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Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning)

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Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning) sawfoot _ 12/26/13 5:49 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Nikolai . 12/22/13 3:21 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share sawfoot _ 12/22/13 5:14 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Dream Walker 12/22/13 3:19 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share sawfoot _ 12/24/13 4:03 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Daniel M. Ingram 12/24/13 5:18 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Richard Zen 12/24/13 11:28 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/24/13 11:34 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Daniel M. Ingram 12/24/13 12:07 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Nikolai . 12/24/13 3:23 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Richard Zen 12/24/13 3:15 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share triple think 12/24/13 3:23 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Daniel M. Ingram 12/24/13 4:24 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Richard Zen 12/24/13 5:57 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share John Mckinstry 12/24/13 10:22 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Richard Zen 12/24/13 6:15 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Psi 12/24/13 10:30 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Tom Tom 12/26/13 5:14 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share sawfoot _ 12/25/13 8:18 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Richard Zen 12/25/13 12:24 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Daniel M. Ingram 12/25/13 4:05 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Bill F. 12/25/13 5:04 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Tom Tom 12/26/13 2:26 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share sawfoot _ 9/20/14 3:56 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Dada Kind 12/26/13 12:04 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Daniel M. Ingram 12/26/13 9:37 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Tom Tom 12/26/13 7:05 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Dada Kind 12/26/13 11:24 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Richard Zen 12/27/13 1:06 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Brian Eleven 12/27/13 3:24 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/27/13 3:48 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Daniel M. Ingram 12/28/13 6:56 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Bill F. 12/28/13 1:33 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share sawfoot _ 1/3/14 2:33 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Psi 1/3/14 8:29 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 1/3/14 9:19 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share J C 2/2/14 9:49 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Colleen Peltomaa 8/12/14 3:08 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Tom Tom 8/12/14 6:14 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share Anne Cripps 12/23/13 3:51 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning) tom moylan 12/27/13 4:27 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning) Simon Ekstrand 12/28/13 6:11 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning) Richard Zen 12/28/13 11:57 AM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning) Simon Ekstrand 12/28/13 2:46 PM
RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning) Psi 1/4/14 1:31 AM
A place to share your past life experiences. Here is Daniel to start us off:

Daniel M. Ingram, Arahat:


As to world-cycles or the like, my past life experiences line up along the following lines, if you believe in such experiences having validity:

1) This life human.
2) Last life some sort of moderately powerful, clearly somewhat debauched male jealous god/sorcerer of some kind that was stabbed in the back with a dagger by a woman who he had wronged in some way, I think.
3) Some sort of mother skunk-like animal that was eaten by a large black dog or wolf.
4) Some sort of mother bat that was killed when the rock it was clinging to at the top of the cave fell to the floor.
5) Some sort of grim, gigantic, armored skeletal titan-like thing that ran tirelessly through space swinging a gigantic sword and doing battle nearly continuously without sleep for hundreds of thousands of years that was killed by something like a dragon.
6) Some gigantic, gelatinous, multi-tentacled, very alien being living in a very dark place for a very long time, probably under water, I think.

Other than some sense that the skunk-thing and the bat-thing were virtuous mothers, I have no sense that there was any profound previous dharmic development at least back that far, and, in fact, have the distinct sense that the previous one was a bit of a cad and not very ethical. Take that all for what you will.

Daniel


RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/22/13 3:21 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
A place to share your past life experiences. Here is Daniel to start us off:

Daniel M. Ingram, Arahat:


As to world-cycles or the like, my past life experiences line up along the following lines, if you believe in such experiences having validity:

1) This life human.
2) Last life some sort of moderately powerful, clearly somewhat debauched male jealous god/sorcerer of some kind that was stabbed in the back with a dagger by a woman who he had wronged in some way, I think.
3) Some sort of mother skunk-like animal that was eaten by a large black dog or wolf.
4) Some sort of mother bat that was killed when the rock it was clinging to at the top of the cave fell to the floor.
5) Some sort of grim, gigantic, armored skeletal titan-like thing that ran tirelessly through space swinging a gigantic sword and doing battle nearly continuously without sleep for hundreds of thousands of years that was killed by something like a dragon.
6) Some gigantic, gelatinous, multi-tentacled, very alien being living in a very dark place for a very long time, probably under water, I think.

Other than some sense that the skunk-thing and the bat-thing were virtuous mothers, I have no sense that there was any profound previous dharmic development at least back that far, and, in fact, have the distinct sense that the previous one was a bit of a cad and not very ethical. Take that all for what you will.

Daniel

be wary those seriously wanting to share an experience of whatever (regardless of how other's see validity in such claims) as sawfoot has posted this thread in the humour section and may have an agenda to have a laugh at your expense if you are serious about your experience.
Nick

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/22/13 3:19 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
To lighten it up some...
This is the humor section






RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/22/13 5:14 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
sawfoot _:
A place to share your past life experiences. Here is Daniel to start us off:

Daniel M. Ingram, Arahat:


As to world-cycles or the like, my past life experiences line up along the following lines, if you believe in such experiences having validity:

1) This life human.
2) Last life some sort of moderately powerful, clearly somewhat debauched male jealous god/sorcerer of some kind that was stabbed in the back with a dagger by a woman who he had wronged in some way, I think.
3) Some sort of mother skunk-like animal that was eaten by a large black dog or wolf.
4) Some sort of mother bat that was killed when the rock it was clinging to at the top of the cave fell to the floor.
5) Some sort of grim, gigantic, armored skeletal titan-like thing that ran tirelessly through space swinging a gigantic sword and doing battle nearly continuously without sleep for hundreds of thousands of years that was killed by something like a dragon.
6) Some gigantic, gelatinous, multi-tentacled, very alien being living in a very dark place for a very long time, probably under water, I think.

Other than some sense that the skunk-thing and the bat-thing were virtuous mothers, I have no sense that there was any profound previous dharmic development at least back that far, and, in fact, have the distinct sense that the previous one was a bit of a cad and not very ethical. Take that all for what you will.

Daniel

be wary those seriously wanting to share an experience of whatever (regardless of how other's see validity in such claims) as sawfoot has posted this thread in the humour section and may have an agenda to have a laugh at your expense if you are serious about your experience.
Nick


be wary in sharing your agenda in a thread in the humour section as the correctness or incorrectness of your agenda in assuming the agenda of the poster may or may not lead them to have a laugh at your expense

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/23/13 3:51 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
:-) Aw, c'mon sore tootsies...it's no good expecting babes to bring a passport/driver's licence and two utility bills with them from the last life...for one thing, the photo would look nothing like them and you know it (-:

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 4:03 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 5:18 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
A brief history lesson, for those who are too young and/or ignorant to remember such recent events.

It was a relatively few years ago that the world of online forums for discussing hardcore meditation practice didn't exist at all.

The best those of us who were into it had to choose from were essentially totally hostile to the notion that anything in the world of enlightenment and even the jhanas could be achieved by mere mortals in this lifetime, with the rare and possible exceptions of some of the most famous of the world's spiritual superstars, none of whom posted there.

Attempts to post on these forums would be met with about 95% flames, about 4% confusion, and about 1% interest, but that 1% interest was a sign, a hint, a fleeting glimpse that there were a few others out there that would appreciate something more. Most of us were very isolated, even when we went on long retreats, even when we showed up for local dharma groups, even when we talked with people who claimed to be meditations teachers, most of whom didn't know nearly as much dharma as we did.

So, based on those few glimmers of hope, Vince Horn and myself founded the Dharma Underground. It rapidly attracted a group of about 40 extremely strong practitioners, the type that you almost never saw posting on any online forum anywhere before that, and in a degree of concentration that I had never seen before and honestly haven't seen since.

Still, in that protected, members-only, hidden space, most didn't use their real names, as despite being extremely strong adults with very deep practices, the public reactions to disclosure of the details of practice was so near-universally toxic, and that conditioning took time to undo.

So far as I know, I was one of the very few that had been "out" on the internet, having had a website since 1999 or so that discussed meditation openly. It was a lonely place to be.

After some period of time, this amazing group got braver, and having found each other and having had time to normalize discussing these things amongst ourselves, and finally the decision was made to create a public forum for some of these discussions for those who would brave public attention. In this way, the Dharma Overground was born.

For a while, there were two forums, the Dharma Underground, for those who were still very closeted and still often under a fake name even there, and the Dharma Overground, for those who were public. Some made the transition, some basically didn't.

Finally, the Dharma Underground traffic basically dried up and nearly everyone transitioned to the Dharma Overground, albeit with many still not using their real names, which should tell you something about what it takes to get out there and discuss these intimate, personal, usually-kept-private, taboo and sensitive topics. Notice this place both in modern times and previous times with just the first names that come to mind: Dream Walker, ByPasser, Tom Tom, BCDEFG, End in Sight, etc. Lots of good practitioners, very few real names among them. Notice then number of people who are here who are too scared to even use their real names who aren't even talking much about anything to do with the expressed purpose of this forum: sawfoot comes to mind.

Those who have been around a little while longer will remember those who are not here now and not posting anywhere or rarely posting anything about their own deep and impressive practices. The reasons for people basically vanishing back into the closet are many, but part of it is still definitely the reactions to people's strong practices, most of which are bad.

Notice the other private forums that have shown up to meet that need for privacy, such as the Dharma Refugees Forum, which is still private and only accessed by approval by its diligent guardians and contains many ex-DhO people and ex-KFD members.

Notice also the ratio of posts about seriously deep meditation practice to basically everything else. I would guess it is somewhere in the rough ballpark of 1:100 more just based on a cursory inspection of various threads, and even at that around 1% range, this place is routinely recognized among the best of the best in terms of places to discuss real practice. That shows a deep need for the real deal. It is a need that I, its founder, also share.

My skin is tougher than most. I have been willing to be out there about things that most people won't share even with their closest friends and maybe not even with their best meditation teachers. However, most people aren't like that, which is totally understandable, even some extremely strong practitioners. It is still a very hard thing for many to talk about, and I have been noticing that I myself share very few of the details of my own practice here.

A recent example I didn't even bother to post about, as I thought that there wouldn't be much interest, and it shows me that I personally am getting a bit turned off to this place at the moment (something that will be remedied shortly). It is the sort of thing I would have shared immediately at points in the past.

Here goes:

About 2 weeks ago I was laying in bed trying to sleep between night shift, having not gotten on a proper night schedule yet, as it was too early into my run of shifts.

Suddenly and for no obvious reason, the jhanas started shifting strongly in the standard order, first, second, third, fourth, boundless space, boundless consciousness, nothingness, NPNYNP, out, then the first Pure Land Jhana showed up just dripping with immense gratitude, and the second Pure Land Jhana showed up, filled with that wide and deep peace it does so well, and then there was something new, at least to me.

It felt like there was about a 3x1cm cylinder in the center of my brain that was just beaming out the powerful feeling that I would describe as the very best part of the strongest new teenage crushy-love, but stripped of the weird achy parts and the nervousness and fear. It was without object, meaning there was no person associated with the feeling, it was just the feeling itself, and it was totally awesome.

It lasted about 5 minutes and faded out to something else. The afterglow as very short lived. It hasn't shown up since. I initially thought: wow, was that some weird A&P variant, but I haven't noticed anything else around it to give support to that theory, but you can see why I thought it. It seemed to have been its own thing. If it shows up again, I will let you know more about it. Anyway, one more interesting data point, and the sort of data point that you don't see a lot of out there in the rest of the world.

Back to business: one of the forum posters noted that some here might be creating a space that was not as conducive to reports of deep practice. It is an ominous warning and a very good point. I totally agree. It is also a reasonable critique of my moderating style, which has been too lenient of things that would create any space that hardcore practitioners don't feel comfortable sharing in.

Spaces that are safe for disclosures of deep practice are rare and must be preserved. They are the reason for this place, its founding reason. For those who don't feel safe, let me know, and we can re-open the Dharma Underground, which is still actually here, a part of this website and platform, but just hasn't operated in a while only due to the lack of people posting on it. By failing to advertise it, I think that some have been lost to other venues, continuing the splits that began in the First Great Schism of the DhO.

Other options include removing those barriers to more open disclosure (which was the dream upon which the Dharma Overground, as opposed to the Dharma Underground) was founded, meaning removing whomever and whatever those barriers might be. I presume there are lurkers who appreciate that there is good dharma that shows up here at times that would feel they were missing out if the good stuff went back Underground. If any want to chime in one time to give their support for those who feel the real thing should be seen somewhere beyond the closed doors, don't hesitate to share your good opinion.

If anyone thinks that was too subtle for those who clearly haven't gotten the message before, let me know. There will be no other warnings, just action.

Remember the DhO will be down for much of tomorrow, the 5th day of Saturnalia (aka Christmas), so hold off posting until we inform you that it has come back up.

Merry Christmas to all. I will be working the night shift in the ED saving lives and stomping out disease.

Daniel

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 11:28 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Back to business: one of the forum posters noted that some here might be creating a space that was not as conducive to reports of deep practice. It is an ominous warning and a very good point. I totally agree. It is also a reasonable critique of my moderating style, which has been too lenient of things that would create any space that hardcore practitioners don't feel comfortable sharing in.

Spaces that are safe for disclosures of deep practice are rare and must be preserved. They are the reason for this place, its founding reason. For those who don't feel safe, let me know, and we can re-open the Dharma Underground, which is still actually here, a part of this website and platform, but just hasn't operated in a while only due to the lack of people posting on it. By failing to advertise it, I think that some have been lost to other venues, continuing the spits that began in the First Great Schism of the DhO.

Other options include removing those barriers to more open disclosure (which was the dream upon which the Dharma Overground, as opposed to the Dharma Underground) was founded, meaning removing whomever and whatever those barriers might be. I presume there are lurkers who appreciate that there is good dharma that shows up here at times that would feel they were missing out if the good stuff went back Underground. If any want to chime in one time to give their support for those who feel the real thing should be seen somewhere beyond the closed doors, don't hesitate to share your good opinion.

If anyone thinks that was too subtle for those who clearly haven't gotten the message before, let me know. There will be no other warnings, just action.

Remember the DhO will be down for much of tomorrow, the 5th day of Saturnalia (aka Christmas), so hold off posting until we inform you that it has come back up.

Merry Christmas to all. I will be working the night shift in the ED saving lives and stomping out disease.

Daniel


Would you remove people who are more on the scientific materialist view of the powers?

the moderators of the Dharma Overground will warn folks who aren't following the basic guidelines of this site to cease and desist. If there are repeated behaviors which undermine the health of the community you will be asked to leave. Though again this isn't common, we've found it necessary from time-to-time to ask someone to leave, in order to preserve a safe and rationally-grounded space for discussion.


Will the above still continue?

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 11:34 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
If anyone thinks that was too subtle for those who clearly haven't gotten the message before, let me know. There will be no other warnings, just action.

You might want to a) be more explicit, and b) post this in a thread whose title has at least something to do with the contents, as it is now it seems buried in a pretty unrelated place.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 12:07 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
@BCDEFG: I will be more explicit. Thanks for the suggestion. An email that is explicit has been sent.


As to scientific materialism: I myself have held that view as my primary paradigm at points and still use it as one of the various modes of conceptualizing various things, as it has its uses, and also its limits. At work, it is one of the primary lenses through which I view patient care, as it is expected and helpful in that environment, but I bow my head in solemn reverence when families pray with me for their deceased loved ones, etc.

Hopefully you can see the difference between someone holding various views and openly mocking people again and again for sharing experiences from their practice and sharing various different world views and doing so without at least contributing some counterbalancing thing that gives sufficient merit to the whole.

Hopefully you can see why a place to discuss high-level practice needs some protections and some enforced culture when common courtesy and a sensitivity to the delicate and fragile nature of discussions about these things is lacking.

If the history lesson above wasn't clear on that, I can give further and less generic examples to help clarify the point.

Were I to mock those in the emergency department who pray for their family members, I would rapidly lose my job and rightly so. Were I to just pray for patients rather than giving them the expected medicines and other treatments, I would similarly lose my job. There is some rough parallel here. Respect for these various paradigms that people find useful and conducive to their well-being and happiness is key, and various circumstances may benefit from various points of view.

Please let me know if you need further clarification, as it is an important paradigm that needs to be transmitted well.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 3:23 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
@BCDEFG: I will be more explicit. Thanks for the suggestion. An email that is explicit has been sent.


As to scientific materialism: I myself have held that view as my primary paradigm at points and still use it as one of the various modes of conceptualizing various things, as it has its uses, and also its limits. At work, it is one of the primary lenses through which I view patient care, as it is expected and helpful in that environment, but I bow my head in solemn reverence when families pray with me for their deceased loved ones, etc.

Hopefully you can see the difference between someone holding various views and openly mocking people again and again for sharing experiences from their practice and sharing various different world views and doing so without at least contributing some counterbalancing thing that gives sufficient merit to the whole.

Hopefully you can see why a place to discuss high-level practice needs some protections and some enforced culture when common courtesy and a sensitivity to the delicate and fragile nature of discussions about these things is lacking.

If the history lesson above wasn't clear on that, I can give further and less generic examples to help clarify the point.

Were I to mock those in the emergency department who pray for their family members, I would rapidly lose my job and rightly so. Were I to just pray for patients rather than giving them the expected medicines and other treatments, I would similarly lose my job. There is some rough parallel here. Respect for these various paradigms that people find useful and conducive to their well-being and happiness is key, and various circumstances may benefit from various points of view.

Please let me know if you need further clarification, as it is an important paradigm that needs to be transmitted well.


I have noticed a reluctance in myself to share my own practice due various reasons. One of them is that I don't feel the DhO conducive for it anymore. And when i have shared recently it was at another forum which is private. I've asked myself why I don't have the urge to share here and it is because the current perception of it is that there would be interruptive reactions from others who may lurk or have a presence here who I think would try and use my sharing to prove or bolster their agenda. Honestly for myself, I think my reluctance to share is due to the hangover tension left by the actual freedom vs dharma friction which has made this place be about yogis getting to the tipping point mostly and not much about post tipping point practice as you also feel reluctant to share.

My own projection (which of course could be completely wrong) is it's like there are sentinels just waiting to pounce on any perceived encroaching on their perceived territory of 'experience'. Whether or not this is true, it is my perception and projection.

I'm all for letting this tension go. A place to discuss practice without that actual freedom vs dharma friction would be more conducive for myself in sharing, but that is just my own conditioning. It may not be like that for others. But being honest, it triggers a lack of urge to share.

It is of course for me to work out by myself, though I'd be interested in joining a dharma underground if I was free to talk about my practice without having to fend with what I perceive as just a turn off to sharing.

I'm also on board with avoiding the mockery posts. They are also a turn off to sharing.

Merry Christmas everyone!


RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 3:15 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
@BCDEFG: I will be more explicit. Thanks for the suggestion. An email that is explicit has been sent.


As to scientific materialism: I myself have held that view as my primary paradigm at points and still use it as one of the various modes of conceptualizing various things, as it has its uses, and also its limits. At work, it is one of the primary lenses through which I view patient care, as it is expected and helpful in that environment, but I bow my head in solemn reverence when families pray with me for their deceased loved ones, etc.

Hopefully you can see the difference between someone holding various views and openly mocking people again and again for sharing experiences from their practice and sharing various different world views and doing so without at least contributing some counterbalancing thing that gives sufficient merit to the whole.

Hopefully you can see why a place to discuss high-level practice needs some protections and some enforced culture when common courtesy and a sensitivity to the delicate and fragile nature of discussions about these things is lacking.

If the history lesson above wasn't clear on that, I can give further and less generic examples to help clarify the point.

Were I to mock those in the emergency department who pray for their family members, I would rapidly lose my job and rightly so. Were I to just pray for patients rather than giving them the expected medicines and other treatments, I would similarly lose my job. There is some rough parallel here. Respect for these various paradigms that people find useful and conducive to their well-being and happiness is key, and various circumstances may benefit from various points of view.

Please let me know if you need further clarification, as it is an important paradigm that needs to be transmitted well.


I have no problem with this if legitimate criticism/skepticism/doubt is allowed. If people are sore about irreverent humour (humour involves irreverence) and yet claim to have so much equanimity then their claim is wrong. Secondly, just get rid of the humour section because humour always pokes fun and often at the expense of other people. It's easy for someone to make fun of something in Buddhism and then someone will get bothered, PM you, and then posters start disappearing.

I don't want this place to be a "night of the long knives", "Soviet purge" type moderation and I don't think you want that either.

I think an area like a Dharma Underground is a good idea if people are sensitive to criticism of more fantastical elements of Buddhism (The Powers/Deities/etc) because people like me will want to question elements of that and would hate any limitations on that. Do I want people to stop practicing? Absolutely not, and I don't think Sawfoot wants that either (unless there are some posts of his I didn't see).

Another thing that needs to be cleared out is this entire Triple Think situation. His current posts seem perfectly fine but I can tell the backlash from people here (related to his other posting style) rubbed you and Nick the wrong way. You guys defend him and know him but to many here it looked like there was exactly what you are saying now, a lack of controls, except on him in particular. Those two diametrically opposed perceptions are what caused a lot of the fighting and disappointment.

As long as it isn't a situation where posters you like can do whatever they want (nonsenscial posts/swearing/threatening) and those that call them out are hit with a chilling effect. Your latest post does seem to hit at a common sense middle ground where name calling and hostile behaviour isn't tolerated, and nor should it be. Apply that with no double standards.

I love this site for the pragmatic side that allows people to decide for themselves what is phenomenologically replicable and just pure faith or speculation. God knows if I was in a typical traditional Sangha I would be kicked out for the probing questions I would ask.

It's probably difficult to get a list of banning offences and expect everyone to read it so I think just one email warning and banning afterwards is totally fair.

This site has been remarkably absent of major trolling compared to other sites I've seen and I believe it will get back on track again.

EDIT: Oh and one more thing. We've seen from time to time people with Dark Night reactions post on the forum and swear, complain, get mad at everyone only to think differently the next day or some period of time after. The only way I can how that would be dealt with is probably nothing, since diagnosis of that could be vague enough that trolls could pretend.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 3:23 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
I have no problem with this if legitimate criticism/skepticism/doubt is allowed...

...I don't want this place to be a "night of the long knives", "Soviet purge" type moderation and I don't think you want that either.
Look here baby dolls, I've already said what I have to say many touchy feeley nambey pambey ways as I know how or care too. There is one way left to carve this bullshit up and that is the hardcore way!

So if you are willing to be my demo Lennon I'm willing to be your butcher Stalin.

Take your legitimate criticism, skepticism, doubt, cynicism and incredulity and go fuck yourself with it. Then come back and tell us all about how it turned out.

T3

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 4:24 PM as a reply to triple think.
Well, that makes for numerous points of view.

The Dharma Underground rises from the dead yet again, as it has before.

Daniel

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 5:57 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Well, that makes for numerous points of view.

The Dharma Underground rises from the dead yet again, as it has before.

Daniel


LOL! Hey you summoned him and into the humour section no less.emoticon

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 6:15 PM as a reply to triple think.
triple think:
There is one way left to carve this bullshit up and that is the hardcore way! Take your legitimate criticism, skepticism, doubt, cynicism and incredulity and go fuck yourself with it. Then come back and tell us all about how it turned out.

T3


What is inappropriate?

Seeking attention in a personal manner, speculating about half-understood concepts, guessing instead of finding out, and being dogmatic and closed-minded. Though uncommon, the moderators of the Dharma Overground will warn folks who aren't following the basic guidelines of this site to cease and desist. If there are repeated behaviors which undermine the health of the community you will be asked to leave. Though again this isn't common, we've found it necessary from time-to-time to ask someone to leave, in order to preserve a safe and rationally-grounded space for discussion.

Additionally: don't post personal information about people that they wouldn't want posted, and don't violate basic laws (e.g. posting private health data, committing libel, telling malicious lies or even needless malicious truths that don't further the goal of promoting skillful practice). Not only should you not do unto others as you wouldn't have them do unto you, but also don't do unto them as they wouldn't want done to themselves regardless of whether or not you care if it was done to you.


It's up to you Daniel, it's your website.

What Sawfoot does seems minor in comparison.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 10:22 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Daniel,

From a different point of view, I'm sure you must of thought something like this was going to happen...and was going to continue happing.

I can understand why the ancients had so many rules for the monks and it (from my understanding) was created to prevent things like this from happening.

I like the idea you had going for this site, but maybe you should put some limitations on what people can do... for example:

-instead of giving everyone the ability to reply to one's post you only give qualified individual the access to help those that are still walking the early part of the path. Otherwise, in my opinion, stuff like this will continue to happen no matter how many people you delete from this form. (On the flip side, every action you take/don't take (as the leader) will push someone away in the idea that was meant to bring people together) <<based on experience and books on leaders.


We are all here to help each other but everyone won't have the same beliefs as you and the individual who has cause this unbalance is just another fly next to your ear.

Ultimately this is your site and you are in control of it so just do what you think is right for the whole and let us get back to the true problem.... suffering.

Your friend,
John

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/24/13 10:30 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
7,000,000,000 people plus, yet only a handful practicing, nowhere to go, no one hears or cares, people hear but don't listen, there is this site Daniel, thank you for your efforts, and all involved. Sometimes when seeds are started it takes humanity several centuries to wake up just a little, maybe it is truth that humanity will backslide and teachings will be lost for future generations. We can only keep trying to stay on the path, we fall off, we dust ourselves off, some keep going, some fall away. Some of us perpetually replay our negative habitual tendencies , over and over and over, I know I have in this life, there is a way out, and this site and others like it help more than one might know, like the tip of the iceberg.

Is it no wonder that monks and nuns would go to secluded places away from the yammerings of the crowd, after all one's own mind is enough to train without contending with other's minds.

I probably shouldn't be writing, but life is short, and.... I just want to express appreciation to everyone for being open and sharing their personal experiences.. I have always felt that people could learn faster and progress forward if truth and experiences were openly shared, there is much more to reality than meets the eye.

Anyway, thanks to all beings that have been open and honest, this is very noble.

Bryan

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/26/13 5:14 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The best those of us who were into it had to choose from were essentially totally hostile to the notion that anything in the world of enlightenment and even the jhanas could be achieved by mere mortals in this lifetime, with the rare and possible exceptions of some of the most famous of the world's spiritual superstars, none of whom posted there


The first dharma post I ever made was on a now extinct website called esangha.com. I posted a descriptive account of a meditation where I believed I had attained the first samatha jhana. I was met with extreme hyper-skepticism where people told me I had no idea what I was talking about or doing as well as ridiculous statements from forum regulars about how jhanas are impossible for lay-persons to attain. In fact, I later found out that it was this incredulous attitude and systematic intolerance that led to esangha's demise. People even began to use extreme dictatorial-like terms such as the website was engaging in "thought control." In fact, the website was eventually shut down due to a defamation lawsuit. See http://www.newkadampatruth.org/e-sangha-is-being-sued

Back in 2008-2009 there were much fewer Buddhist websites/forums in operation as the spin-offs from Daniel and Kenneth's efforts had not yet arisen: such as dharma refugees, buddhistgeeks, kfd (though its original site is also extinct), liberation unleashed, buddha at gas pump, and high-quality blogs that have spun-off such as The Hamilton Project and awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.

It was about this time that I began altering my google searches so that I could find useful practice-oriented information about how to actually attain the jhanas (which were basically impossible to find at the time). This was about the time I found an obscure website called dharmaunderground.wetpaint.com. The website at the time actually did have some descriptive information about how to actually attain the jhanas which I was shocked to find. It was the only website on the internet that had such information (at least one of the only involving first-hand accounts from lay persons). In fact, in these online circles, it was literally taboo to talk about the specifics of how to actually attain to a jhana. It was like it was some secret cult-like-thing that was considered impossible and was spoke about only in hushed whispers. This kind of attitude was held about something as simple as a jhana. It was exponentially worse for meditative attainments like stream-entry, sakadagami, anagami, arahat.

Please keep in mind that it was this hyper-dogmatic skepticism that was not only the downfall of esangha, but was also what prevented earlier generations of practitioners from making any meditative progress whatsoever. Generations of Buddhists would literally sit on their butts and meditate for decades and make absolutely no meditative progress simply because they (and everyone around them) believed it was not possible.

It was solely due to the open-mindedness of a very small group of people that we now take attaining to something "as simple" as the first jhana for granted.

I have gone by my full name on this website in the past and have tried to be very open about some potentially embarrassing and far-out experiences because I believe it is extremely important information that is highly relevant to some people's practice. I have sometimes changed my handle at various points because I felt that having my full name out there somewhat limited the amount of information I was willing to give about my experiences and my practice. I found a slight pseudonym allowed me to describe situations and scenarios related to bizarre and extreme experiences that I didn't seem as willing to describe when my whole name was at the left of the screen. Daniel has a professional job and a regular life dealing with regular people and yet provides many of his far-out experiential descriptions with his full name on the left of the screen. This is not something to be taken for granted in a moderator/founder as the dogmatic-hyper-skeptic history of dharma websites on the internet easily demonstrate. A more open-minded community allows more people to be open about their practice details and experiences and hyper-skepticism allows for less people to be open and more people to debate practically useless points of dogma, a step towards the revival of esangha.com.

Merry Christmas

Tom

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/25/13 8:18 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram, Arahat:
Man, I wish Triplethink was still around...



Daniel M. Ingram, Arahat:
the moderators of the Dharma Overground will warn folks who aren't following the basic guidelines of this site to cease and desist. If there are repeated behaviors which undermine the health of the community you will be asked to leave. Though again this isn't common, we've found it necessary from time-to-time to ask someone to leave, in order to preserve a safe and rationally-grounded space for discussion.


On the Dharma Overground recently I have been openly mocked again and again by one individual, along with being dismissed, judged and insulted by others. Along with that, I have been verbally assaulted ("fuck you" etc…), and threatened with physical harm, and one wonders to what extent the gun play talk was metaphorical.

And I see milder versions of such behaviour directed to others around here all the time.

When I raised some of these issues with the Dharma Overground moderators, considering such behavior as harmful to the health of the community, I was told that this is the work of a wise person, whose behavior was harmless and could safely be ignored if I didn't like it.

But when I mock/satirize the founder of the DhO, we find out what really isn't acceptable behaviour.

When I asked what kind of community we wanted, the answer I effectively got from the founder and a moderator was a community where "serious practice" overrides being decent with each other. I suggested that creates an atmosphere where intolerance and unpleasantness becomes the norm, an environment which we should not be proud of, but nobody else voiced much of an opinion on this.

I don’t know what the solution is, up to you - more moderation, a more private section (at least non-search trawlable) - both seem needed. But to be seen to be taking a stand against unacceptable behaviour is a good start. So I applaud you for stickying this thread.

Daniel M. Ingram, Arahat:

Notice then number of people who are here who are too scared to even use their real names who aren't even talking much about anything to do with the expressed purpose of this forum: sawfoot comes to mind.


I have come as close as I can to "soul baring" on a public forum at times, even while being anonymous. And I have done my best to help others along the way with what little I know. Yes I can be a pain at times, and not every post will embody the spirit of the forum or be as pleasant as I would like it to be. But you know very little about my practice, and how that practice is being expressed through this forum, and how it has helped, and I am indeed scared to share it in detail. And you illustrate well one of the issues. The founder of the community wants to use me as a case example of what real practice is not about and whose contribution has little value to this forum, while at the same time giving a lecture about wanting to have a community where we can share openly and honesty.

The issue reflects a point which I made recently, which I will repeat here:

Sawfoot_:

What it seems to reflect is that an attitude that can be found in some "advanced" "practitioners" of the "Dharma". I see it in people like Chuck, Ian, Nathan/3T/TTT, and often in Daniel. What it reveals is that these people believe very strongly that they are in possession of the truth. They know what real practice is and what real practice isn't. It betrays the attitude that of the truly religious, where doubt has been vanquished. Where they rest on such high ground that they safely dismiss, condescend and at times treat with contempt those that they have judged to be lacking. Crudely psychologizing, it feels like this is linked to a sense of self-worth, of being an authority and having achieved something privileged and special in getting to that truth.

Often this authority is backed up by an appeal to "experiential knowledge". Since I have never experienced the workings of the Arahat's "consciousness without surface", the nth Jhana, the power of Magick or seen a fairy, then I can be talked down to and patronised. Though, when the compassion kicks in, I am told perhaps one day, with good practice, I can learn to see the truth that they see it. And it leads to the working of a power dynamic, where people like Chuck and Nathan are in the club, the truly hardcore, and us heathen non-believers are outside; the power-dynamic of those in the know, "the enlightened ones", the ones we should look up to and respect, and us shit-eaters down here, trawling around in the rubbish.

It doesn't have to be that like though. There are "advanced ones" around on this forum, who embody the spirit of that quote by trying to respond in a helpful, engaged way, who present their "Dharma" as just that. And those archetypes I am chastising will often embody that spirit too, just don't rub them up the wrong way, or disrespect their authoritah...


Daniel M. Ingram, Arahat:

Hopefully you can see the difference between someone holding various views and openly mocking people again and again for sharing experiences from their practice and sharing various different world views and doing so without at least contributing some counterbalancing thing that gives sufficient merit to the whole.


I apologize for making the agenda unclear, personal offence, and not giving sufficient merit for counterbalancing. This stemmed from the "kicking the hornest's nest" approach. I had a couple of agendas, to be fair. The response to this thread served one of them. I will respond to the other one(s) later.


RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/25/13 12:24 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Just accept the fact (like in the Hurricane Ranch talks) that dharma practice doesn't make one into a sanitary human and understanding politics is still the same with ALL individuals. Who's in/who's out and who gets serotonin and who doesn't still operates the same. The amygdala still operates (maybe it's shrunken) and it's a good indication of what 4th path is and what it isn't. To me the best indicator of what is virtue has to do with actions and those with better actions (no matter what religious tradition) is the best standard to judge behaviour. This will be true whether someone is wearing robes, running a business, working in government, or running a charity.

Human behaviour is a spectrum with The Wolf of Wall Street on one end and a Monk/Nun who has deconditioned their sex drive and renounced material wealth on the other end. All this dharma drama is probably being laughed at right now.

If you want to see improved behaviour the best thing is to improve your own.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/25/13 4:05 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Exercise for those who are interested: try to identify the needs of the major players and groups, and then imagine and propose scenarios that maximize everyone getting their needs met.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/25/13 5:04 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
As a moderately disinterested third party, my perspective would be that sawfoot's initial thread may have been in poor taste as it did not seem (from my point of view) to have been created with intent other than to mock. At the same time, I agree with nearly everything he has written in this post. It does seem there is a double standard being applied here, and that what he previously had issue with and was encouraged to practice in reaction to is now unacceptable when it comes from his end. I don't know sawfoot. I don't know Daniel. We (Daniel and I) did exchange e-mails previously and I found him to be polite, helpful and to go way beyond what I had asked for in terms of assistance, so I'm not aware of any personal bias on my end.
As far as what is conducive to practice, that seems entirely in the mindset of the individual. I used to spend quite a bit of time at KFD and still post practice notes there under my real name, Bill, just as I post here under my real name. So I can't comment on some bygone era where everyone brought their A game that has now passed, but it seems after a quick scan through that most of the threads seem to be centered on practice, people asking questions, or posting logs or experiments. Some people seem to be arguing, some debating, some offering help or suggestions, which to the best of my memory is how these forums have generally been with individual forums having slightly different flavors. Again, I wan't here in the beginning so perhaps the vibe was quiet different then.

Bill

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/26/13 2:26 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I have been verbally assaulted ("fuck you" etc…), and threatened with physical harm, and one wonders to what extent the gun play talk was metaphorical. 


I would like to add to what I have written in this post by stating that threats should be taken seriously and should be grounds for dismissal. I agree with Sawfoot that this not acceptable behavior and some course of action should be made when and if this rare sort of thing occurs again. I have never seen this happen on this forum before and I believe there is a lack of precedent for this sort of thing.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
9/20/14 3:56 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Exercise for those who are interested: try to identify the needs of the major players and groups, and then imagine and propose scenarios that maximize everyone getting their needs met.


Exercise for the reader: try to identify who the major players are. The vast majority of lurkers (e.g., you out there, reading this!), the majority of posters, or the high level practitioners keeping Daniel company at the very top?

Sometimes the lines are so clear you don't even to read between them. If you ain't hardcore, if you don't measure up, then your presence here is, at best, tolerated.

But what do you want, Daniel? As I get confused - a playground for you and your friends, or a world in which the stages of insight are taught in school and part of mainstream medicine etc...? No need to answer that, though, just a rhetorical dig.

Daniel M. Ingram:

Seeking attention in a personal manner, speculating about half-understood concepts, guessing instead of finding out, and being dogmatic and closed-minded.


Warning, EricG, long post! To save you the trouble of having to read it, it ends with "goodbye".

So one agenda. The DhO overground: a place to share. As long as sharing involves engaging in the kind of practice and method of sharing that the overlords have decreed is real Dharma. And woe betide those that look for personal attention, who speculate or guess about concepts or experiences they don't fully understand (watch out, Richard, with all that talk of 4th path!), or, worst sacrilege of all, be dogmatic and closed-minded. You should follow the example of the overlords...

(Aside: I openly admit to being dogmatic and closed-minded, and generally see it as a good thing. You can be pretty clear though, of what it really means when somebody uses it against you in an argument).

One question I have been asking recently, is how seriously should we take someone who believes in X if X is false? But you could move beyond truth and false claims and ask: What value and meaning does their teaching have if you strip away these kinds of beliefs? What meaning does it have without it? And why do they believe in X? How does the why influence the how? What narratives does it partake in, and how does it link to their I-making? These are difficult questions to ask and to respond to skilfully, but I think worth exploring.

Another agenda. My purpose was not taking aim at the experiences Daniel reports of being a grim, gigantic, armored skeletal titan-like thing that ran tirelessly through space swinging a gigantic sword and doing battle nearly continuously without sleep for hundreds of thousands of years that was killed by something like a dragon. Instead, what I think is actually worth mocking is this line from Daniel:


"if you believe in such experiences having validity"


What we have here is the same principle which lead to my conventional wisdom and fairies thread.

The point, which we see expressed in Daniel and elsewhere in many contemporary approaches to spirituality, is to claim to be "respecting all points of view, ", and of not taking a stance on what is real or what is not real, what is true and false, what is valid and what is not valid. But then, actually, taking a stance. Respecting all points of view that suit them.

To put the quote in context, Daniel was describing his achievement of becoming an Arahat - "what I have done is remarkable and very unusual". And given ancient Buddhist beliefs, the Arahat idea involves rebirth across countless lifetimes, hence the comment "Take that all for what you will" - that you might expect his past lives to involve lives of great merit befitting his remarkable achievement. Implicitly (though of not great relevance here) the stance being taken here is that since Daniel is an Arahat, just based on his memories of past lives, it would call into question the merit idea.

For me, the classic aliens guy meme is this:




And so, with Daniel:

I am not saying my rebirth experiences have validity. But they have validity.


And from the fairies thread (where Daniel was suggesting he could telepatically control another person's mind to get them to put a lid on a smelly marker):


"Pure coincidence? External manipulation of the behavior of another person? Prognostication masquerading as manipulation? I personally don't care, as it worked, and that is what I care about: effects, being a pragmatist as I am…"

I am not saying it isn't coincidence. But it isn't a coincidence. I have magic powers.





Through these threads I have been trying to get my head around what makes people in the modern era believe in things like fairies and in rebirth/reincarnation. And I am honing in on a/one 21st century answer. Speculative Non Buddhists has been useful, also thanks to [url=]David Webster


"The way ‘spirituality’ is often used suggests that we exist solely as a collection of individuals, not as members of a religious community, and that religious life is merely a private journey. It is the religious expression of the ideology of free-market economics and of the radical ‘disencumbered’ individualism that idolizes the choice-making individual as the prime reality in the world."

Robert Bellah
~The Future of Religion


As the spiritual consumer, you can pick and choose, and not get into the messy business of backing up claims about rightness, engaging in explanation, difficult and challenging thinking. You don't have to worry about whether things are true or real or not. Just if they work for YOU, if they give you some value. You can have your Magick, your powers, your energy practices. You can have them all. And you get to decide when conventional wisdom applies.

The narrative you see with Daniel (the life saving doctor!), and present in a lot of new religious movements, is one of specialness. I am a special one. And you are the chosen ones, fellow brave adventurers on the forefront of what is humanely possible in this lifetime. You are on the side of the forces of light (btw, Daniel, you might want to fire off some warning emails to all the mockers on this [url=]unstickied thread, though since the high priests have declared he isn't enlightened, maybe not worth the effort). You can create your own reality, bend the world to your will (it's Magick!). In fact, your experience IS ultimate reality. This is why we see the emotional reactions to reason and skepticism (embodied by the cowardly materialist troll sawfoot_) that are perceived to seek deny, trivialise, discount or explain your reality. The narrative this ties into, that really drives Daniel, is essentially the same as that of the conspiracy theorist. And it is an intoxicating one of having the insider knowledge of real Dharma, real "high level" practice, the secret hidden practice that others would seek to hide, dismiss, and mock, the secret manual MCTB, that got passed around hand to hand, back in the good old days, when men were men. And you are part of that cabal, or you are the enemy, disrupting their real practice, or even worse, wasting your time.

I understand the historical reasons for the present sensitivity. Now, in the present, are you secure enough in your practice to engage in critique and self-reflection? Is this a community mature and "open minded" enough to have fundamental assumptions challenged? To even be welcomed?

We do all have agendas. We are all dogmatic. None of us are open minded. We have experiences, which are real, and we interpret those experiences. We do all take stances on interpretations being real and not-real. And we need to explore and examine those interpretations, ourselves and our practice closely. We need to take the idea of truth seriously. I have tried to engage here in this community and my own version of pragmatic dharma, and have found it difficult to engage many with the practice of thinking. Justified or in poor taste or not, fairies and killing machines have led to some signs of reflection and exposed some behaviours and stances, which to my mind, was a price worth paying for being a bit of a dick on an internet forum. If you think the point of life is just to maxmise your well-being and happiness, then you might disagree.

Slipping into my own martyr narrative, it is clear that my "senseless austerity" is not welcome around these parts. So goodbye.

(edited a few bits an hour later).

(edit again)

Daniel, just a final observation, now the righteous indignation is fading a bit.

You are right I am not appreciative of the history.

One key feature of "hardcore" is its anti-authoritarian nature. The irony is that I suspect one reason why I bring out a certain response in you is that you see me as emblematic of "the establishment" and everything wrong with it. Yet, here we are now, as a measure of how far hardcore/pragmatic dharma has come, you are now the authority figure, symbol of the establishment and holder of the dogma that I am kicking against.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/26/13 12:04 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

We do all have agendas. We are all dogmatic. None of us are open minded. We have experiences, which are real, and we interpret those experiences. We do all take stances on interpretations being real and not-real. And we need to explore and examine those interpretations, ourselves and our practice closely. We need to take the idea of truth seriously. I have tried to engage here in this community and my own version of pragmatic dharma, and have found it difficult to engage many with the practice of thinking. Justified or in poor taste or not, fairies and killing machines have led to some signs of reflection and exposed some behaviours and stances, which to my mind, was a price worth paying for being a bit of a dick on an internet forum. If you think the point of life is just to maxmise your well-being and happiness, then you might disagree.

I feel the need to contest a few of these ideas.

First, your obsession with objectivity: "We need to take the idea of truth seriously." Why? This forum is dedicated to contemplative practice; experience is the golden standard. Furthermore, I doubt musings regarding the ontological status of visions about a skeletal titan-like thing will hinder Daniel's ability to function in daily life. Daniel has made it clear that he knows when to use which perspective.

Second, your implication that meditation is selfish (?), "If you think the point of life is just to maxmise your well-being and happiness, then you might disagree." And, I'll simultaneously address that Robert Bellah quote. Here's some quick reasoning (I can elaborate): Most of the suffering in the world is caused by neurotic/egotistical humans. Meditation effectively alleviates if not eliminates neuroticism (in this sense it is The Solution). If everyone (or even just a large chunk) meditated the world would be a dramatically better place. As individuals we have a responsibility to meditate and then be an example or teach others. And, finally, the more skilled you become the more apparent is this statement: "I can't be truly happy until everyone is happy too." Meditation is more than compatible with selflessness (hehe). If you think the point of life is just to seek The Truth, then you might disagree.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/26/13 9:37 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Well, there is a lot in all of that to parse and perhaps respond to.

I agree with Tom Tom and Sawfoot in that threats of violence are not good, and I will address that.

Regarding the odd juxtaposition of Sawfoot's comments that would imply that those who aren't at "the top" are tolerated at best, hopefully people have found that nothing could be further from the truth and that much support is lent to people at all levels and that those at all levels benefit from having people around at different levels.

I personally have been at many levels regarding all sorts of things and have found it really helpful to have people who could teach me things, found it fun to share with people going through similar things to me, and found it fun to teach others things that other people taught me. I hope people here find the same thing to be true. I have learned a tremendous amount by being a part of this forum.

Regarding the critique that only those methods decreed by the Overlords are welcome here, those who know the history of the place will remember that one of the primary sources of the greatest instability arose when I refused to block certain methods and emphases that were considered by many traditionalists to be heretical, those being methods and emphases that I initially was yet at the time very skeptical of, then tried out to see what they were about, then came to some more experienced view on them that contained a bit more perspective for having done the experiment, as it advocated here.

There have been a whole lot of different practices and styles of practice and traditions and fusions and innovations advocated here by a wide range of people, and that is one of my favorite things about the place, as it has taught me a lot about things I didn't know much about. I hope people have similar experiences.

Regarding the critique that if someone believes "X" and we believe "X" not to be true then we might hold other things about them with skepticism, consider that the vast majority of my colleagues who are doctors are Republican Monotheists, a viewpoint that might be argued by some to have aspects that contract aspects of Scientific Materialism as a strict doctrine, the Republican part coming in regarding things like climate change denial, Creationism, pro-capital punishment (the science of which is strikingly not in its favor), pro-War on Drugs (the science of which is strikingly not in its favor) and the like, which are not necessarily strictly Republican views, but very common in those circles.

Were one to think, "Ah, Doctor Y believes in God. He must be crazy. I won't go to him for care as he can't be a good doctor," then one might be missing out, as some of the best doctors I know are fervent Theists, some Monotheists, some Polytheists, and some with views that if you actually really got them talking would blow your mind.

If you needed life-saving care, would you refuse to be cared for by one who wasn't a strict Scientific Materialist? I hope not.

Regarding the Dharma, I have gotten lots of good, helpful, practical advice from people who possessed many views on the world and engaged in lifestyles that I found less than appealing. This is called "Taking the good, leaving the bad." It is a practical view. I realize that pragmatism seems to not be among the primary values you hold dear, but perhaps you will see the practical value of it at some point.

Regarding the experiences I had that lead to the past life list, those experiences were a series of what were like bubbles that radiated out in about 1 second off to the back of my left shoulder sort of at a diagonal, and they conveyed a very large amount of information in an uncannily short amount of time. The experience occurred, that is true. Interpretations clearly are the interpretations and separate from the experience: at least this is something we agree on. The value comes as one experiments with various views and sees what benefits, what doesn't, and the like. Again, pragmatism is my foundation premise. Ontology is hard to come by, as has been noted before by some pretty smart people.

You clearly feel compelled to find deep truth, and I can appreciate that passion at least. Consider doing the basic experiment advocated here, that being meticulous sensate inquiry in high dose for long enough to get into the relevant territory which has been well-tested and verified by many, not just a small secret cabal.

Regarding the specialness you ascribe to new religious movements, there is nothing new about this, nothing unique to me in this. It is a tradition that was taught to me by numerous people that goes back way before I was born and is actually quite large, just not always obviously so, particularly if you don't know the history of the thing.

What is ironic in your critique is you seem to think this was all some secret that I was keeping back in the day to feel special, when in fact the reverse is true: these were things that have all been in plain sight if you know where to look, going way back to the original Pali Canon, found in abundance in the Commentaries, and widely disseminated in various places, just not that much in this period in Western Buddhism and some aspects of Asian Buddhism, those being gross generalizations and somewhat stylized stereotypes to illustrate general points, as it is really much more complex than that.

I just found myself going from the one situation of open disclosure of the stages of practice, finding the maps what were well-laid by many long before I got there, and then found myself in a situation, first at IMS, then at other places, where the maps were suppressed, where progress wasn't expected and talking about it was taboo, and, having come from a tradition where progress was expected and normal and the maps were just one more helpful thing, like a tuning fork for a piano player, like a road map to a driver, and finding that culture of secrecy and tabooness very dysfunctional, I endeavored to advocate for practical, time-tested solutions that were totally open in plenty of places, just not those.

You again have to know the history of where all of this is coming from to appreciate why that work done by me and others, including plenty of those here and in sister communities, is really important, and how wide and open an effort it has been, an effort to normalize good practice, to bring things down to earth, to make the dharma more accessible and easier for people, and to help people navigate in the difficult territories that Feel-good Western Buddhism often tried to pretend didn't exist or simply didn't know about at all.

I agree, I feel special in that, and it feels good, and I know that plenty here feel similarly, as I feel good when I help people in the emergency department, asI feel good when I help this place be what I believe it can be, as I feel good when I cook myself a nourishing meal and think, "Ah, that is good!", and I don't apologize for that feeling, as it is helpful and normal and helps reinforce what I personally feel is good behavior. Plenty of people feel special for doing all sorts of bad things. I think that criticizing people for feeling good when they do helpful things is not helpful.

MCTB is not some secret manual: it passes on lots of details about practice that were compiled from the numerous publicly published sources that it lists (Practical Insight Meditation, In this Very Life, On the Path of Freedom, The Visuddhimagga, The Vimuttimagga, the Pali Canon, and numerous others), combines them with teachings by numerous people, some of which were given in public, some of which were needlessly taught in secret, and adds in some experiential details. It has been available for free online for over a decade. I just don't see where you are getting the take on it that you have. Again, I think that the lack of historical perspective combined with some internal scripts and drivers is causing difficulties, to use Transactional Analysis language, a lingo that has some pragmatic benefits and has not been well-appreciated by younger generations.

Regarding your notion that you have tried to engage this comment of pragmatic dharma and found it difficult to engage people in the practice of thinking, that is perhaps a bit of a harsh comment and somewhat dismissive. Is it perhaps that you are sufficiently narrow that any thinking that doesn't align with your thinking is not really thinking? It would seem that is your view. I personally put a lot of thought into my posts, and I know that lots of others do also.

I offer the following analogy, realizing that it is a crude one:

Imagine that someone who was studying Algebra burst into a college class on Differential Equations and started yelling about how the square root of a negative number can't exist, as Mr Jones in the Algebra class clearly demonstrated to them all, and that this "i" that they were using for the square root of negative one didn't exist and it was totally crazy to use it, that it was not just imaginary but delusional and that they should all immediately convert to the yelling person's views on this and if they didn't then they obviously were non-thinking and dogmatic cabalists engaged in hierarchical secret teachings designed to make them feel special but doing so based on obvious lies told by the professor and his old boy cronies, people who went around calling themselves "engineers" out of arrogance and a desire to exclude those at the bottom from their special elite club, despite things like Khan Academy videos freely given to teach people how to do differential equations, and despite numerous people for many years successfully using differential equations and even doing so in public.

Let's say that the people in the class, who happened to have used the number i successfully to solve real world problems, such as for properly tuning the damping of shock absorbers in automobiles, and to solve the behavior of electronic circuits that were subjected to alternating currents, tried to explain to the ranting zealot: "Look, it is true that from a certain point of view that the imaginary number i doesn't exist, and yet it is useful and yields good real-world results anyway, and so, if you care about this topic, you should study and learn how to use these equations and try them out in the real world and see how they perform regarding predicting the oscillation of potential and manifest energies and the like in various physical systems."

Let's say the ranting zealot responded, "Screw you all, I'm outta' here." Is anyone in the class going to miss that? Perhaps there was some skillful way to convey something to them that was better than what the class came up with, and perhaps their wasn't. One way or the other, the whole scene was obviously unfortunate, true, and there might be hard feeling all around, true, and that is obviously not good, but I do think that all of this was based on numerous misunderstandings and some complex underlying issues that were never well-addressed.

Obviously those who have seen the utility of something that seems crazy are going to feel sorry for the person who rejected their favorite type of mathematics, and the zealot is going to go off feeling like he totally failed to save a bunch of lost and confused losers. What could have prevented this situation? It is a good question, one I will probably ponder for a long time, as I am sure that all sides of this could have handled things better.

What is interesting is that discussion about the craziness of Differential Equations using the square root of a negative number (which clearly can't exist) actually happened, with very smart, educated, concerned zealots who said that those doing Differential Equations were out of their minds to do that mathematics, and yet the imaginary number i laid the foundation for basically every device you use every day from your car to your cell phone. The History of i.

Another analogy came to mind, which is a bit more childish (but also more emotionally honest):

An 8 year-old boy sees a father kissing his wife and thinks, "Gross! Girls have cooties!" Something in all of this strikes me as similar, like watching a nervous virgin stand aghast while they are watching an orgy and not being able to help feeling bad for them. It is a crude analogy and likely to cause some strong reactions, but regarding the powers and more unusual experiences, there was, from my point of view, however flawed, something of Freud's Latent-phase prudishness in Sawfoot that came to mind in this case. I can only imagine the comments this might create, but it actually gets at something that I honestly felt during this exchange, even if you don't find the metaphor apt, just so you know I can own that and realize it very well might be nothing more than my own confused projections. Take it as just an attempt for me to describe something of my internal experience, as it was a lot like that, and not as some certain critique of anything at all necessarily true about Sawfoot, who I haven't met and don't know well except by his posts here, which is clearly a poor data set on which to base firm conclusions.

Thoughts on how all of this could have gone better, or was it just a poor paradigmatic fit from the get-go, or what?

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/26/13 7:05 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
MCTB is not some secret manual: it passes on lots of details about practice that were compiled from the numerous publicly published sources that it lists (Practical Insight Meditation, In this Very Life, On the Path of Freedom, The Visuddhimagga, The Vimuttimagga, the Pali Canon, and numerous others), combines them with teachings by numerous people, some of which were given in public, some of which were needlessly taught in secret, and adds in some experiential details. It has been available for free online for over a decade.


Thoughts on how all of this could have gone better, or was it just a poor paradigmatic fit from the get-go, or what?


I think the appeal of MCTB comes from taking ancient and fairly obscure source material intended for monks and packaging them for the rationally minded westerner, in plain somewhat informal English. Thus the teachings are brought back down to earth and presented as being possible for lay-persons who don't have to spend their life in a monastery or cave. MCTB is so convincing in doing this that there is a high percentage of new-comers on this forum that report having been rational atheists turned off to religion/spirituality/meditation until reading MCTB and seeing how the dharma can actually be so rational and scientific in its approach.

I have yet to see any of these people come on the forum and debate that stream entry is an impossibility, an implausible goal, and isn't real. This type of argument might be made on previous forums on the internet prior the the advent of dharmaoverground and mctb. These people usually need no personal confirmation that stream entry is real as they generally accept the account in mctb and the accounts from others on this forum that stream entry is real, attainable, and is not fake despite having not yet achieved this particular goal.

However, there is a certain amount of content such as re-birth and the powers that rely on a significant amount of personal experience that extends beyond the range of what is necessary to actually obtain paths. To what extent this type of material can be convincingly conveyed to be empirically extrapolated from sensate phenomena to those that have not yet experienced such phenomena in the same way the paths were explained, I do not yet know. I do know that the section on magick and the powers in MCTB is quite brief and does not provide the sort of "kick in the ass" that the explanation of the paths had on the skeptical part of the mind.

There is also no information at all regarding re-birth in mctb, the sensations and experiences that provide evidence for the possibility of such phenomena and little information on how the powers are actually relevant and actual parts of some people's meditations though they are not necessary for obtaining paths. I understand that to address this material similarly to the way MCTB addressed paths (stream entry - arahat) would require the number of pages found in an entirely new book/manual along with more warnings of potential dangers.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/26/13 11:24 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:

However, there is a certain amount of content such as re-birth and the powers that rely on a significant amount of personal experience that extends beyond the range of what is necessary to actually obtain paths. To what extent this type of material can be convincingly conveyed to be empirically extrapolated from sensate phenomena to those that have not yet experienced such phenomena in the same way the paths were explained, I do not yet know. I do know that the section on magick and the powers in MCTB is quite brief and does not provide the sort of "kick in the ass" that the explanation of the paths had on the skeptical part of the mind.

There is also no information at all regarding re-birth in mctb, the sensations and experiences that provide evidence for the possibility of such phenomena and little information on how the powers are actually relevant and actual parts of some people's meditations though they are not necessary for obtaining paths. I understand that to address this material similarly to the way MCTB addressed paths (stream entry - arahat) would require the number of pages found in an entirely new book/manual along with more warnings of potential dangers.


I agree with this. MCTB2 ought to present the idea of "powers" with a little more sensitivity toward skeptics/materialists.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning)
Answer
12/27/13 4:27 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
happy new year all.
...well I'll answer the initial question asked with a simple, unproveable description of some mind experiences in this lifetime:

once
i was a tibetan man, living by a stoney river in a hut made of poles and skins with a high cheekboned wife and baby. I was killed at the edge of a forest by a group of men who wanted something I had.

once
i was a thin patrician man living in great wealth in england in a large country villa. i was very concious of the vacuous nature of my wealth and posessions as well as the unsatisfactory nature of my relationships. i died alone in the big house.

once
i was everything. the universe was my being and the beings in it were my cells and my raison d'etre. the spinning worlds and galaxies were my breath and balance.

i still go to work every day and still wonder what reality is. i miss the postings of some people i have never met in this real life but who have helped me greatly with their tips and compassion and failings.

i love this place and never saw a problem between dharma and af otherr than the problems people made of the differences.

thanks daniel and the rest of you.

tom moylan

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/27/13 1:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I agree with Tom Tom and Sawfoot in that threats of violence are not good, and I will address that.


The thing I most wanted to hear. :thumbs up:

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/27/13 3:24 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The stench of hypocrisy is getting pretty strong around here. Way too strong for me to stomach, no loss to anyone though.

I clearly see two "tiers" of practitioners on this site. Those who can say what they want with no repercussions, along with the highly realized "HARDCORE" (I think that needs to always be capitalized and said with the same voice the announcer on monster truck commercials uses). And the rest of us lowly slobs trying, moment by moment, to understand how to implement what Buddha taught. That's the only reason that I ever participated on any forum. (I don't use my real name because it could jeopardize my job, I suppose that's an indication that I'm just not "HARDCORE" enough).
It's a little sad, to me at least, how many advanced practitioners seem to be falling into the same "opinion trap" as those of us in the cheap seats. It really is reaching a comical level, perhaps you could get member only jackets or something, or continue with the juvenile pissing contests, everyone seems to love those!
"I'm the "HARDCOREST"! "No I am!!" "Go Fuck Yourself and report back" "I'm gonna shoot you in the face!!" blah blah blah
LOL

All the best and much Metta,

B

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/27/13 3:48 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
The stench of hypocrisy is getting pretty strong around here. Way too strong for me to stomach, no loss to anyone though.

I clearly see two "tiers" of practitioners on this site. Those who can say what they want with no repercussions, along with the highly realized "HARDCORE" (I think that needs to always be capitalized and said with the same voice the announcer on monster truck commercials uses). And the rest of us lowly slobs trying, moment by moment, to understand how to implement what Buddha taught. That's the only reason that I ever participated on any forum. (I don't use my real name because it could jeopardize my job, I suppose that's an indication that I'm just not "HARDCORE" enough).
It's a little sad, to me at least, how many advanced practitioners seem to be falling into the same "opinion trap" as those of us in the cheap seats. It really is reaching a comical level, perhaps you could get member only jackets or something, or continue with the juvenile pissing contests, everyone seems to love those!
"I'm the "HARDCOREST"! "No I am!!" "Go Fuck Yourself and report back" "I'm gonna shoot you in the face!!" blah blah blah
LOL

All the best and much Metta,

B

+1. It seems once you get far enough and get others to recognize that, you can pretty much say whatever you want, to the point where if someone else who didn't get that far or whose attainments aren't recognized were to say those same things, they would be warned or something.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/28/13 6:56 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Alright, I hear that there is some frustration with some issues around perceived and/or actual hierarchy stuff and perceived dichotomies about how people are handled.

I think that there are two kinds of people in this world: those that think there are two kinds of people and those that don't.

But seriously...

I think there are a number of issues at play here, at least as I see it, and I welcome other opinions on the subject.

First, the issue of a two-tier system: from this vantage point, which is only one perspective, I see a wide range of skill levels and talents on a while spectrum of skills. Nobody here has all the pieces or all the answers. Plenty of people here do have a lot of good experiences to draw on regarding various things.

It is definitely true that there are some old friend networks here and that probably does skew things, though not everyone in those old friend networks is necessarily a very skilled practitioner of whatever, but it probably does put some bias towards tolerating some things that from people we don't know well we might not. Fair enough, and I will try to make sure that this bias is minimized to the degree that it can be. Just as we might tolerate things from a long-time spouse or other family member that we wouldn't tolerate on a first date, so it is here.

There is something very human about this, though with awareness it can likely be moderated and made more skillful. It could be seen as a failing or it could be seen as just a standard part of human nature, and it could also be seen as an argument for sticking around and becoming part of the family, realizing that initially that might require the same courtesy a first date does, as is standard in basically all human cultures and settings.

There is also the perennial human thing that various skill levels do tend to translate to various rungs on the social ladder, and this is so pervasive in basically all walks of life and seemingly largely hardwired that totally compensating for it is probably not possible, though moderating it and trying to make everyone feel more welcome and appreciated definitely is.

I started out in this barely able to feel my feet when walking and being totally intimidated by those who had read the old texts and the like, so I get what it is like to be somewhere else in the process, and something similar is true of basically everyone else who has come up in this stuff to some degree, so don't think there is not real sympathy for what that is like. My reaction to my reaction was to learn to feel my feet and to read the old texts, and that worked out well for me and I would recommend it.

I currently face a similar thing regarding music. I spent a lot of time playing guitar and bass, watching YouTube videos about music gear, keeping up my scales and skill sets, expanding my knowledge of extended harmony and working on my time-feel and the like. I am an intermediate player: with some prep, I could step on a stage and give a pretty good performance, though nobody would think I was a star. The music I would really like to play, jazz-funk-fusion with a techno dance beat, is just a step or two beyond where I currently am: that frustrates me a lot. The problem comes when I start to think about actually being in a band again, which is the kind of thing that I think I would need to take myself to the next level.

Most musicians my age are either professionals whose skills are many notches beyond mine or they stopped playing seriously years ago and just dabble now and again. The professionals might tolerate my playing but are not likely to want to be in a band with me, though were I to get to hang out with them, I suspect my playing would rapidly improve, and the dabblers who have let their skills slide would likely in turn frustrate me. Similarly, I am not sure how it would go hanging out with some of the the 20-year olds that might be better matches for my current level, and I am not sure I would learn enough from them to get where I want to go, and most younger musicians are going to want to party more than I would likely tolerate well. The upshot is that I keep to myself, play in my bedroom, and this has gone on for years. At some point, I will face my fears and get out there, but that hasn't happened yet. Thus, I can totally sympathize with what it is like to feel isolated based on one's current skill levels. When I go looking for a band, I will do so with humility and a realization that it takes time to get to know people and establish the trust and rapport that makes for great playing together and learning.

As a momentary aside about this moment, I must say, this soup of leeks, turnips and carrots is mighty tasty.

The other side to this is worth noting: the problems with perceived social hierarchies and the reactions to those that are created around various skill levels goes both ways also, and one of the reasons that those with more advanced practices often have voluntarily kept more to themselves is that reactions to good practice, such as crying "HARDCORE" in that sort of way, does push them to be more closeted and exclusive, as has actually just happened here with renewed interest in the previously dormant Dharma Underground, which is members-only, so one must be wary of not creating the very thing that one wishes to decry.

People can't help that they have achieved whatever and it can feel weird to be on that end of things, isolating in its own way, let me tell you. People projecting their issues with authority and the like onto this only makes it worse. Notice the Foreword and Warning in my book: I do not say, "My strong practice has brought me lots of friends and made me feel connected to people," and instead warn about this isolation and loneliness, and I am not alone in this, ironically. Many gathered to this refuge and its sister refuges to fight the loneliness they also felt when they got good at this stuff or even just wanted to be good at this stuff, as even wanting it will get you isolated in many meditation communities.

On a more generic note, it is true that there has been a lot of conflict and controversy here, and it comes in various sorts and around various issues. As anyone who knows the place and its history and the history of its sister sites and the background that came before these all even existed knows all too well, the battles at times have been strong and not always pretty.

Where the lines are around what is skillful controversy and what is not is has not always been clear or obvious to any of us, and opinions about what should and shouldn't be tolerated her have varied widely over the years, mine included, and it is not always easy to sort out. I personally spend a whole lot of time thinking about this and revising my views based on doing the experiment one way and the other and it is clearly a work in progress.

It is also true that my experience in various dharma circles and among dharma friends and frenemies and foils has known a lot of complexity, and I have had to spend a lot of time extracting dharma from all sorts of people whose with whom interactions were not always easy, and I am being euphemistic here. The classic example, well known and requiring no further explanation, of my dear old friend Kenneth Folk and I battling it out at many points, is just one of many. Using the family metaphor again, I do consider Kenneth like a brother, and so over the years have tolerated things from him that I would tolerate from basically nobody else.

These experiences have created in me some views on all of this that include the following:

1) Talking about it, really talking about it honestly, about the phenomenology, about the practices that lead to those experiences, about how it is done, about what happened, about how various views impacted what happened, about successes and failures, about the grit and the glory, the pain and the ecstasy and the hard, boring drudgery in between and all of that: this is essential. So much has gone wrong when this was forgotten, so much goes right when this is done well. I hold this as a first principle. Sawfoot began to create a space where some were feeling that they shouldn't talk about their experiences and interpretations: I am not ok with that nor am I likely to be in the future.

Regarding the notion that it was only when he began criticizing me that I started considering banning him is totally not true, as this forum's history amply demonstrates. We had gone back and forth for numerous posts on numerous threads with his mockery of my take on the powers and my responses, and this has gone on for a while, back and forth, on and on. Our little dharma skirmish was a small one as they go and not particularly close to my heart. I have engaged in many similar things over the years and that is just fine. I even enjoyed parts of the exchange and it helped refine some of my arguments for my perspective and see various counterarguments that people might raise.

I get criticized a lot around here and have for years. Those familiar with the place will know that only a handful of people have ever been banned and not one was banned for anything related to criticizing me.

However, you will notice that when I realized that the fall-out from the thing and from my tolerance of that was that others were feeling like if they spoke out they would be subjected to the same sort of heat and that they didn't want to be subjected to the same sort of heat but instead wanted a less conflict-ridden space in which to talk about what their practice was like, then that is totally different and the approach changed when I realized the shadow that my tolerance for that level of criticism was creating, as ironically my tolerance created a place where an atmosphere of intolerance was allowed to flourish.

2) Pragmatism is key, meaning what works is key, with works meaning that it makes our lives and the lives of those around us better. I realize that there are lots of people with other standards for what is important, and pragmatism can certainly benefit from other qualifiers and supports, or it can devolve into things like the dark side of realpolitik, such as dangerous views such as drones are good and we realize we will kill some innocent children but so long as we don't feel pain and we kill our perceived enemies then it's all ok.

3) Sometimes you do have to tolerate a lot of crazy to get to the good stuff. It is unfortunate but true. It has been demonstrated again and again and again. There does tend to be something quirky about those who go really deeply into meditation. Consider the many forces that drive people so far outside of the ordinary: some are noble, others are their attempts to heal wounds, wrestle with demons, and find a way to make sense of the crazy within themselves and whatever unfortunate conditioning they came from. I am not excusing it or rationalizing it, just pointing it out as a repeatedly demonstrated trend, nor am I saying it is all ok, as it is not.

It is not that we shouldn't all strive to be kind and sane and wise whenever possible, as obviously we should, but that doesn't always go well. To what degree any online forum or community should tolerate that is obviously hotly debated, and mechanisms for trying to push things in better directions are also. I recognize that this debate is important and welcome various opinions on it.

Regarding specifically Triple Think, who has been the subject of much debate as of late, he is truly a good guy at heart, I feel, and yet it is also true that he doesn't respond as well as he might when prodded, and I am being euphemistic here. He and I have corresponded about this. For those who wish to try to benefit from what he has to offer, which is substantial, perhaps try some greater degree of respect. I can guarantee that the "kicking the hornet's nest approach" is not likely to go well, as has been amply demonstrated, and, given its obvious failures, it is surprising that it was tried again and again and again. I forget that plenty here also probably don't know his history, having not been here for his explanations of his own journey and its complexities. In previous posts he has been very forthcoming about his own psychological complexities, which are very real, and also generously forthcoming with his dharma, which is also very deep. His willingness to be open about his psych history paved the way for numerous other people to be open about their own, which has lead to some good conversations that otherwise may not have happened, so I am grateful for that.

4) Hostile evangelism doesn't tend to go well. In some of my early dharma days, I tried various versions of this in some local communities, fiercely expounding my view that people should aim high, strive for amazing insights and deep states of concentration and the like. It made so much sense to me at the time and still does. That said, it almost always went over extremely badly. Was the view wrong? That question is naive, assumes a vacuum and lacks context. In certain contexts, it was very wrong from numerous points of view and right only in something that might be loosely termed the abstract. In other, very small and unusual communities, that view does ok. This aims to be a community where that view is quite acceptable as one among many.

Similarly, there is probably no community that is going to respond well to all views if they are presented strongly enough and with strong intolerance for the views they aim to replace. As a recent relevant example, hostile evangelism for rigid scientific materialism as the only paradigm that anyone who is capable of thought would consider valid is not likely to go well in a community of strong meditation practitioners. Scientific materialism might serve some practitioners very well at points, and that is just fine, and it personally serves me very well at points nearly every day as one possibly useful perspective, as noted above, but trying to ram that exclusive perspective down other people's throats obviously didn't go so well and this is only to be expected. Rationalizing that failure to communicate as this place being all about being "HARDCORE" is also not particularly helpful.

As Sawfoot said, he failed to beat us, so he left us. I personally hadn't asked to be beaten, and neither did the local dharma groups that I unfortunately used to try to beat up with my views on meditation, so it goes both ways, and hopefully we all learn from our experiences.

As to the notion that those in the top tier can say whatever they like without repercussions, nothing could be further from the truth. As anyone paying any attention to what happens here will notice, we all get lots of feedback, both good and bad and in lots of various ways for what we post here, and the notion that somehow those in the top tier are immune from this is simply totally lacking in reality. You should see my email inbox: lots of feedback of all kinds. My occasional ego-surfing of the web yields a vast plethora of obvious and various consequences of my views, book, posts, talks, and such.

Beyond personal feedback that we all get here in abundance, there are other consequences, such as people getting mad, people getting hurt, people getting cut off from helpful support, people feeling isolated and the like, all of which I have a lot of empathy for and so do lots of other people here. We feel it personally when the place goes up in flames even if those flames have nothing to do with us and even more so when they do. This is part of being human, so realize that the more we are invested in this place, the more it hurts when it gets rocky and things don't go well. While the notion of Detachment is a nice one, the notion of Interdependence is closer to what I find to be my experience, and this place, being like a part of my home and definitely an important part of my community, affects me deeply, as it does plenty who feel it is a part of their home and their community.

Happy New Year, and may this place try to find ways to make all who care about good practice welcome,

Daniel

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning)
Answer
12/28/13 6:11 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
A place to share your past life experiences. Here is Daniel to start us off:


Wow, so you just quoted another DhO member and placed their sincere and honest writings in the 'funny' category. What an absolute dick move. That seems like a great way to get people to stop contributing at all.

Also, it would be interesting to know why you insist on adding 'Arahat' every time you quote text from Daniel. Together with the way you started this thread it looks like another attempt at mockery, but perhaps you really have his best interests at heart so feel free to explain yourself.

I find your actions here far more off-putting than anything I read by triplethink.

Simon

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning)
Answer
12/28/13 11:57 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon E:
Wow, so you just quoted another DhO member and placed their sincere and honest writings in the 'funny' category. What an absolute dick move. That seems like a great way to get people to stop contributing at all.

Also, it would be interesting to know why you insist on adding 'Arahat' every time you quote text from Daniel. Together with the way you started this thread it looks like another attempt at mockery, but perhaps you really have his best interests at heart so feel free to explain yourself.

I find your actions here far more off-putting than anything I read by triplethink.

Simon


sawfoot _:
Yes I can be a pain at times, and not every post will embody the spirit of the forum or be as pleasant as I would like it to be.


Daniel M. Ingram:
I agree with Tom Tom and Sawfoot in that threats of violence are not good, and I will address that.


Simon, I think we have an agreement here on the areas that both sides will have to abide by. Sawfoot's criticisms are valid but the way he did it was petty and not conducive to practice for those who hold a more Buddhist traditional view of the powers. Was it worse than T3's behaviour? Obviously not. There are people who use their full names on this site and having people talk about guns and threats is definitely worse. I've seen weird shit on forums before like one time where a guy who had gone to jail before, and his mugshot was produced by some other poster just to mock him online. Personal information should be kept private where possible. Having your name and your picture out there plus personal details of your practice is a vulnerable position. I've challenged T3's opinions on the powers and got either non-sensical responses or no response. There was very little of value and what was of value was usually articles he posted written by other people.

We scientific materialists exist and we use another form of OBSERVATION. It's an observation beyond your body and it has made huge strides in science/standard of living and humanistic aspects that no personal OBSERVATION could do. Demystifying things that are considered Holy is important and respecting the person who has these beliefs should be balanced with it, but we are not going to STOP observing because it might hurt someone's feelings. At some point observation has to continue as long as there are questions. For Buddhism to survive further it will have to tolerate these anal exams and diving into an "underground" will simply delay the inevitable.

If Sawfoot or I want to argue about the tenuous assertions of The Powers then we will do so. I think a more skillful way would have been to address Daniel's article on Magick instead of making it a humourous mocking. Daniel does assert that he's an Arhat in his book and his article on Magick are areas that anyone could predict would have some dissenting opinions against.

We shouldn't stop people from trying to do any of these practices because the first person view can help inform the third person view and that exchange will better both sides.

What if past-lives aren't true in the mystical way but if we find out that DNA has an effect on personality and we are tapping into elements of that with these practices, could there be some benefit to that? Instead of a transmission of tendencies at death it's a transmission via sex generation. I see all kinds of faces and people I've never met before (much like in dreams) in my concentration practices and leaping to the conclusion that it's a past life is not provable beyond an assertion. Many people will not take someone's word for it and will want more evidence.

So I think it's time to end this thread and to continue on with the practice (with whatever lens you want to use, or both) and share these perspectives openly and let people talk past each other or confront each other as they will without threats or unnecessary mockery. In some cases people will have to agree to disagree and move on. Let's get back to practice!

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
12/28/13 1:33 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi: I agree with much of what was written but the section above stood out for me, as did part of the initial post about people not wanting to use their real names. There is something here that is missing from my own experience or not resonating with me.
I guess I view criticism as healthy, acknowledging at the same time there have been periods where it's been difficulty to accept. But I do think criticism, even negative mean-spirited criticism can be a good thing at times, as it reveals aspects of ourselves, personality or presentation we are ignoring. At times it is just malicious, which is also a good opportunity or practice and there's a great deal of freedom in my experience from being able to separate from the super-imposed projections of others. My take away from the above quote is that people were feeling some degree of fear of criticism because of one member. How afraid are we of looking stupid or being wrong, or having someone else think we are either? I may be the lone ranger in that I enjoyed sawfoot and triple think's posts because neither of them seemed to bound to trying to impress the reader, or perhaps I enjoy hostility, I don't know. Either way, it sort of seems to me to be on the shoulders of the poster to work out whatever that fear might be and post anyways, with the knowledge that someone may not like it...or don't.


Bill

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning)
Answer
12/28/13 2:46 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
Sawfoot's criticisms are valid but the way he did it was petty and not conducive to practice for those who hold a more Buddhist traditional view of the powers. Was it worse than T3's behaviour? Obviously not.


Not obvious at all. In my view Sawfoots mocking came off as very serious while what i saw of triplethinks threats seemed in bad taste but not seriously meant.

I may be overly sensitive but if something I had written had been put up in a thread intended for public mocking I would probably not be posting in that particular forum again which is precisely why I felt the need to write something here.

Richard Zen:
If Sawfoot or I want to argue about the tenuous assertions of The Powers then we will do so. I think a more skillful way would have been to address Daniel's article on Magick instead of making it a humourous mocking. Daniel does assert that he's an Arhat in his book and his article on Magick are areas that anyone could predict would have some dissenting opinions against.


Disenting opinions are great, so is scepticism and questioning. Mocking on the other hand is bad.

Richard Zen:
So I think it's time to end this thread and to continue on with the practice (with whatever lens you want to use, or both) and share these perspectives openly and let people talk past each other or confront each other as they will without threats or unnecessary mockery. In some cases people will have to agree to disagree and move on. Let's get back to practice!


Yepp, I've said what I wanted to say.

Simon

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
1/3/14 2:33 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I owe Daniel something of a response. And I am going to use that word "apology". I don't want to reopen any debates or old wounds, just say a few comments and responses.

On an personal level, there is some psycho-social stuff going on, cooties, power plays, in-group/out-groups, identification and social belonging, dark nights, though I won't go into detail here. The messy work of human emotions and human relations. No matter how deep your meditation and how good you think your practice is, this all brings it back down to earth.

In regard to "hardcore", my main point was really regarding the statement that "being hardcore doesn't mean being horrible to each other", and the inevitable tension that can result between an environment of caring and sharing of personal stuff, coupled with directness and "give it to them with both barrels" mind-sets. Plus add in the general nature of the internet of discussions (e.g., comments on Youtube). I appreciate in my response to perceived toxicity I created more toxicity, which wasn't the best way to approach it, and I think it is fair to say, as internet forums go with relatively little moderation, it isn't a bad place to be around.

I know I was presenting a non-nuanced one-sided perspective, and at times overblown and hyperbolic, which leads to allegorical talk of secret manuals and the like. Which in turn leads to some misunderstandings on your part (in your initial response), which reveal I wasn't always understood quite as was my intention, which is primarily a failure on my behalf. I appreciate your efforts. I regret those times where the rhetoric became unbalanced and may distort in other's minds when the dynamics and fuller picture isn't seen, but I trust people's minds are strong enough to cope with it (to echo you from another thread). Another day, another place, I might try again to make some of the points more clearly and less emotively, perhaps when I am in better possession of the goods to back it up and spent longer examining my sensate experience, when that illusive hardcore respect factor has gone up.

I get the impression that you were slightly confused, in that you see yourself as one of the good guys. This is fair enough. In response, as a teacher of the Dharma there is a great deal of responsibility attached. I see the advice about flipping burgers in MCTB, and you read posts by people clearly influenced by what goes on here, such as whether they should become a monk or not, and you get a sense of that responsibility. And with that responsibility, inevitability you will be the target of various kinds of criticism, flack and at times even mockery. But you obviously know and experience that (as you mention), and your sharing of personal details about your life is in part a reflection of this, which makes making fun of personal details a low blow, even aside from the implications for others. And just for the record, I think your response was entirely human (i.e. imperfect!), but entirely fair and appropriate.

Tied with responsibility is authority. This is your forum, and one in which you cast a large shadow. And this makes the question of "what kind of community do we want to part of" misjudged, as the question was really "what kind of community does Daniel want to foster". We can look at the ideals of "Hardcore Dharma", and while is there is a complex interplay of the community and tradition you/Daniel has been part of, in those ideals we have an expression of your ideals and your personality. I don't necessarily see anything wrong with that. Daniel being Daniel makes the DhO and this project what it is, makes it exist in the first place, and makes it a place that we are grateful for. In general, authority and hierarchy is not inherently bad, as long as its clear how it operates and the terms of its existence. And communities come into being through shared values and identification - a shared ethos which creates a sense of belonging, which leads to standard human group dynamics, and it is inevitable there will be those that fit that ethos and those that don't (though DhO casts a wide net). Not all perspectives will be equally valid, and again, there isn't anything necessarily wrong with that, as long as there is benign toleration and a degree of mutual respect, which you highlight.

I have been racking up posts here for a reason, and I share many of the values of "hardcore/pragmatic dharma", and I hope it is obvious the some of the less healthy interactions resulted from emotional investment in the community (and drove me a little nuts!). I do care about this place. I have had many rewarding interactions, and intellectually engaging conversations, and have found great value in it, in particular some engagements with Daniel (though infuriating at times!).

Re: "If you can't beat em', leave em". This wasn't my ultimate intention, as I wasn't trying to beat anyone, and tried not to do much ramming. Really, I was and am trying to just make sense of it all. I do see all this as practice, and it has been very instructive. I appreciated at the time I was being over the top, and I hope I haven't burned all my bridges.

Just a specific point regarding the scientific materialism perspective and the point about "a future where the Dharma is taught in schools". There are couple of points surround that, but I will just mention a salient one here. There is a lot of talk of the past, both in the tradition of which MCTB emerged from, and the more recent history. Given pragmatic dharma ethos, there is understandably much focus on the present, what works and helps now. There is relatively less focus on the future Part of my obsession with the materialism (or some variant of it) is that I do see it as integral, inevitable and unavoidable to the future for the Dharma. And part of my frustration, from my perspective at least, accepting or exploring the implications of that doesn't seem like a priority for the DhO, or interest for most people (and many would be even hostile to the idea), and so that creates a mismatch in ethos (though not unaccommodatably so). And if that has led to toxic, unskilful, poorly communicated, evangelical materialism, then, well, as Daniel says charitably, at least there has been some passion in that!

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
1/3/14 8:29 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Peace

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
1/3/14 9:19 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Hi sawfoot,

I do see all this as practice, and it has been very instructive. I appreciated at the time I was being over the top, and I hope I haven't burned all my bridges.

Yeah. I've done something similar.

To me, there were a lot of good airings out here in this thread.

One thing I routinely forget is that people are generally studying dharma because of some churning of internal strife/dukkha, which can be expressed as depressive posts, argumentative posts, cynical posts, and they approach meditation hearing that it can clear mental strife. To use myself as example, lots of junk can come up before a person can practice.

Did I show up here because I felt and thought happy, contented thoughts? Nope. I showed up here because I was in deep mental strife. Daniel really kindly answered my email (and, yep, in about 12 months he was the brunt of much of my mental struggle mixed in with some non-affective points, similar to this situation: I blended affective aggression with points that many would find valid).
_____

About posting openly: I also keep a lot of details of my current practice offline. I'm grateful Daniel puts his experiences online in his own name. I started to use my own name because people like him motivated me that this is worthwhile, actual. I also like how it keeps me accountable to my daily life and my online practice and the basic cushion trainings. I'm not saying it is good or bad to do this; I'm saying it's something I do because it's useful to me. If it helps people take up their practice better as it helped me, that'd be cool but I don't think about that, nor do I think it's actually helpful to anyone but me.

And I have an active theistic practice due to meditation now. And I'm fine thinking, "could be just fantasy," too. I'm fine with a material approach for myself or from others. I do appreciate when a person is sincerely respectful that they are showing their own calm mind, that they can query without attack, that they have no trouble that cause them to attack/be derisive.

And from my limited experience, nibbana is actual, that full cessation can happen. And as a result I dig the experience of existing a bit more right now, am not too motivated to pursue cessation (am motivated to uproot fetters of the "fetter model", to know the composure resulting from releasing those craving-gratifications).

_______


So I'll add to the pot, to the theme of this thread, knowing the suttic caution that to speak of supramundane things can a) invite derision or b) create useless hunger for supramundane states (versus interest in seeing things as they are here and now for the release of dukkha) because these things cannot be confirmed by others. Two summers ago I had my one and only experience so far where I came out of meditation thinking, "Well, that's why people speak of past lives..." The experience was different than a dream-feeling and I just had an understanding of seeing the blond hairs on the right thigh of a youngish man as if it was his last sight ~ very detailed and clear, attentive; then I had the understanding of his last mind state, something like, "Oh, I do not need to be so severe", that seemed to be the last personal thought; finally, I had the understanding/experience of equanimous awareness seeing the right side of the person, who was seated against a rock, legs out stretched, as if he'd been practicing ascetically and died of actual thirst; there was seeing a blondish beard and then there was nothing. I-ness seemed to return by floating back up through formlessness and into "myself" on a sort of rising subtle-to-gross excitement, "What was that?"

Like, other experiences, I'm totally open to a materialist calling that experience a hallucination. If a person is also being derisive or conceited about my account, then I know that, like those who come to learn meditation often are (myself included), then there is also some mental insufficiency happening that gives rise to a need to malign, mock, opine. Otherwise a person can listen with interest and feel no need to weigh in or they may exchange something amicably. Sometimes we ~ me ~ have just trained/immersed so long in rough, unkindly mental states that it's hard to develop balance, respectful interest.

______

Interesting thread. I am also glad the violent point was addressed. Thanks.

{edited for a few minutes for grammar and clarity}

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share (with a warning)
Answer
1/4/14 1:31 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Been debating whether to share this or not, but life is short.

Firstly, I would describe the experience as a feeling very real, like a memory, but as I did not have this happen in my physical time here, it is not a "memory". Also, not a dream, this popped in my mind while meditating a while back.

I was in a hilly country, there were many boulders, steep hillsides. I was in the company of armed men, an army, I was not part of the group. Higher up the hillside I saw a Bow tumbling down the side of the hill, end over end, it was my companion's. I knew he had been found and killed. I then felt a sensation as if one were to strike many keys at once on a piano, a DUNnnnnnn!

Phenomenon, that is my current explanation, I was kind of shocked and kind of perplexed, still am, Phenomenon.

Many things happen to humanity, most phenomenon go unnoticed, most things are not discussed, here are a few of the things I have experienced myself, or have heard second hand in confidence from those people that I would trust.

telepathy (too accurate for coincidence), premonitions in dreams, hypnosis gone bad two people "possesed by different personalities" it wore off, a gravel rock vibrated for a few seconds, "others" faces overlaying other persons face this was two people same time no drugs this was repeatable with many, thought to stop listening to heavy metal the cassete tape froze up found same tape years later and it worked fine, was reading "Quantum and the Lotus", book disappeared searched house twice with help, repurchased book, later book is found on floor just under bed within sight a couple of months later, ouiji board flew across room, ghost floating in corner girl in white dress, sensation of being pulled from body horizontally, from ceiling looking down at sleeping body, went to lock bolt on door after entering my hands were full of bbq but door wass already bolted, multiple people multiple ufo sightings not aircraft or meteor behavior, ufo abduction(not me) alien telepathy was also shown other planet, after loved ones died rocking chairs rocking, pressure on end of bed no one sitting there, footsteps upstairs no one else home, was operating a mail sorter letter marked deceased stopped sorter thought little of it another letter marked deceased stopped machine same day and also flew out of sorter machine

That is a small list, and out of billions of humans I am sure there are billions more such occurrences,

It is phenomenon, it happens, we, as humans have insufficient senses and brain power to experience all and everything, even with the help of scientific instruments. So we trudge along blinded to reality like caterpillars on the sidewalk hoping not to get stepped on by bigger events.

Believe it or not,

Hi Fi

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
2/2/14 9:49 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


Spaces that are safe for disclosures of deep practice are rare and must be preserved. They are the reason for this place, its founding reason. For those who don't feel safe, let me know, and we can re-open the Dharma Underground, which is still actually here, a part of this website and platform, but just hasn't operated in a while only due to the lack of people posting on it. By failing to advertise it, I think that some have been lost to other venues, continuing the splits that began in the First Great Schism of the DhO.

Other options include removing those barriers to more open disclosure (which was the dream upon which the Dharma Overground, as opposed to the Dharma Underground) was founded, meaning removing whomever and whatever those barriers might be. I presume there are lurkers who appreciate that there is good dharma that shows up here at times that would feel they were missing out if the good stuff went back Underground. If any want to chime in one time to give their support for those who feel the real thing should be seen somewhere beyond the closed doors, don't hesitate to share your good opinion.

Daniel


Ok, I'd like to chime in here:

I love this place. There's nothing else like it.

I think it would be a shame if a lot of the good material was kept walled off. Let's be real here: people are suffering. There is an end to suffering. If people have reports or posts that might help, I'd like them to be available on the open internet, not behind a wall that only arahats (or other experienced practitioners) have access to.

In addition, I'd be very curious and would love to know what's behind that wall, though I may not be eligible for membership for a while. What are the requirements to see the secret stuff?

I've commented based on my subscription to scientific materialism before. I want to be clear that this does not mean that I would make fun of or deny anyone's experiences. Rather, it means I might interpret them differently, or that I'd want to see more evidence before concluding that, for instance, someone had psychic powers that worked in the real world, or before believing that knowledge of past lives or other information that just came to them was accurate.

To me, part of respecting someone's experiences and posts means treating them as data, as accurate reports of experiences they had, and then looking at the whole thing to come to conclusions about how things are, rather than simply taking their reports to be the literal truth.

An example from my own life: my girlfriend believes that she is in contact with, and can channel, some kind of advanced being of light or divine entity. I believe her experiences and respect her thoughts on this, and I know it's important to her. But I personally think it's more likely that she's talking to part of her own mind. I would never ridicule her or dismiss her; rather, I listen to what she says, ask questions, and come to my own conclusions, which I would share with her in a respectful way, bearing in mind that none of us are sure about anything; that all theories are lies in search of the truth; and that though all models are wrong, some are useful.

I think it's a shame if you or others don't feel safe commenting here in "public," or aren't interested in sharing your experiences. I'd like to figure out what we can do to fix that. I'd support removing members who are hostile or make the space unsafe. However, I'd hope that I, or others who want to treat people's reports as data and come to our own interpretation based on our understanding of the world, would be allowed to remain and respectfully ask questions.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
8/12/14 3:08 PM as a reply to J C.
The funny thing - the joke on me -- is that I thought this thread was going to be entertainment about past lives identities one had assumed.  I think it is appropriate in the right spirit and Buddha sometimes spoke of previous existences too.

I did a two-year stint of chronologically tracking my history as a being back to what appeared to be the original separation incident brought about by wanting to have a more persistent "dream".   For educational purposes only, and it was entertaining.   Did it get me any closer to Nirvana?   No I don't think so from the way I approached it, but it did teach me about the games that we all have been playing and how we have wound down to this current life, sunk into grosser sensations.... Pizza anyone?

An almost unstoppable urge for vengeance entered into the games/interactions and games have been a lot less fun since then.   The playing field was once almost always about win/lose (think bumper cars at the carnival), not victim/bully.  "Oh, you crushed me, hahaha, that was a good play!  Well done!"  Games were more voluntary and we could leave a game at will and enter into a void state (sans energy, space, time).  

Please don't take this as gospel, because I haven't seen the whole story of this universe yet.

The biggest hangup for me as a being was the craving for the sensation of aesthetics ("to-create" compulsions), among other lesser sensations.  In the most recent eons up until now I suffered mostly from a consistent and painful involvement with these beings that I gave a name to but am not sure if that is accurate, who always appeared to me in huge black spheres.   I would go into one end of the sphere and pop out the other end slightly mentally twisted and reduced as a being somehow.  This went back for eons until finally I popped out of it when I arrived at the point in my history where I actually created these beings initially for my pleasure.  Think "dragon queen mother". 

I did have some lifetimes where I did seek a good path to nirvana as best I could given all my unbalanced and compulsive needs to play a game.  That would be this lifetime too  -- one of my best, most promising lifetimes regarding nirvana.  I'm sooooo grateful.  Thank god for the internet which is how I got my questions about the mind and the being answered.   Life is a constant learning curve now.

Disclaimer:   this is for entertainment purposes only and I would never swear on a stack of bibles that what I saw was the truth of it.

RE: Past life experiences: A place to share
Answer
8/12/14 6:14 PM as a reply to Colleen Peltomaa.
Hi,

I think most of us were glad to see this thread die.  I would suggest that if people want to talk about past life experiences then they should start a new thread.  This thread has nothing to do with what the title would suggest.