposite kind in my tradition, by expecting too much from lay people not ready for serious pratice yet. Though I do love the sense of urgency for essential practice in your capter. It also has been true from the beginning, that 'there are only few with little sand in their eyes', and already at the time of the Buddha most lay people were advised to practice the 6 recollection on uposatha-days only. Before becoming ready to renounce and meditate.

With the new retreat-formats available also for not so ready lay people, all of that has to be considered too. And this new found form of lay-people practice in the west recognized as such. But without the surounding confussion what's lay people's practice, and what's for more serious meditators. In the olden days, mostly monks and nuns.

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/27/16 8:05 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
This morning a strong voice suddenly said to me, "There is only one element: the Light and the Dark, just this and nothing more!" Then the whole visual field flashed white and then black, as if to emphasize the point, and it was over. I have this feeling this was something important, and, after discussing this with a friend who also practices, they related this to the Tao which produces the Yin and Yang, which come together as one in the famous symbol, and this produces the other aspects of reality. I also think it is a message to stick to things more fundamental as a basis, even as I explore the Water Element, which is still part of the project.

I'm struck by the paradox of one element: white-and-black. I went to the idea of Taoism, too. Maybe the primordial void/chaos?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundun#Daoist_texts

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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11/27/16 10:13 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Another random thought... maybe acknowledging the one element from which all elements arise will allow you to focus on the water element without becoming unbalanced? In other words, focusing on one element to the exclusion of other elements is intentionally biased of course, but maybe holding it within the context of the primordial element will allow you to investigate water without causing jealousy/demands from the other elements?

I recall reading somewhere in the Thai/Burmese tradition that when the monk would get settled for the evening practice, he would first express appreciation for the local spirit entities and let them know that he intended no ill will. Maybe along the same lines, you could first converse with the one element before beginning to work with the water element.

Obviously trust your instincts on these ideas and feel free to take or leave or modify them!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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12/3/16 4:21 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
If you haven't seen the movie Doctor Strange and you like cartoonish action adventure movies, I highly recommend it. Not only are the graphics off-the-charts good, but the themes are perennially coming up in spiritual practice.


A Marvel movie about meditation and magick... I'm there!!! Thanks for the heads up, Daniel!

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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12/11/16 9:07 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I just saw Doctor Strange and loved it.  Thank you for recommending it.

Jeremy

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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12/13/16 9:01 PM as a reply to Jeremy Kranz.
Glad you liked it! Good stuff, that movie.

On a completely different topic: do you ever feel like you are getting dumber, like things you knew well years ago are things you are now struggling to remember and practice well? Well, I had one of those moments.

A series of unfortunate events sometime in the past caused me to have the powerfully compelling feeling that I should stream crackling black lightening off my hands in destructive torrents at a target. This clearly being a karmically horrible idea, not to mention obviously immoral, I have not given into the potent urge, and instead have basically shut down the unskillful feeling through force of will and tried various diversionary tactics. However, the feeling has resurged again and again, each time to be unreleased.

After some discussion of this with various magickal and dharmic practitioners, and having tried various solutions, including substituting loving-kindness, equanimity, and other practices instead, such as various energetic and vipassana-based practices, and pondering trying to simply arc all the dark energy to ground like lightening is prone to do, the Earth clearly being able to absorb vast charges of lightening, yet I found all these unsatisfying for various reasons.

Then, just recently, while contemplating this problem yet again during meditation, finally I chanced upon memories of lessons that I myself learned clearly two decades ago, as well as even wrote about in MCTB, that being the section on Harnessing the Energey of the Defilements in Part II. Rememberining that anger clearly has some sweetness to it, come caring mixed into it, and suddenly tuning into that component of the feeling in the body and energy body as jhanic object, the unsavory elements of the urge just dissolved into the sweetness, the caring, and suddenly the urge was gone in a way it hadn't been before. I had a serious "Duh!" moment, and so my report of that here.

Perhaps this will be helpful to someone else also,

Daniel

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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12/14/16 8:37 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


On a completely different topic: do you ever feel like you are getting dumber, like things you knew well years ago are things you are now struggling to remember and practice well? Well, I had one of those moments.
This seems to be a common occurence in many (all?) fields, and has nothing to do with getting dumb. When teaching, one often notices that this is really helpful for oneself! Why? (Among other things) because then you often realize that you are not following your own advice m(

I tend to think of this phenomenon as simply a trick of the mind: Some new situations comes up and the mind goes all "omg this thing is so special, nothing I know would solve this problem, I have to find something NEWWW".
(And then you ask your Vipassana teacher about it, and they will tell you "Did you note it?" and you're like "I've heard this before... ah damnit, but this won't happen to me again!")

But looking for a new solution isn't always bad, so one could as well consider this phenomenon as a feature rather than as a bug.

A series of unfortunate events sometime in the past caused me to have the powerfully compelling feeling that I should stream crackling black lightening off my hands in destructive torrents at a target. This clearly being a karmically horrible idea, not to mention obviously immoral, I have not given into the potent urge, and instead have basically shut down the unskillful feeling through force of will and tried various diversionary tactics. However, the feeling has resurged again and again, each time to be unreleased.
Most people (myself included) do not worry about wanting to shoot lightning bolts at people. I wonder if this is a common side effect for everyone who goes down the magickal path far enough?

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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12/14/16 5:39 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
I once (30 years ago) was so mad at someone I wanted to make a wax doll and stick pins in it. I was Christian at the time and eventually fell on my knees and begged God to deliver me from my anger. It lifted, for about 2 weeks, but then the seductiveness of the emotion gradually got me again. Since arriving at 4th path three years ago I have not been fiercely angry at anyone, although I have been pissed from time to time. The longest it lasts is a day or two. It's been a terrific relief. I guess the way practice affects emotions is variable. 

RE: Daniel Ingram's Practice Log
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12/15/16 10:26 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel,

Nice to see you posting again.

I had a question regarding this:
A series of unfortunate events sometime in the past caused me to have the powerfully compelling feeling that I should stream crackling black lightening off my hands in destructive torrents at a target. This clearly being a karmically horrible idea, not to mention obviously immoral, I have not given into the potent urge, and instead have basically shut down the unskillful feeling through force of will and tried various diversionary tactics. However, the feeling has resurged again and again, each time to be unreleased.
I thought karma was only generated by intentional action, not by pure intention alone? And also not by pure action alone, that's where the Buddha differed from the Jains.