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Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment

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Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
9/14/13 11:35 AM
I found this article. It would be interesting on how people view Ken's opinion from different traditions. Of course with lots of respect of different views.

Realistic view of Enlightenment

Joel Groover: You had been discussing what enlightenment is and isn’t, from your perspective.

Kenneth Folk: We need to get away from the idea that enlightenment is a cosmic bliss out. I find that to be a pernicious and highly prevalent misconception. Everybody wants to think, “Okay, I’m going to get enlightened and then my life will be pleasant all the time. I’ll have a beatific smile on my face. I will wear flowing white robes. Everybody will love me and bow down and kiss my feet. I will never say anything rude or harsh. I will lose my sexual desire because, after all, sexual desire is a little bit icky. And let’s see—I’ll never get angry.” Come on. That’s kids’ stuff.
And yet it is so deeply ingrained. People so want it to be true. But let’s take a step back from that and be grown-ups about it. Let’s look at what really happens, and at what we really want. Do we really want to go to some kind of childish heaven, or do we want a kind of freedom that is equally free in heaven and in hell?

JG: The Tibetans have a lot to say with this, right, in the teachings on the different realms? They have some pretty instructive ideas about hell realms, the hungry ghost realms, and how we cycle through all of those. Whether we like it or not, those realms may cycle through into our own particular situation. Wasn’t it Joseph Campbell who talked about the Tibetans and all of a sudden they are literally facing one of their hell realms, when the Chinese invaded and occupied and started killing and torturing them? Some of the torture techniques were literally the same as those in the Tibetan hell-realm texts.

KF: Yes. Now that is a very good point. So yes, if you are a Tibetan yogi and you are enlightened, that does not mean the Chinese will not come to your country and kill everybody you know and torture you. If they do, what you would really like to have is the kind of freedom that is equally accessible in hell and in heaven, because you’re not going to be smiling beatifically while you’re being tortured. You need a much deeper, a much more grown-up enlightenment than that.

JG: And it is not going to be scholarly in nature either.

KF: Right. It is not something you’re going to think yourself through. And luckily, enlightenment is an objective phenomenon that does not have much to do with what we believe. The real enlightenment is the grown-up kind. That is fortunate for us because if we practice, this process unfolds irrespective of our desires or beliefs about it. That is the beautiful thing about development.

For example, I can’t, through an act of will, prevent the aging process. So I will be 52 years old this year and if I were a real believer in the power of positive thinking, maybe I could try to think myself out of aging. Well, what are the odds? As far as I know, everyone in human history has progressed through a particular life-cycle. You start out as a baby, then you’re a child, then you’re a grown-up and then you get old and you die.

So it is a very good bet that I will get old and die, and at this point in my life my body is not as strong as it was 20 years ago. I cannot think myself out of that. There are biological realities that are not amenable to our manipulation. And enlightenment is one of these biological realities.

But in the case of enlightenment, you can cultivate the process in the way that you can cultivate a growing thing, in the way that you can cultivate a plant. So if you do not plant a seed, for example, and don’t water it and tend it, it may not grow.

That is the same with enlightenment, and the reason a lot of people will not get enlightened is simple: they are not cultivating.

JG: And I suppose the reality also is that a lot of people will never even be interested in the subject. Or, some might be interested, but not seriously pursue it because it seems like this impossible thing to achieve, like some kind of self-perfection.

KF: I’m trying to debunk the notion that when you’re enlightened you’re going to be perfect… you’re still going to be at times sanctimonious and judgmental and petty and churlish. All of these things arise, and enlightenment is not the absence of what we consider to be shameful emotions and thoughts, but rather the quality of un-stickiness.

JG: I’ve got a friend who was raised in a particular Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and he just regards it all as a cult, basically. He is done with it. He is a really grounded guy and he still does chi gung and stuff. But he does not want anything religious anywhere near him. He will not touch it with a 10-foot pole. There is a little bit of reactivity there, but I can’t say anything like “you should be back in the dharma.” That does not seem right to me. He has really made his decision and he knows what he’s doing. And yet that decision might forestall the developmental enlightenment process. Who knows?

KF: Yeah. And you have to be okay with that because, the truth is, most of the people we know, unless you live in a meditation center—and maybe even then…

JG: Right.

KF: … most people we know are not on this ride. And to form some kind of an attitude that everybody is inferior because they do not meditate or they are not getting enlightened—well, that is just not helpful at all.

JG: At the same time what I have been surprised by—you know, I started practicing again after I quit for about 10 years, because I felt like I had no choice. It was just, “I’m getting so neurotic and unskillful and behaving so badly that I have to do this.” When I started again, it was just to try to restore some balance, and yet there is this strangely obsessive focus that can take hold with people where they are, in a very sincere way, just focused on practice and doing this, to the point were some people are doing multiple long retreats and so on. So I guess there are those who are not interested and then there are those who are very keenly interested. Is there anything to say about that? I think there is a term in Pali for it. Samvega?

KF: Yes. Samvega is this zeal or eagerness to become enlightened, and that is something that for most people only really kicks in after the all—important 4th Insight Knowledge, the Arising and Passing Away of Phenomena. That is one of the reasons that we can say people will look at their lives and say, “That was my life before [the Arising and Passing], and now this is my life after.” At that moment of penetrating the object for the first time and seeing that the supposed rope is actually just a bunch of ants that are in turn made up of molecules—well, from that moment you are on the ride. This is what Bill Hamilton called “the ride.”
And that ride has a gravity, a karmic gravity of its own. It is going to pull you whether you like it or not. If you resist it, it tends to make you miserable. If you go with it, you are, on balance, better off even though you may have to go through some miserable times as part of a natural progress.

JG: But you’re going to go through that anyway.

KF: You are going to go through misery no matter what. One saying is, “Better not to begin. Once you begin, better to finish.” This ride that you get on only feels complete—only ends—with arahatship. And you’re really not going to be satisfied until that time, once you begin the ride. There are a few fairly weak moments of stability along the way. Those are the Path markers. So when a yogi gets First Path, there is a little bit of a platform. You feel as though you are off the ride for a little while and then you realize that you are on it even more thoroughly than before. You have to work toward Second Path, at which time you have another little plateau, a little bit of a resting place, and then you’re back on the ride again, and you just stay on the ride more and more deeply until arahatship.

Now arahatship is unique in that in some ways it is the very easiest call to make in terms of placing a yogi on the map. This is an easy call to make because in the moment of arahatship, you know you’re off the ride. This is huge, because you have been sucked along by this karmic gravity for some period of time, usually decades for most people, and then suddenly that is over.
It is not that your questions were answered as much as that you no longer have the questions. It doesn’t solve the problem, it’s just that you no longer have the problem. The problem was that you thought something was wrong. After arahatship, you no longer think there is something wrong with the world. Things are as they are. So if you look at the old stories in the suttas, the monks would walk up to the Buddha—on a fairly routine basis they would do this—and say “Done is what needs to be done.”

Because that is exactly how it feels. It is easy to imagine why they would say it in this way. That brings up another topic, which is how has the mythology of enlightenment gotten so out of hand that we don’t even believe that enlightenment is possible anymore, and that we think those people from the time of the Buddha were talking about something that is no longer available to us?

That is a preposterous notion. Human nature has not changed very much in 2,500 years, with apologies to those who would wish otherwise. And this is very good news for people with samvega [zeal for awakening], because it means that the potential for enlightenment is, was, and always will be built into the very fabric of every human being on this planet.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
9/14/13 2:05 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thank you for posting this conversation, Richard Zen. KF is amazingly articulate about some otherwise troubling distinctions.

I've been practicing only 2 years. The first full year, I attended a local Tibetan center, with geshes from Tibet, in the Gelug tradition. I left this center December 2012, for reasons I've discussed a little bit elsewhere, but which I touch on here as simply over-mystification of enlightenment, which wasn't helping me know what to do next, how to progress.

The center was very hierarchical, with newbies like me having no access to the masters but only to Western "senior" students delivering to the masses canned beginner's courses. One day when I asked a world-famous on-tour nun what, on a sensory level, experiencing or perceiving the inherent emptiness of all phenomena was "like," she flew into a rage and shamed me in front of the whole gompa. Her response was that I should never ask a teacher that question until I had studied the scriptures for many years and could teach a lesson on emptiness as well as she apparently thought she could. Only then might there be a chance that I'd have insight into emptiness.

At the same time, meditation really wasn't taught to novices. Yeah, there was Meditation 101 (literally the course name), but, truly, it was brief, broad, without depth, and generally pathetic. The very advanced students were evidently getting a lot out of meditations that involved very elaborate visualization and mantra sequences, and there were restricted classes for that sort of thing, but there seemed to be no bridge here between the pathetic novice instruction and the overwhelmingly advanced Tibetan visualization stuff.

Basically, Mushroom Factor predominated. I could smell it, and I finally departed and became a lone practitioner so that I wasn't being systematically held back and kept in the dark. I gravitated to the Thai Forest Theravada traditions and finally started learning some useful meditation know-how. Then I happened across and joined a small reading group that formed around discussing MCTB.

My sense of the Gelug tradition at that center and to some extent the Thai Forest tradition via my readings is that the emotional/moral model of enlightenment predominates. I think this may be mainly a function of the fact that Morality Training is what traditional Buddhism has novices focus on first, as a safety check. In other words, it only seems that enlightenment is being defined solely in this way by these traditions because morality work is the beginner's focus and many don't get, or aren't permitted to get, beyond that point. There is a secrecy about "technique" and perceptual effects, and as best as I could make out, this secrecy was a cultural defense mechanism because of rumored ancient dangers perpetuated by charlatans and less-than-beneficent power-seekers. More than once I heard warnings that people can go mad during advanced practices and harm themselves or others. The other reason for some of the, yes, disturbingly "cult-like" secrecy about techniques and effects was that other secular segments of society may deem advanced practitioners simply mad and brain washed, and this can be quite problematic for our lives in terms of conventional reality.

Personally, I had an interesting, morphing experience with MCTB. At first I was very resistant to many of its assertions. But came to examine my own resistance and found that I was simply disappointed that "enlightenment" was not a promise of moral/emotional perfection, a way to permanently end conventional suffering. Well, I never really believed I was ever going to hit "perfection," whatever that is, but the mechanism by which I didn't believe in my eventual perfection was disbelieving the possibility of my eventual enlightenment. Does this make sense? In other words, "Since enlightenment means negativity no longer arises, and since I don't believe that is possible for me in this lifetime, then, therefore, I won't reach enlightenment in this lifetime." I came to the early conclusion, before reading MCTB, that "enlightenment" was just a deceptive word/concept and all I needed to focus on was the here-and-now as part of whatever unfolded as the "result" of a series of here-and-now experiences.

To a certain extent, I still think this is so. Enlightenment is a word. When we debate what it is and isn't, we are debating semantics. So, for example, someone clinging to the emotional/moral model may simply dismiss Daniel as enlightened, as an Arahat, and thereby dismiss MCTB. I've met these people. But I have no reason to doubt Daniel really has experienced what he writes that he has. In other words, regardless of what label people may or may not slap on him, I think it is safe to assume he has important insights and something worthwhile to teach the practitioner. Moral/emotional yarsticks applied to other people, in my view, are often defense mechanisms. Many just don't want to confront possibilities beyond the way they've already defined their favorite terms and concepts.

This said, MCTB nods to Moral Training but says it is beyond the scope of the book (and I understand that the book cannot exhaust everything). I think I read someone else's comment here that morality is seldom discussed on this forum (though I recently enjoyed Fitter Stoke's post about his experiments with Right Speech). Although I totally "get" the corrective in MCTB, I also suspect that the traditional approaches do have a point: that drifting too far into technique without at least as much effort in the Moral Trainings and examination of emotional states produces lopsided practitioners with dangers that do apply.

Others have remarked that there is strong whiff of testosterone on this forum. I'm not intimidated by that, because I have taught college-level argumentation and generally can hold my own. However, if any of the gender oversimplifications do hold just a little bit, then maybe it isn't too outrageous for me to speculate that women and beginners may be scared away from this forum precisely because of the driven-ness in terms of technique, data, and, um, achievement/attainment. Conventionally speaking, women are socialized to prioritize human relationship over individual achievement. This means they may habituate to moral/emotional ways of evaluating reality and ways to improve experience. It is something to think on, anyway.

I find what Kenneth F. says about "stickiness" and enlightenment as unstickiness--as dropping rather than answering the question--an enormously helpful way to navigate the discontinuity between perfect "does not arise" and perceptual-threshold-only models. In this context, I'm thinking that, when the Thai Forest masters say enlightenment permits us to overcome aversion and attachment (as well as ignorance), they really are referring to this unstickiness. Ajaan Chah speaks repeatedly of a continual "letting go," which seems different from the Tibetan claims that, for a fully enlightened Buddha, even subtle negative states "no longer arise."

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
9/14/13 4:06 PM as a reply to Jenny.
I'm sorry you had to go through that mushroom factor but it's a reminder of Saints and Psychopaths by Bill Hamilton. There's fakers out there/politics/sexual abuse throughout religious institutions and people need to open their eyes. It's a problem because people will throw out the baby with the bath water and let go of Buddhism completely in most instances of first hand disappointment. Even Daniel's attainment caused envy with other meditators showing how little progress they actually made. I've met average people who could get over envy.emoticon

In the end all teachers can do is point the way but people have to keep practising despite obstacles to progress.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
9/14/13 11:16 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Hi Pawel,

Would you happen to have some "evidence" stories or writings about your claims?
This is the first time I have heard what you claim. and would like to know more...

With Love
Eelco

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
9/15/13 9:17 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
This said, MCTB nods to Moral Training but says it is beyond the scope of the book (and I understand that the book cannot exhaust everything). I think I read someone else's comment here that morality is seldom discussed on this forum (though I recently enjoyed Fitter Stoke's post about his experiments with Right Speech). Although I totally "get" the corrective in MCTB, I also suspect that the traditional approaches do have a point: that drifting too far into technique without at least as much effort in the Moral Trainings and examination of emotional states produces lopsided practitioners with dangers that do apply.


It seems to be the difference between gross and subtle forms of dukkha. If you kill someone, it's going to lead to some of the worst dukkha possible, even if it's an accident, and even if you get away with it, because the guilt will follow you around and destroy your peace of mind. Deceptive speech creates more subtle problems. Eventually everyone around you comes to distrust you, and you come to distrust yourself. And if your thoughts are habitually harsh and mean, you come to expect others are thinking the same things about you.

Hegel seems to have been on to something like Buddha's understanding of kamma when he said, "The trespasser intended to have to do with another's life, but he has only destroyed his own, for life is not different from life, since life dwells in the single Godhead. In his arrogance, he has destroyed indeed, but only the friendliness of life; he has perverted life into an enemy."

Or, as some other philosopher used to say, "Don't shit where you eat."

Meditation (right mindfulness and right concentration) is continuous with ethics, because it has to do with the same thing: intention. It's just now at the subtle rather than the gross level. Subtle forms of fabrication reveal themselves. One sees clearly that any intention whatsoever is stressful, because it leads to a sense of self in the present and in the next moment. Seeing this, the mind releases all fabrication and gets a glimpse of the only thing which is unfabricated, which is nibbana. This isn't separate from ethics. It's the end result of good intentions which eventually lead to the cessation of all intentions.

So the question of "how ethical do you have to be?" is really the question of "how much good kamma is necessary to undo kamma (at least temporarily)?" Opinions vary. I've heard monks say that stream entry is only possible with the perfection of morality. And they don't mean the temporary perfection of it that could conceivable happen on retreat. Following a passage in the Anguttara Nikaya which I can't find right at this moment, they say the stream-winner would never take a life, have a drink, or engage in illicit sex, because they see too clearly the dukkha following from those things. That's one view.

Another view is that expressed by Kenneth Folk, which is that enlightenment is falling back into the awareness of things and actions in your life. You're not extinguishing dukkha. You're just disidentifying with it until there is no "you" in it. You're released from dukkha, not because you've undermined the causes of it through your intentions, but rather because you're no longer able to take it personally. There seems to be some truth in this, because I know people who at least claim to have discovered happiness just by meditating and not by worrying about any of the grosser forms of dukkha that would be undermined by following a more ethical path.

My own view on it - conditioned as it is by not a whole lot of experience and therefore subject to change - splits the difference between these two views. Dukkha can be large or small, gross or subtle, but it's all dukkha. If there's a choice between meditating every day and just not being a huge sonuvabitch, maybe you should work (also) on not being a sonuvabitch, since that will also have a big impact (and probably a quicker one) on how much dukkha comes (back) to you. Same thing if you're lousy with money, or you make bad choices in relationships. You don't do yourself any favors by shitting where you eat, so don't do that.

On the other hand, it doesn't need to be perfect. You don't need to be a saint to experience profound peace, and I don't think anyone's enlightenment experience should be discounted because there's still stress in their lives coming from unskillful conduct.

When it comes to enlightenment, it seems like you can have peak experiences and experiences which change your baseline. And the relationship between the two things is complex. I for one have had amazing experiences and then have been surprised afterward that they didn't leave me a lot happier. But once I started thinking about and playing in the ethical side of things, it made more sense. You can do a lot of profound work on the subtle level with meditation, and that can ripple outward into other aspects of your life and change things there. This is because meditation deals to some extent with the fundament of experience. But it's not magic. If you want your relationships with others to get better, you're better off working on your intentions in your relationships than meditating (if you're forced to choose). Otherwise it's like trying to get better at medicine by learning the accordion.

Anyway, I hope this isn't too much of a distraction from the OP. The comment kicked off a bunch of thoughts that have been swimming around in my head the last few months.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
9/21/13 8:06 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Another view is that expressed by Kenneth Folk, which is that enlightenment is falling back into the awareness of things and actions in your life. You're not extinguishing dukkha. You're just disidentifying with it until there is no "you" in it. You're released from dukkha, not because you've undermined the causes of it through your intentions, but rather because you're no longer able to take it personally. There seems to be some truth in this, because I know people who at least claim to have discovered happiness just by meditating and not by worrying about any of the grosser forms of dukkha that would be undermined by following a more ethical path. . . .

When it comes to enlightenment, it seems like you can have peak experiences and experiences which change your baseline. And the relationship between the two things is complex. I for one have had amazing experiences and then have been surprised afterward that they didn't leave me a lot happier. But once I started thinking about and playing in the ethical side of things, it made more sense. You can do a lot of profound work on the subtle level with meditation, and that can ripple outward into other aspects of your life and change things there.


I'm continually finding myself astonished by how much less entangled and emotionally reactive I am now than before I began meditating. When I recognize, suddenly, that I haven't taken something personally that I definitely would have before, I stand amazed at the difference meditation has indeed made in my conventional suffering and stress. It does seem to me as if apprehending fabrications as such as the subtle level does in fact ripple out--in subcurrents--to emotional and ethical situations writ large.

On the other hand, when aware of how unruffled I am, I'm suddenly also aware that I'm standing on the outside of my (nonpractitioner) friends' turmoil, watching them spin, watching them caught in a web and trying to involve me in a struggle. I can be there while not becoming entangled, at least until they become mad at my dispassion, but often there is little I can do to "help" them. And this peace I experience while standing there, on the outside, is nontheless a lonely feeling. I'm at peace, even if they leave me or curse me, but I'm not so sure this equates with "happiness." I'm not sure it is happiness I'm after, of course, so much as this peace, this unstickiness. But it can be lonely and raise questions about the gross levels of ethical choices and emotional experiences.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
12/31/13 7:20 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Personally, I think Kenneth Folk is talking out of his arse.....

Sure, cool, there is arhartship and all that good stuff......but he has just One angle of a multifaceted Diamond.

There is Bliss, Harmony, a cleansing of the vices, and an establishment of selfless virtues. There is grace, Love, Bliss, Soul, a cessation of all thoughts, and in many circles, there is the cessation of lust as well through various means of transcendence.

It's a BIG O' Frickin Trap. You reach a certain Point on the Path, and Bark down your orders, opinions, illusions on this holy high horse that everything is one way or another.

When You see Buddha on the Road, Kill him.

I'm killing Kenneth right now, & he ain't Buddha anyway.

Leave it alone brother. You are digging a deeper hole. Anything yous ay about it, isn't it anyway.!!!!!

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
12/31/13 10:12 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:


It's a BIG O' Frickin Trap. You reach a certain Point on the Path, and Bark down your orders, opinions, illusions on this holy high horse that everything is one way or another.


Worth repeating.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
1/1/14 3:35 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:
Personally, I think Kenneth Folk is talking out of his arse.....

What I appreciate is when someone can speak honestly and openly from direct experience.
IAMTHAT That Ami:
There is Bliss, Harmony, a cleansing of the vices, and an establishment of selfless virtues. There is grace, Love, Bliss, Soul, a cessation of all thoughts, and in many circles, there is the cessation of lust as well through various means of transcendence.
Are you speaking from direct experience? or your arse?
IAMTHAT That Ami:
Anything yous ay about it, isn't it anyway.!!!!!
aha...now I understand what you're saying. emoticon

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
1/2/14 9:13 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
What I appreciate is when someone can speak honestly and openly from direct experience.

Yeah, that's cool. I understand your point. But if we are talking about speaking "honestly and openly from direct experience," well I can get that from my grandmother, who isn't and doesn't claim Enlightenment.

Let's put some things in Perspective. Folk is saying it is "Such & Such." But I can link maybe a few dozen testimonies of those who say, that it does include the cessation of all thought and the cessation of all lust, because lust will transcend itself in a certain taoist way.

There are many variations & depths to Enlightenment. There is even a process of all the channels of the body being opened, cleansed, and the whole body changing into an enlightenment body, but Folk might not discuss aspects such as that.
Are you speaking from direct experience? or your arse?

A combination of direct experience, and checking my experiences against those of my own teachers who are permanently Enlightened for decades now. It isn;t the same 20 years later, as it was the first day. Everything changes to adapt to That
aha...now I understand what you're saying.

Yes!!!!!!

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
1/2/14 9:48 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:


There are many variations & depths to Enlightenment. There is even a process of all the channels of the body being opened, cleansed, and the whole body changing into an enlightenment body, but Folk might not discuss aspects such as



It gets a bit tricky and on shaky ground when one assigns and thus judges their own version of this and that up against what others say about their iwn experience. It's clearly obvious to me just from reading this place and around the internets that the word and concept of 'enlightenment' means different things to different people. And people are content with their versions, at least at the time of expressing their views, so who am i to say fxxk them and their ideas.

woe betide those that describe something that doesnt fit 'my' take on it. RRRRRRROOAAARRRR!!!!!!!

Dime a dozen these types of opinions in dharma drama land.

Here's another one for ya. How would experience play out like if there were absolutely no views arising to condition experience?

Nick.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
1/2/14 11:41 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
It gets a bit tricky and on shaky ground when one assigns and thus judges their own version of this and that up against what others say about their iwn experience.

What I'm saying is that Enlightenment is a conglomerate of all the testimonies that have come before us in antiquity. All of them combined give the full picture of what it is.

One testimony, fresh from peaking through the clouds, and saying that it has nothing to do with the past myths attributed to it, is a bit of childish B.S. I wake up daily with many of the "myths" attributed to it, as a daily reality in my life, in complete and utter awe that they are present, knowing that no one would believe so if I told them (I have told some and they scoffed), so there remains silence and knowing, awe & being.

The dilemma is that Folk is saying some aspects are myths. I am saying that many of those "myths" are actual realities. Who is right? Either I am hallucinating (after verifying some of these things with elders of various branches), or Folk hasn't come across them yet and therefor is projecting that such things are "myths". Or we're both wrong, or both right.
t's clearly obvious to me just from reading this place and around the internets that the word and concept of 'enlightenment' means different things to different people. And people are content with their versions, at least at the time of expressing their views, so who am i to say fxxk them and their ideas.

It's good to have an objective bar of measurement against which we can gauge or own discoveries. If everything is subjective psycho-babble, then it's difficult to find objective blueprints that map out the destination.
woe betide those that describe something that doesnt fit 'my' take on it. RRRRRRROOAAARRRR!!!!!!!

Woe to those who see a step on the ladder, and think its the only and final one, proclaiming that it is so to the world. By 2025, he will have a different take on it.
Dime a dozen these types of opinions in dharma drama land.

Opinions don't matter...it's direct experience itself and everything it entails, that does. But to some, an opinion can be the difference between going further, or stagnating into an illusion that this is it.
Here's another one for ya. How would experience play out like if there were absolutely no views arising to condition experience?

There are already no views that condition reality/experience, which is always prior to any views/conditioning. Any supposed views/conditioning arising after the fact, are themselves also experience & reality. It's a beautiful paradox

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
1/3/14 12:15 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
Paweł K:
@IAMTHAT That Ami
so how does your Enlightenment look like?


It's multi-dimensional. Everything is One spontaneously-vivid and always changing thing. Another aspect of this One thing is that there is also Beingness that has a quality of being unborn and not yet brought into Being, like the source of Being itself. There is Love/Bliss and there is a source for it. There is the ability to think (for example to formulate these sentences) but when done using thought, it returns into its source in the chest. If you follow thinking to its source, you end up in the Vast Oneness where there is no You, but also because it is prior to Thought, no Thoughts rise up to formulate anything about That. There is no need for Sex because Lust/Sperm seem to have recirculated itself by going internally upwards in the body instead of outwards. In the Presence of beautiful women, there is never not one time the thought of sleeping with them or taking advantage. Just Love, Selflessness, Acceptance, Nonjudgment. The body has a multitude of channels, all of which are slowly opening up and becoming cleansed/emptied making the body feel both as if it is lighter than ever before and as if it is transforming to something new.

There is much much more to it, but at this point, if I was to say that there are no myths associated with this or that it is the way I say it is above, then I would be turning this into a Folk High Horse.

Suffice this to say, if you go into the depths of toaism, kashmir shaivism, and general mysticism, you will find all these things which are like various condiments that permanently stay with the main course. Of course, after the main course there is still the glass of wine and nice desert as well.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
1/8/14 12:17 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:
One testimony, fresh from peaking through the clouds, and saying that it has nothing to do with the past myths attributed to it, is a bit of childish B.S. I wake up daily with many of the "myths" attributed to it, as a daily reality in my life, in complete and utter awe that they are present, knowing that no one would believe so if I told them (I have told some and they scoffed), so there remains silence and knowing, awe & being.

The dilemma is that Folk is saying some aspects are myths. I am saying that many of those "myths" are actual realities. Who is right? Either I am hallucinating (after verifying some of these things with elders of various branches), or Folk hasn't come across them yet and therefor is projecting that such things are "myths". Or we're both wrong, or both right.


You're right. Many of the myths are actual realities - either that or - what are you doing in my hallucination?

IAMTHAT That Ami:
Woe to those who see a step on the ladder, and think its the only and final one, proclaiming that it is so to the world. By 2025, he will have a different take on it.


Well, let's hope so. I think Kenneth's greatest obstacle is Kenneth. I don't get the sense that it has ever occurred to him that he might not be the most enlightened person on the planet. And that is a deep trap.

RE: Kenneth Folk - Realistic Enlightenment
Answer
11/1/18 7:44 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Excellent comment. I wondered when morality which seems to be a welded concept in Buddhism esp. since there is "right action" would be conspicuously excoriated by Westerners who are not so culture, tradition and monastery -bound. It's interesting to observe how Enlightenment is being redefined for a Buddhist audience, something which long ago I felt was needed and am glad has arrived.