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Eliminating Emotional Affect

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Eliminating Emotional Affect Mike Knapp 7/4/13 4:02 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/4/13 4:37 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Mike Knapp 7/4/13 8:42 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Daniel M. Ingram 7/5/13 3:43 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/6/13 11:54 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/7/13 12:02 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/7/13 7:55 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect C P M 7/6/13 1:06 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/6/13 8:39 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Adam . . 7/7/13 12:01 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Daniel M. Ingram 7/7/13 1:37 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/7/13 2:25 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Brian Eleven 7/7/13 3:58 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/7/13 7:22 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect My Fragile Ego 7/7/13 10:06 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Daniel M. Ingram 7/7/13 6:06 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Bruno Loff 7/7/13 7:35 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/7/13 7:58 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Brian Eleven 7/8/13 9:37 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Bruno Loff 7/8/13 12:02 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Brian Eleven 7/8/13 1:31 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Bruno Loff 7/9/13 7:32 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Matthew 7/8/13 1:49 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Bruno Loff 7/9/13 4:28 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Adam . . 7/7/13 8:28 PM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Victor S B Cova 7/8/13 5:26 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Shashank Dixit 7/6/13 11:54 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Change A. 7/6/13 11:59 AM
RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect Shashank Dixit 7/6/13 10:00 PM
Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/4/13 4:02 PM
Hey Guys and Gals,

I was watching Daniel Ingram's talk at Cheetah House (which you can see here) and around minute/second 55:45 he mentions a woman he knows who used her extra mental horse-power post-SE to completely eliminate affect in her emotional life. This is pretty amazing to me, and the way he discusses it, it sounds like this is not necessarily what usually happens upon a yogi's attainment of Four Path under the Traditional Model; rather, it sounds like this is something else, something extra . . . something one would have to do extra stuff to get (like stuff beyond bare insight practice).

Does anybody know anything about practices that eliminate emotional affect in this way? Know any resources on this topic? Have anything to say about this topic general?

I'm just looking for information, support, advice, whatever, along these lines, so anything anybody has to say is much appreciated.

Thanks, Folks.

- Mike

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/4/13 4:37 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
If I recall correctly I think he was referring to actual freedom. The main website is here. The site is not intuitive to navigate, but treat it more as a site where you have to read each word instead of skipping around, going to different topics & reading more as you hit on new topics, etc., and take time to get into it, if you're really interested.

Be forewarned, this is a hot topic! It's well worth getting into, though, in my opinion. If you'd like to discuss it more feel free to PM me.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/4/13 8:42 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
If I recall correctly I think he was referring to actual freedom. The main website is here. The site is not intuitive to navigate. . . take time to get into it, if you're really interested.


Thanks for the pointer, Beoman. I gave the site a quick once-over several months back and got turned-off by its - I don't know, I guess "lack of clarity" would be the phrase I'm looking for. But based on your recommendation I'll give it another go, this time taking more time. I think I'll PM you too, so we can discuss the general concepts/practice of AF off-board (unless you feel like laying them out here, which is fine too).

Does anyone else have any takes on what Dan Ingram was talking about in that interview, other practices they think might lead to the elimination of emotional affect, or; just general thoughts on the subject as a whole?

Please and thank you,

- Mike Knapp

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/5/13 3:43 AM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
This all gets very complicated, unfortunately.

Would that certain people, who will remain unnamed (unfortunately) would chime in, and you know who you are... ;)

Anyway, the bottom line is basically this:

I personally know a handful of people who have claimed that they have eliminated all emotional affective feelings, specifically by following some version of the teachings of Actualism, though the Genitor (as Richard calls himself) of Actualism didn't approve of all of those claims and certainly not of all of those methods, as they often fused some Buddhist concepts with Actualist ones, something Richard very much doesn't like. A lot of this history can be found here on this forum and other related sister fora.

Two people who I know who have claimed this have later said that they were wrong, that there was still affect, one of which is T J Broccoli, who has posted about this recently on this forum, and the other one is remaining somewhat out of all this for the moment for reasons that are not entirely clear.

A third one I can't get in touch with for unknown reasons, and so how their claim has held up over the years is unknown: a few phone calls and emails have garnered no responses, which I consider somewhat odd, but then life is odd, isn't it?

A person who claimed that they were free of feelings and later recounted this has told me that the person I mention in the video has recounted her claim, but this is hearsay, so who knows? I haven't gotten in touch with her to verify this.

I know one more who still claims that they have done it and it stuck, with them also claiming to have gotten arahatship in a few weeks or so of practice before they did that.

Numerous reports show that there is some chaos among some of the other "Newly Free" of Actualism, including some recent posts by Justine over at the Yahoo Actualism forum that show him recounting some aspects of his support for Richard and some claims related to that as well as a few things related to his daughter and whether or not she was actually free, as well as the seeming disappearance from public discourse of Peter (correct me if I am wrong on that point), one of the large contributors to the Actual Freedom Trust website.

The chaos is actually much vaster than that, and, if you subscribe to the Yahoo Actualism forum and sift back through the last few months, it will make for reading that few soap-opera authors writers could possibly compete with in terms of sheer over-the-top crazy. I finally had to unsubscribe as it was blowing up my email in-box.

I hope that helps somewhat. Let me know if you have further questions, as this topic, for all the high drama of it, is an important one.

Daniel

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/6/13 11:54 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Have you been in touch with Tarin? or Trent?

Why haven't you gotten in touch with the person you mention in the video?

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/6/13 11:54 AM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
Mike Knapp:
Hey Guys and Gals,

I was watching Daniel Ingram's talk at Cheetah House (which you can see here) and around minute/second 55:45 he mentions a woman he knows who used her extra mental horse-power post-SE to completely eliminate affect in her emotional life. This is pretty amazing to me, and the way he discusses it, it sounds like this is not necessarily what usually happens upon a yogi's attainment of Four Path under the Traditional Model; rather, it sounds like this is something else, something extra . . . something one would have to do extra stuff to get (like stuff beyond bare insight practice).

Does anybody know anything about practices that eliminate emotional affect in this way? Know any resources on this topic? Have anything to say about this topic general?

I'm just looking for information, support, advice, whatever, along these lines, so anything anybody has to say is much appreciated.

Thanks, Folks.

- Mike


Here is one quick gist from the AFT :-

1. Activate the long-ago buried sincerity so as to make possible a pure intent to bring about peace and harmony sooner rather than later.
2. Set the standard of experiencing, each moment again, as feeling felicitous/ innocuous come-what-may.
3. Where felicity/ innocuity is not occurring find out why not.
4. Seeing the silliness at having felicity/ innocuity be usurped, by either the negative or positive feelings, for whatever reason that might be automatically restores felicity/ innocuity.
5. Repeated occurrences of the same cause for felicity/ innocuity loss alerts pre-recognition of impending dissipation which enables pre-emption and ensures a more persistent felicity/ innocuity through habituation.
6. Habitual felicity/ innocuity, and its concomitant enjoyment and appreciation, facilitates naïve sensuosity ... a consistent state of wide-eyed wonder, amazement, marvel, and delight.
7. Naiveté, in conjunction with felicitous/ innocuous sensuosity, being the nearest a ‘self’ can come to innocence, allows the overarching benignity and benevolence inherent to the infinitude this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe actually is to operate more and more freely.
8. This intrinsic benignity and benevolence, which has nothing to do with affective happiness and harmlessness, will do the rest.
9. Sit back and enjoy the ride of a lifetime!

I highlighted point 8 because one needs something out of the human condition to eliminate it - and that is Pure Intent.

cheers !
Shashank

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/6/13 11:59 AM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
Shashank Dixit:
I highlighted point 8 because one needs something out of the human condition to eliminate it - and that is Pure Intent.


Shashank, do you consider Pure Intent to be physical in nature as Claudiu thinks it to be? How do you tap into Pure intent?

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/6/13 1:06 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
This isn't related to Actualism, but I watched an interview with Gary Weber, and it sounds like there isn't much in the way of emotion in his daily experience.

Robert Wright Interviews Gary Weber

Around the 13:10 mark he says “there are some limbic fears... that the brain holds on to... someone cuts you off in traffic, there is a clinching for the second it happens...then it just stops”.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/6/13 8:39 PM as a reply to C P M.
Thanks for the link.

12:17 "Sensation comes in, apprehension of sensation. There is just no, after that, running off into anything else because it is not as interesting to the brain......."

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/6/13 10:00 PM as a reply to Change A..
Change A.:
Shashank Dixit:
I highlighted point 8 because one needs something out of the human condition to eliminate it - and that is Pure Intent.


Shashank, do you consider Pure Intent to be physical in nature as Claudiu thinks it to be? How do you tap into Pure intent?


It was one of my biggest AHA moments in recent times when I finally got just what is this pure intent. Earlier I used to think that
it is the intent to arrive at PCE/AF or in other words a desire to be in a PCE/AF until I happened to read word by word what
Richard had advised to Tarin. It really really paid and somewhere along those words , it clicked. The crucial part that made the understanding clear was that pure intent is not of "my" doing as "me" is corrupt through and through. I can now sense(aka tap)
into this Pure Intent as a "smooth, benign, unchaotic flow" in the very activity of all physical matter. What is interesting is
that the moment I tap into it, I am able to feel something which Richard has aptly called naiveté - I like to call it the "universe"
mode of seeing things emoticon

So in all I can suggest reading Richard's reply to Tarin because this is what finally cleared my understanding. Its totally worth it.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 12:01 AM as a reply to C P M.
C P M:
This isn't related to Actualism, but I watched an interview with Gary Weber, and it sounds like there isn't much in the way of emotion in his daily experience.

Robert Wright Interviews Gary Weber

Around the 13:10 mark he says “there are some limbic fears... that the brain holds on to... someone cuts you off in traffic, there is a clinching for the second it happens...then it just stops”.


hey thanks for that link hadn't seen this one, very nice interview.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 12:02 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
This all gets very complicated, unfortunately.

Would that certain people, who will remain unnamed (unfortunately) would chime in, and you know who you are... ;)


I think I know who this person is and hope will come on here and write.

Daniel M. Ingram:
A person who claimed that they were free of feelings and later recounted this has told me that the person I mention in the video has recounted her claim, but this is hearsay, so who knows? I haven't gotten in touch with her to verify this.


Daniel, do you know if this person still reads DhO? If not, do you have any other way of getting in touch with this person?

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 1:37 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
@Adam: I would ask Kenneth Folk about Gary Weber and see what he says.

@CCC: politics: the worst part of all of this is politics. I will see what I can do on that front. I don't expect great success.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 2:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I guess you meant @change where you wrote @ccc?

I have sent a message through DhO to the person I think you are talking about in the linked video and let that person know about this thread just in case that person has been unaware of this.

Edit: Would you be able to tell the name of the person who still claims that they have done it and it stuck?

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 3:58 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
@Adam: I would ask Kenneth Folk about Gary Weber and see what he says.


Who cares what Kenneth Folk has to say about anything, let alone Gary Weber???

Brian

Edit: Yes, I am aware of their recent disagreement.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 7:22 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
Yes, I am aware of their recent disagreement.


I wasn't aware of their disagreement but just checked it out.

I wonder why Gary didn't reply to Nikolai's question.

This freedom from whatever/enlightenment is getting difficult with the addition of each new biggie in it.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 6:06 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Regarding what Kenneth has to say about Gary, while we are none of us perfect, Kenneth has been doing all this a long time and is someone who was very interested in what Gary says he has done and he did spend a lot of time trying to sort out exactly what it was, what it wasn't, how it functioned in the real world, what other people around Gary though of what he had done, how the internal experience and external manifestation did or didn't align, how the phenomenology of it worked or didn't, and that sort of thing, so I do think that as one more data point from an old friend (albeit a friend I have had my share of disagreements with at various points) there are reasons to include his carefully researched and thoughtful point of view on this, not that it is the definitive one, but certainly one worthy of consideration.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 7:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wow, I just read the Garry vs Kenneth thread, and golly!

It is mostly a vague sense of recognition... If I were to spell it out, I might note the following familiar features: Precise memory and articulate speech. The unassailable conviction that he has the highest achievement, and that his intentions are 100% good and pure, together with the agenda to spread that view. A tendency to smear those who oppose that view, not by exhibiting feelings about them, but by choosing the facts which are brought up in conversation, or by interpreting them in the least favorable way.

I get the exact same creepy feeling from Gary's writing that I nowadays get from Richard's. I wouldn't trust him with a ten foot pole! I wonder if I'm headed that way...

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 7:58 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
I get the exact same creepy feeling from Gary's writing that I nowadays get from Richard's. I wouldn't trust him with a ten foot pole! I wonder if I'm headed that way...


I hear you loud and clear Bruno because I also wonder if I'm headed that way...... emoticon

Peace be upon everyone whose ultimate goal is peace on earth ;)

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 7:55 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
A person who claimed that they were free of feelings and later recounted this has told me that the person I mention in the video has recounted her claim, but this is hearsay, so who knows? I haven't gotten in touch with her to verify this.


I think it is Stefanie you are talking about in the video and I did message her about this and this is what she has to say:

Start of quote:

Hi,

My account at the DhO is no longer accessible to me (I don't remember the password). So I'll write a message here, which I authorize you to re-post in the thread on my behalf, if you don't mind.

I am not sure who all the unnamed people are in Daniel's post are; so I can't report on any of the hearsay there. But I'll give you this information about myself, and my experiences, directly.

Firstly, let me cut to the chase: I absolutely retract any claim whatsoever to being 100% free of affect. I probably exist in the state that in actualism is known as "Virtual Freedom." I am entirely happy and harmless 99% of the time, but there are moments when emotions arise.

I can also say, without a doubt, that I do still experience "vibrations," and can "read/sense" the vibrations of others quite acutely. Mostly it doesn't bother me one bit--in fact, I find it quite difficult to "tell" the difference between "my" vibrations and the vibrations of "others."

About two years ago, I was asked to participate in a mediation study at Yale along with some other DhOers. It was discovered, in the course of that study, that I had (have) a brain tumor. I took this news with absolute calm and have generally not been in the least "freaked out" by it. I think those who were present when the news wwas broken, who who read and sometimes participate on this forum, can certainly attest to that.

In general, this is my mode of being; but interpersonal matters have produced within me affective reactions--undoubtedly.

If you would like my pure and unadulterated opinion about the entire thing--the collection of AF folks here, all of whom I've come to know incredibly well or did at one time, I will give it (a rarity on these fora). In my opinion, none of the people I interacted with were either free of "beliefs" or affect. There seemed to be an abundance of beliefs which ranged from the truly absurd (such as, perhaps my brown skin could 'rub off' upon one--which is just racist, and racism is simply a culturally inherited belief system) to the more sophisticated (such as, one should travel and be rootless without a job to experience greater liberation--perhaps some of us agree with this, but it is a belief, an idea, nonetheless).

By and by, it was also suggested to me that I pay someone $200 a month to teach me how to teach others Buddhism so I could be a better help and money was requested from me on other occasions, to invest and so on; which could have been utterly innocent but given these contexts also utterly improper.

After my many experiences with people who supposedly shared the same state of being as myself, I decided to 1) get out of the business of making claims, 2) refuse to let anyone position themselves as a teacher or quasi-guru in my own practice and path, and 3) stop participating in online fora where everything is essentially a rhetorical performance which bears only a small resemblance to what is going on in the actual world.

Furthermore, it became clear that any criticism of certain posters on the DhO would be met with a jargonistic close reading which would render the person's original intent and meaning utterly moot and if the person dared persist, he or she might find him or her self banned for the forum. So though I was urged, at one point, to post "the truth," by someone close to another AF claimant, I refrained from doing so.

I share all of this to say that the less one is invested in any cult of personality, the better. The more one is mindfully applied to his or her own daily experience, the better. This is what I try to do if I have a "practice," (which I do not) at all. It is simply to be here, right now. I do not read the DhO. I do not subscribe to the Actualism Yahoo list. I only continue to regularly to talk to one AF claimant, who, as far as I know, has not retracted his claim (nor do I see him doing so).

So, that, in a nutshell, is an update as well as, I'm sure, enough information to keep this thread active a long time. I only attempted to the speak the truth in the hope that if any of you are reading this forum and thinking you want to be like "X," poster, and thinking that "X" poster can give you the "golden ticket" to obliterate your suffering--think again. You are "X" poster...and your teaching is waiting for you out there.

Best,
Stefanie

End of quote.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 8:28 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
@Adam: I would ask Kenneth Folk about Gary Weber and see what he says.

@CCC: politics: the worst part of all of this is politics. I will see what I can do on that front. I don't expect great success.


I'd prefer to trust in my own practice. If you hate the politics then why are you bringing up a political debate? Especially when you are capable of such excellent practice advice and apparently have some high attainment yourself...

It's interesting how in the pali canon even arahants would seek solitude, probably because they wouldn't have to deal with all this stuff. I think that unless you are omniscient you will still be prey to views and behaviors that seem totally misguided from other perspectives. For all we know Kenneth and Gary are both totally enlightened dudes with excellent intentions and without much conceit and just have very different conditioning that causes them to see each other as people without those excellent intentions and attainments.

p.s. this is by no means a criticism of you daniel, I am just saying that there is NO way around the politics and subjectivity. any view outside of the contents of here & now bare awareness are going to be wrong from some perspective. Gary's views are wrong from Kenneth's perspective and the reverse.

"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/7/13 10:06 PM as a reply to Change A..
Change A.:
Brian Eleven:
Yes, I am aware of their recent disagreement.


I wasn't aware of their disagreement but just checked it out.

I wonder why Gary didn't reply to Nikolai's question.

This freedom from whatever/enlightenment is getting difficult with the addition of each new biggie in it.


Haha yeah I was really hoping Gary would reply to Nikolai's question too. The more I read of Nikolai's post the more excited I got haha, thinking to myself - oh yeah, this really gets into the nitty gritty.

Then nothing.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/8/13 5:26 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
All of this has been a very interesting thread to read, confirming a few suspicions I had.

1) Following what Kenneth says in that debate with Weber, it might be more accurate to talk about EnlightenmentS than about Enlightenment. Not that "it's what you make of it", and it's a completely relativistic thing. But that we can be reasonably pluralist and consider that there is a range of experiences that can qualify as enlightenment, that the difference between these will come both from a difference in techniques used and from a difference in individual history. All of that makes sense, because even though we have pretty much the same organs etc, each of us has a unique history, and our practice acts upon this history. The choice in technique will come from that history, from what we perceive to be "good", "desirable", "reasonable" too. For instance, I find the whole "no affect / no emotion" thing terrifying, and I'd rather go with an "all affects / all emotions - and be ok with them all".

2) I agree with Adam, "there is NO way around the politics and subjectivity". Buddhists are usually quite bad at politics. The belief that "if we all get enlightened then there will be peace in the world" is just false. It will still be difficult to understand each other, there will still be scarce resources, there will still be different cultures and different languages, etc. And that's a good thing. I'm reassured by that. "Enlightenment" seems to be about becoming more human, not less, and politics is what we do. Conflict is a necessary part of social life, especially among equals (and the absence of any conflict usually means authoritarianism). So these debates, schisms and counter schisms are a good thing, for me at least. Then it's a question of how these conflicts are managed, how people speak (or write) to each other, and making sure people don't kill each other. Which, by the way, buddhists are not historically always very good at, and Zen buddhists even less so, cf Buddhist Warfare, by Michael Jerryson and Zen at War by Brian Victoria.

Thanks to Daniel for creating and maintaining a great arena for these conflict to take place and for humans to learn how to become even more human.

V

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/8/13 9:37 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Wow, I just read the Garry vs Kenneth thread, and golly!

It is mostly a vague sense of recognition... If I were to spell it out, I might note the following familiar features: Precise memory and articulate speech. The unassailable conviction that he has the highest achievement, and that his intentions are 100% good and pure, together with the agenda to spread that view. A tendency to smear those who oppose that view, not by exhibiting feelings about them, but by choosing the facts which are brought up in conversation, or by interpreting them in the least favorable way.

I get the exact same creepy feeling from Gary's writing that I nowadays get from Richard's. I wouldn't trust him with a ten foot pole! I wonder if I'm headed that way...


Ha, I actually thought you were going to say you get the same creepy feeling from Kenneth's writing as you do from Richards!
Amazing how different people can feel exactly the same, but about the opposite sides of a discussion.
Life is a crazy, and fun, ride no?

Brian

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/8/13 12:02 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
Bruno Loff:
Wow, I just read the Garry vs Kenneth thread, and golly!

It is mostly a vague sense of recognition... If I were to spell it out, I might note the following familiar features: Precise memory and articulate speech. The unassailable conviction that he has the highest achievement, and that his intentions are 100% good and pure, together with the agenda to spread that view. A tendency to smear those who oppose that view, not by exhibiting feelings about them, but by choosing the facts which are brought up in conversation, or by interpreting them in the least favorable way.

I get the exact same creepy feeling from Gary's writing that I nowadays get from Richard's. I wouldn't trust him with a ten foot pole! I wonder if I'm headed that way...


Ha, I actually thought you were going to say you get the same creepy feeling from Kenneth's writing as you do from Richards!
Amazing how different people can feel exactly the same, but about the opposite sides of a discussion.
Life is a crazy, and fun, ride no?

Brian


How could you possibly think that I was referencing Kenneth in my paragraph? His speech is neither precise nor particularly articulate. He is not meticulous and argues in broad strokes. He expresses uncertainty about his views in more than one passage. He does not defend the purity of his intentions, and in fact he himself offers an example of an attitude on his part which is far from "pure" (the tendency of thinking about others as not-having-his-achievements). I do agree that he has an agenda in the discussion, but I don't think he would deny it if he was confronted with it... I would trust someone who is willing to admit his flaws instead of someone who believes he has none. Finally, the parts where he is derisive are subtly sarcastic, whereas Garry attacks by a dry choice of interpretation. In most aspects, Kenneth's writing seems the antithesis of Richard's.

Kenneth expresses various attitudes and postures which Richard NEVER has (and I think never will), such as: admitting for the fact that he makes mistakes and may be completely wrong, that he is not always self-consistent, that he might not be seeing things clearly, that he is sometimes flawed and arrogant...

Hardly shocking things, and in fact all of these are true for Richard (and possibly Garry), but are nowhere to be found in the way Richard writes about himself (and this seems also true for Garry).

You maintain that Kenneth's writing style in that post is comparable to Richard?! If so, I challenge you to provide examples (like I have).

Heh emoticon I should comment that in defending Kenneth it is not because I have anything at stake with respect to his particular view of the spiritual path. Actually I often disagree with what he writes and am not so keen on his teaching style. I have had (very helpful) lessons with him about three years ago, but haven't had contact with him or his forum student/buddies in two years or so. Furthermore I find, in his discourse, a certain bullshit-spiritual-pseudo-wisdom typical of meditation teachers, which I really dislike. But I would take that any day over the subtle egolatry that I see hinted in Garry's way of writing... I've had my share of dissociated egomaniacs to last me a lifetime, thank you (and that is what is at stake for me in this discussion).

Stephanie's advice is spot on. I really do wish she would post (or email me) about the episodes she is referring to.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/8/13 1:31 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I haven't attempted to read anything by Richard, or Kenneth, for a very long time. It seemed like Kenneth stopped posting on his site so I got out of the habit of checking into it. Richard I recall was very unclear, seemingly on purpose. But it may have been my own short coming, who knows.
What I was referring to, regarding Richard and Kenneth, was that they both seem to be confused and like to change there stories, again only from what I recall.
Who is AF seems to change with some regularity with Richard, and what enlightenment/awakening is changes with Kenneth as well. Lord only knows how many levels he's got now, last I heard it was 10.

My previous post was more about how different perspectives can be between people on the same subject.
If you would like to continue this conversation you'll have to do it without me responding to your "challenges", or anything you say, I'm afraid. We differ in opinion and I'm not really interested in justifying mine or trying to prove you wrong. I apologize if anything I have said was taken as an insult, I'm trying to express myself as clearly as I can, and may well have failed miserably.

Brian

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/8/13 1:49 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I suspect Kenneth talks about the teachings in broad strokes in part to keep them explicable for beginning meditators. To give one example, some of the most interesting & heated debates on KFD and elsewhere, about Buddhist practice modalities vs. actualism/direct mode, would be impossible to explain to those without experiential knowledge of the concepts being described. Weber and KF are both aware that random new meditators will be reading the exchange, and their rhetorical positioning in the debate reflects that (this is a totally random impression).

Regarding "bullshit-spiritual-pseudo-wisdom typical of meditation teachers", if you mean Kenneth's emphasis on the emotional and intrapersonal (i.e. people finally being able to love who they are in the present without reservation) benefits of insight progress, I think it's a smart way to bring people into the practice. Kenneth and other pragmatists are trying to convince people that meditation for stream-entry is a good thing to do, which is a major problem meditation teachers in the West haven't really attempted to solve, and some early popularizers have arguably made worse by implying the goal of meditation is carebear feelings or a complement to psychotherapy, with enlightenment as some vague and secondary concept off to the side. It's hard to beat Kenneth's simple language about real benefits of meditation that are specifically relevant to regular people. It's just that hearing about these benefits is pointless for advanced practitioners, and reading about them over and over gets really annoying. I don't know if it's a style problem on Kenneth's part or that you're too advanced for his entry-level material.

I think there's a set of people who have had 1) spontaneous experiences satisfying a deep emotional need or 2) intellectual fascination with dharma, who would practice insight meditation for stream-entry if it were properly explained to them, but if it isn't, they will instead go for whatever practice is most satisfying to their dominant faculty; to generalize greatly, this might be neo-Advaita for emotional satisfaction or Zen to tantalize the intellect. Obviously both neo-Advaita and Zen can lead to stream-entry, but all else being equal, it seems pragmatic Mahasi noting + kasina/breath jhana + eclectic tools have an insane stream-entry success rate compared to the more rigid practice frameworks of imported traditions.

As we all know perhaps too well, Daniel's writing style is incredibly precise and clinical to prevent the reader from forming misconceptions, but MCTB1 is pretty light on concrete details of the benefits of meditation, which judging by posts on other forums, may have scared away some readers who are casually interested in Buddhism and/or meditation. I prefer Daniel's style to the opposite extreme of a teacher promising infinite happiness forever-and-ever, but I'm also comfortable with Kenneth's position somewhere in the middle.

These are just random impressions but I hope they prove interesting. Forgive my rambling.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/9/13 7:32 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
I haven't attempted to read anything by Richard, or Kenneth, for a very long time. It seemed like Kenneth stopped posting on his site so I got out of the habit of checking into it. Richard I recall was very unclear, seemingly on purpose. But it may have been my own short coming, who knows.
What I was referring to, regarding Richard and Kenneth, was that they both seem to be confused and like to change there stories, again only from what I recall.
Who is AF seems to change with some regularity with Richard, and what enlightenment/awakening is changes with Kenneth as well. Lord only knows how many levels he's got now, last I heard it was 10.


Ha, I didn't know of those things. Richard's writing, I've found, can be very clear. But you are right, with respect to a repeated attitude of "shifting the bar ever higher," there is a similarity.

In either case, it appears you have not acquainted yourself all that deeply with Richard's writing, and that your interest in the matter is not too deep. In this case, the fact that we have taken diverse views on this particular matter is not too surprising. Nor is my own deeper interest in pursuing this discussion.

There are indeed several instances of Richard shifting the bar, and generally going back and forth between opinions of who is "actually free" or not.

But I tend to believe that Kenneth's addition of new levels to his system is mostly due to his own advancement, to him finding out new ways of progressing, and maybe it can be said, due to his own confusion and uncertainty... in one word: it seems honest to me (though my knowledge of Kenneth is superficial).

However, there are reports of Richard doing this in order to obtain direct personal gain — specifically, I was told by a source in whom I trust that he in turn was told (by one of the husbands) that Richard started having sex with some of his female followers in order to, quote "facilitate their liberation," and that at some point after these activities began, (my source claims,) Richard declared one of them to have been "the first to come to completion"! Later he would repeat the pattern with a different female follower, including declaring her to have been the first to reach some other level in his shifting bar. [1]

So you see, we are dealing with two entirely different beasts. And that is why I thought it important to repair your comparison between Kenneth and Richard in a public exchange. If this issue was not so eminently political, I could well have written you a private message instead. In light of what I have just written, please understand my motivations and don't take offense, if I have challenged you to reply in such an insistent manner.

Take care emoticon

[1] Edited for clarity in whom claims what. I should add that the claim that Richard acted in this way for his own personal gain is my own assessment, Richard himself seems to completely believe his good intentions. But this is just one episode among many, who paint a coherent story of a corrupt man, who is nonetheless ignorant of his own corruption.

RE: Eliminating Emotional Affect
Answer
7/9/13 4:28 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew Horn:
I suspect Kenneth talks about the teachings in broad strokes in part to keep them explicable for beginning meditators. (...) Forgive my rambling.


I concede that my impression that Kenneth engages in "bullshit-spiritual-pseudo-wisdom" might be simply the result of him catering to a specific audience. In support of that concession, I could add that, as far as I can tell, Kenneth's technical and first-hand knowledge of meditation is impeccable.