Appropriate retreats/teachers for layman after SE?

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James Phillip Turpin, modified 7 Years ago.

Appropriate retreats/teachers for layman after SE?

Posts: 21 Join Date: 6/16/13 Recent Posts
Dear Dharma Overground Sangha,

After getting instruction in meditating on not-self and emptiness from several sources (New Kadampa Tradition, dharmaseed.org, Thelema/OTO, a hypnotherapist with some Zen and martial arts background, etc.), and putting it into practice during work-a-day and leisure activities rather than merely during formal meditation, I may have had some attainment. I'm assuming its Stream Entry (SE) just because that's what matches up as far as I know. Anyway, my identification with my own consciousness, personality, and habits has loosened, I'm convinced that the practices the Buddha taught work, and because of the fruits of meditation and understanding that causal chain through direct experience, I don't believe that rituals or rites such as merely chanting mantras or going through motions of initiations or empowerments or retreats will lead directly to enlightenment. I've also been able to better cope with pain from a mosquito bite and muscles aches by examining the pain as a phenomena that arises and passes away without identifying with the experience. Not only does that diminish the suffering for me, but often the pain itself goes away.

Although I'm quite thankful for past instruction, I'm a bit disillusioned with these organizations I've been recently involved with in-person (New Kadampa Tradition, and Ordo Templi Orientis) in terms of how I expect them to help me along the path in the future. I think that instructions aimed at people who are attached to ritual are perhaps not the best instructions for me anymore.

Regardless of whether you agree that my experience is SE, (and feel free to comment), I would like suggestions on what to do next in terms of books, retreats, instructors, etc. I currently reside and work in or near Olympia, Washington, about 60 miles South of Seattle. I don't know people in person who talk about having attained SE or higher attainments, so I'm not sure who would be a qualified instructor, or a good organization for retreats. Outside of translations of Buddhist canonical texts, and Daniel's book which I downloaded, I'm not even sure about which books I should study. I intend to continue with the MP3 audio files on dharmaseed.org as well. But I would like suggestions and advice from people with more attainments especially.

Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,
James Turpin
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fivebells ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Appropriate retreats/teachers for layman after SE?

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
George Draffan lives in Seattle, and he is a solid teacher.
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Appropriate retreats/teachers for layman after SE?

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi James,

Welcome to the DhO.

I'm glad fivebells had a recommendation for you.

All I can say is if you can find a teacher who expresses good clear knowledge and which lacks conceit, arrogance, then in my book there's probably a useful teaching relationship there.

Also, I enjoyed the way you expressed yourself several times in your opening post, e.g., "(...)perhaps not the best instructions for me anymore."

Thank you,
Katy
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James Phillip Turpin, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Appropriate retreats/teachers for layman after SE?

Posts: 21 Join Date: 6/16/13 Recent Posts
Fivebells and Katy Steger,

Thank you both very much for the advice.

It turns out that Daniel's MCTB book puts both my recent and long past experiences into a conceptual framework that makes sense. For example, earlier this month I had one (but only one) experience that was somewhat like what Daniel describes in the "Three Doors". However, based on Daniel's descriptions of many stages, I am now confident that it was not that. Perhaps it was A&P, perhaps not, but either way that disproves SE. His descriptions of the Jhanas also puts many things into a conceptual context that may help me to repeat past experiences and go even farther.

MCTB also gives me some promising avenues to progress both on and off the mat. Thanks in part to MCTB, right now I think that 2 hours on the mat locally would be more beneficial than 2 hours commuting for a brief instruction in Seattle, but its very nice to know that I have some possible access to a qualified instructor such a George Draffan in case I stop making progress. I also plan to more thoroughly search the local community for qualified instructors and possible Dharma friends.

Thanks again.

James
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Appropriate retreats/teachers for layman after SE?

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
I always recommend reading MCTB twice. Once to get the vocab and framework then again to get all the concepts in detail....it's got an amazing amount of stuff in it and when you move to new territory it is again chock full 'o good stuff that I seem to have missed the first times.
I'm in Seattle. PM if you want to chat or meditate or go grab some tea.
~D

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