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Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 7/24/14 12:05 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 7/24/14 12:35 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas Thef 7/24/14 2:21 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas Thef 7/24/14 2:38 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 7/24/14 3:27 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas Thef 7/24/14 3:42 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 c m 7/24/14 5:47 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Simon T. 7/24/14 8:19 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 John Wilde 7/24/14 9:06 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 7/28/14 1:28 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Simon T. 7/28/14 2:55 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 7/28/14 4:59 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 7/28/14 7:35 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jinxed P 7/28/14 8:55 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 7/29/14 5:12 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 7/29/14 10:46 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andrew K 7/29/14 5:09 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 x x 7/29/14 6:36 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Martin Potter 7/29/14 10:27 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 (D Z) Dhru Val 8/2/14 1:40 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/6/14 10:16 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 FM Cetin 8/6/14 9:18 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Noting Monkey 7/28/14 9:19 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Simon T. 7/30/14 10:16 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 7/29/14 6:29 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eva Nie 8/6/14 1:20 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Dream Walker 7/29/14 11:14 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 bernd the broter 7/29/14 3:33 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 8/6/14 1:32 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eva Nie 8/6/14 1:53 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/6/14 10:13 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 8/7/14 7:55 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/7/14 3:20 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom Tom 8/8/14 5:13 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/8/14 8:46 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 8/9/14 12:35 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Matthew 8/10/14 6:53 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom Tom 8/10/14 8:51 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Simon T. 8/10/14 9:37 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 8/11/14 1:52 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 8/11/14 1:54 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eva Nie 8/11/14 2:24 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 8/11/14 11:52 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 8/12/14 5:43 PM
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RE: Birthing MCTB2 Matthew 8/15/14 12:43 AM
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RE: Birthing MCTB2 Richard Zen 8/3/14 11:51 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Derek 8/11/14 8:47 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Piers M 9/7/14 4:40 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 10/6/14 10:28 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Monsoon Frog 10/29/14 5:26 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom Tom 7/24/14 1:47 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas Thef 7/24/14 2:13 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 John M. 7/24/14 8:07 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 7/24/14 11:08 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Florian 7/24/14 11:32 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Paul S 1/10/16 12:34 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jean B. 7/24/14 6:28 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 ftw 7/25/14 4:00 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 PP 7/25/14 9:32 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 7/30/14 8:16 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 7/30/14 8:35 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 7/31/14 9:25 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 7/31/14 4:58 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 tom moylan 7/31/14 5:43 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Not Tao 7/31/14 6:04 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas Thef 7/31/14 7:16 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 x x 7/31/14 7:08 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Not Tao 8/1/14 4:58 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 x x 8/1/14 9:35 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 7/31/14 11:02 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 8/4/14 11:22 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom O. 7/31/14 9:46 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 8/2/14 12:44 PM
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RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/2/14 3:47 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/3/14 11:39 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 ftw 8/6/14 2:31 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Scott Kinney 1/11/16 7:33 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 8/2/14 6:16 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/2/14 7:11 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom Tom 8/2/14 7:59 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 8/3/14 9:46 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom Tom 8/2/14 7:41 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom O. 8/5/14 7:30 AM
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RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom Tom 8/7/14 2:41 AM
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RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tom Tom 8/8/14 4:56 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Monsoon Frog 8/13/14 3:23 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 8/24/14 12:38 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 CJMacie 11/12/14 5:21 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas Thef 8/7/14 3:32 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Tee P Kay 10/6/14 10:44 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 CJMacie 10/7/14 9:10 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Florian 10/8/14 5:34 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 10/8/14 7:35 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/8/14 5:37 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J J 10/8/14 6:04 PM
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RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/27/14 1:31 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/27/14 7:17 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 10/27/14 7:40 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/27/14 11:42 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Laurel Carrington 10/28/14 4:55 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/28/14 9:09 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 10/27/14 7:42 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/27/14 11:35 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 CJMacie 10/28/14 5:58 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/28/14 5:00 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 10/28/14 7:53 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Dada Kind 10/28/14 9:35 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 10/28/14 10:29 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/29/14 4:11 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 10/29/14 6:54 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/29/14 10:38 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 bernd the broter 10/30/14 4:55 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Robert McLune 11/7/14 2:10 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 chris mc 11/8/14 2:34 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/29/14 3:37 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 10/29/14 11:48 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Richard Zen 10/29/14 12:08 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 11/8/14 7:46 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Bryan 10/30/14 12:38 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 10/30/14 1:28 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 CJMacie 11/6/14 4:19 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 11/6/14 4:27 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 CJMacie 11/6/14 6:22 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 11/7/14 1:47 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 CJMacie 11/11/14 4:24 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J J 11/8/14 8:00 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 neko 11/26/14 4:03 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 11/28/14 8:23 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 neko 11/29/14 8:34 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas 12/16/14 7:07 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 12/16/14 9:03 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/16/14 1:34 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 12/16/14 2:02 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Andreas 12/16/14 3:08 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 12/16/14 2:20 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/16/14 3:10 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 12/16/14 3:31 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/16/14 4:27 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 12/16/14 4:35 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/16/14 8:17 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/16/14 8:27 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Eric M W 12/16/14 8:34 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 12/16/14 8:36 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Dada Kind 12/16/14 10:58 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 CJMacie 12/17/14 6:43 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/17/14 2:18 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/17/14 12:10 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 J C 12/17/14 3:43 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/17/14 4:11 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Matt 12/17/14 5:02 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Jenny 12/17/14 10:54 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Dada Kind 12/17/14 11:01 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 1/1/15 2:45 AM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Dada Kind 1/26/16 3:25 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Joe Dharma 2/8/16 2:22 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Daniel M. Ingram 2/8/16 3:19 PM
RE: Birthing MCTB2 Paul S 1/10/16 7:56 AM
Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 12:05 AM
Well, I have been working on MCTB2 for a while, and I am actually pretty close to being done, I think. There are a few hard decisions to make, a few organizational things, and the like, but it seems that it is time to have people start reading the most recent draft of the thing, or at least parts of it, so as to give feedback, catch typos, and help me with a few final points.

I have been debating where to put it. Could create a community here where people could see it, could start putting it in the wiki, could put it on my website: www.interactivebuddha.com, could put it on www.mctb.org, which is something I created and never really used.

Thoughts?

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 12:35 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Oh, yes, the cover...

Sometimes I think about doing something really, really simple, as the first cover, well, how to put it, really did annoy some people. I personally really liked it, as I designed it, but then there is no accounting for tastes, is there?

Here's a cover idea: 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 1:47 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
If this is just a "beta version" then post it only on the forum or the less trafficked "mctb.org" or both.  Start a post here where people can make comments about it.  Put it up on all of the above when it's a more finalized version.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 2:13 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hello Daniel,

it's a good idea to put it on one of your websites. Maybe you could open up another forum where things can be discussed chapter by chapter. A subforum just for typos etc.

Looking forward to reading MCTB2!
Andreas

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 2:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
As a former graphic designer I must say that your cover is better than 98 % of what is out there. But I would love to see something more unique. I mean your book and writings are such a gem and wouldn't it be nice to hold it in your hands/open it up on your computer and be welcomed by a unique and beautiful cover? I'd definitely go for simple, clear and light-hearted, as you did with your cover. Maybe something in black and white (you probably know these sumi-e paintings, don't you?). Maybe just something at the periphery. Something that corresponds with the title that says: this book will give you everything you need - nothing more, nothing less. Or some simple photography like these ones.

http://imgur.com/PuKFNQy
http://imgur.com/Vo0ccy0

I also love the pictures of Goh Shigetomi (just google him). Would make a nice background or ornament at the periphery, but is pretty zen-like. Don't know if that fits your style.

Just some ideas...

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 2:38 AM as a reply to Andreas Thef.
I also love the playing around with typography, like can be seen for example on Sam Harris' 'Lying' cover or some of these logo examples. E.g. the 'Core' in your title would work well for that. Maybe replace the O with a photo of a simple seed or something like that.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 3:27 AM as a reply to Andreas Thef.
Actually, in my dream world, it would be bound in leather, with ivory pages, with a really old-school typeface, such as some antiquied Caslon font, done to look like it was hand typeset on an old press, with all that cool irregularity of that printing technology, with the cover embossed with gold type, and a black or dark purple bookmarking ribbon.

The problem is that each book would cost about $75 at least, and the price is already too high.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 3:42 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Actually, in my dream world, it would be bound in leather, with ivory pages, with a really old-school typeface, such as some antiquied Caslon font, done to look like it was hand typeset on an old press, with all that cool irregularity of that printing technology, with the cover embossed with gold type, and a black or dark purple bookmarking ribbon.

The problem is that each book would cost about $75 at least, and the price is already too high.

LOL, yeah, I believe that. But maybe there's someone in the community who would design it for free (sorry have been out of business for too long. But if you need help/have questions about the process, please let me know). Plus high-quality stock photography is also available for free or just a few bucks. And if it's b/w it wouldn't even add to the printing costs.

Whatever the cover looks like, in the end it's the content that counts. And I'm sure it will find its readers. : )

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 8:07 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Would it be totally crazy to post the whole thing chapter-by-chapter as separate posts in a dedicated sub-area here at the DhO forum? A stickied post could serve as an index to facilitate front-to-back reading and easy reference to specific chapters. It seems like feedback would basically self-organize into more manageable chunks as readers respond to each thread / chapter.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 11:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I demand the original cover for MCTB. Not the flaming chakra wheel, the uh... the psychedelic one. Can't find a link...

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 11:32 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel

as much as I dislike the Boorg, er, Google, and avoid recommending their services, you could think about uploading the chapters to google docs. People can then directly add notes, mark typos, and so on, and you are spared the work of re-applying the changes to your master version. I've worked on documents that way.

Second choice would be the wiki, which also allows peopole to edit the document, and provides a history.

Cover: something like the iconic Mahasi Sayadaw photo, the one where he sternly stares down the photographer like Darth Vader or Granny Weatherwax on a bad day, done Banksy street-art style?

Cheers,
Florian.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 5:47 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
> Oh, yes, the cover...


My favorite Dharma book cover is the one created for 'The Progress of Insight'. 

http://www.wisdom-books.com/CoversLarge/1396.jpg

It's simple, but it gives me an other-worldly vibe, like I've meditated myself into another plane of existence, watching the sands of time ebb and flow.  It's totally like "woah man".

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 6:28 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Good news!

You could post it wherever you want and still have comments from all of us. I'm with Florian when he talks about sharing the book on a good online collaborative text editor, where each of us could read, comment and annotate your writings.

Google Docs sure is nice and easy to use, I use it myself professionnally and personally. There are also a lot of other free text editor online, but I can't say what they're worth.

Now I'm eager to read it.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 8:19 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Oh, yes, the cover...

Sometimes I think about doing something really, really simple, as the first cover, well, how to put it, really did annoy some people. I personally really liked it, as I designed it, but then there is no accounting for tastes, is there?

Here's a cover idea: 

The font you used has a weird transylvanian vibe to it. It would be more fit if it was signed "By the vampire Daniel M. Ingram". You can achieve a classical "Dharma" look by using a different font, saphran color and a basic generic graphic design related to Buddhism. 

http://www.asanghaofbooks.com/images/the-pali-dhammapada.jpg

http://ennapadambhagavati.blogspot.ca/2011/09/hinduism-way-to-ethical-and-noble.html

http://www.dharmanation.org/media/Dharma-Manifesto-Front-COVER-194x300.jpg

http://www.dechen.org/files/2012/12/roc_cover_001.jpg


But I like how MCTB 1 cover was standing out, despite its new-age-ish vibe from the eighties. 


For the pre-publication, a plateform that allows for feedback without too much hassles would be the best. Only being able to add a comment at the each page would be enough. I also appreciate that MCTB 1 is available as a wiki for most part as I rely on Google sometimes to search in it and bookmarks parts that I refer too frequently.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/24/14 9:06 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Simon T.:
The font you used has a weird transylvanian vibe to it. It would be more fit if it was signed "By the vampire Daniel M. Ingram".

Hee hee... honouring the lineage of The Vampire Mahasi Sayadaw: 
http://www.yogideb.com/images/MahasiSayadaw.jpg

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/25/14 4:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
This is a great thing you're doing Daniel.
I'm sure we can add our comments in whatever way you decide to publish online.

I would certainly go with more geeky/scientific approach.
Just to draw folks with those backgrounds. You know, people with
background in natural studies.

Frontpage?
I nice graph with curve and marked vipassana stages in the background.
Fuzzy image of Something like this:



Foreground, just the title with _nice_ fonts. 
I'd change the title too but I guess it's to late for that. Hehe.

Good luck!

PS:Any chance this will get published in electronic "kindle" format?

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/25/14 9:32 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Given that there are 16 stages in the Vipassana Map, why not trying to depict each stage with a face in a 4x4 table? It would stand out in the bookshelves, be easily remembered and referred, get rid of the pomposity/dryness of the classic dharma books and at the same time differenciate from new-age vibe, also be a cover likeable for baby-boomers and Generation X and Y as well.   

If this it's too much, you may still consider inserting an ilustration alike for the Dukka Ñanas: "A Hard Dark Night". emoticon 


RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/28/14 1:28 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Oh, yes, the cover...

Sometimes I think about doing something really, really simple, as the first cover, well, how to put it, really did annoy some people. I personally really liked it, as I designed it, but then there is no accounting for tastes, is there?

Here's a cover idea: 
I see you're still going with the "Arahat" claim. Are you open to further discussion about that, or is the horse well and truly dead? :-)

tpk

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/28/14 2:55 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
Tee P Kay:
Daniel M. Ingram:
Oh, yes, the cover...

Sometimes I think about doing something really, really simple, as the first cover, well, how to put it, really did annoy some people. I personally really liked it, as I designed it, but then there is no accounting for tastes, is there?

Here's a cover idea: 
I see you're still going with the "Arahat" claim. Are you open to further discussion about that, or is the horse well and truly dead? :-)

tpk


And Daniel dropped the "interdependant universe" title. I suggest "By the lump of organic matter generally identified as Daniel Ingram". 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/28/14 4:59 PM as a reply to Simon T..
The reason I ask is that I find MCTB to be the book I most often refer people to who are interested in "serious" Buddhist practice. I consider it, in that respect, to be one of the most important such books out there. But I think the arahat claim is *possibly* a hinderance to the uptake of the book. In my own experience, I often have to qualify my recommendation by saying "Don't let the 'arahat' claim put you off", and it would just make my life easier if it weren't there!

That said, I've seen discussions involving Daniel where he explains why its inclusion might be a good thing. So I don't want to, as I said, flog a dead horse. But if there's still time/reason to discuss it, I'd be interested. It is, as I say, a very important book and it would be a shame if people who could be helped by it never even opened it based solely on that claim. 

tpk

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/28/14 7:35 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
The arahat thing is a point that has been made many times, both for and against.

Being a pragmatist, I hope to achieve certain ends, and must balance causes and effects.

Regarding putting "The Arahat" on the cover...

Pros: 

Some find it intriguing
Some find it impressive
Some find it compelling
Some find it inspiring
Some find it reassuring
Some find it the straightforward statement it is
Some find it humerous
A very few will appreciate the reference (Vimuttimagga, my second favorite dharma book), which is by The Arahat Upatissa

Cons:
Some find it grandiose
Some find it preposterous
Some find it offputting
Some find it offensive
Some have no idea what the word means and so find it confusing
Some find it just bizzare
Some find it heresy
Some will not read the book because of that word on the cover

The question is: which side weighs out more strongly, which must be considered in the light of what is in the rest of the book (such as the exact same claim) and who I think will actually apply the information presented there to good effect, which is what I care about most.

I am open to opinions and suggestions on this.

Daniel

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/28/14 8:55 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
(Vimuttimagga, my second favorite dharma book), which is by The Arahat Upatissa
What is your first favorite dharma book?

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/28/14 9:19 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
I picked up the book becasue of seeing 'Arahat'. There are hundreds of dharma books and this made it easier to sort out.

       Tee P Kay:
But I think the arahat claim is *possibly* a hinderance to the uptake of the book. 

I also met people were upset by this but they red it anyway. When you start to read you will see quiet quickly if it resonate with you or not. If not you will put it down doesn't matter what is on the cover.

Some people will say "Oh I will never read this, bla, bla..." and they go home "lock the door" and keep going reading "under the pillow". After they keep going saying "Of course I am not reading this. This man claims that he is an Arhat. He is a liar etc" and they still keep going to read it and get the benefits as they start to reconsider their practice (even if they consciusly not aware of it!). And after they still will keep going "No, no I'have never red that book and nobody should.. bla, bla, bla..."

  Tee P Kay:
In my own experience, I often have to qualify my recommendation by saying "Don't let the 'arahat' claim put you off",
You don't need to qualify. I you want to recommend better to say: "This book is not easy to handle for everybody as it is focused on the hardcore practice. If you decide to reading it please start with the "warnings". So you can use it for your own risk!" 
Danger&risk grab people attention more emoticon 

NM

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 5:12 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Practical Insight Meditation, by Mahasi Sayadaw, of course. Are there other dharma books? emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 6:29 AM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
Tee P Kay:
The reason I ask is that I find MCTB to be the book I most often refer people to who are interested in "serious" Buddhist practice. I consider it, in that respect, to be one of the most important such books out there. But I think the arahat claim is *possibly* a hinderance to the uptake of the book. In my own experience, I often have to qualify my recommendation by saying "Don't let the 'arahat' claim put you off", and it would just make my life easier if it weren't there!

That said, I've seen discussions involving Daniel where he explains why its inclusion might be a good thing. So I don't want to, as I said, flog a dead horse. But if there's still time/reason to discuss it, I'd be interested. It is, as I say, a very important book and it would be a shame if people who could be helped by it never even opened it based solely on that claim. 

tpk
If some people don't pick up a book because "arahat" is on the cover, then they probably should stay away from hardcore meditation practice.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 10:46 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
> I am open to opinions and suggestions on this.

OK, cool. And again, bear in mind that I offer these opinions purely because I think the book is so valuable that it's worth maximizing its effect. Also, I'll note that I myself have seen some of the other discussions on this, and personally have waivered back and forth as I heard them. (Also, I've now read the book three times.) I don't care from a personal point of view whether the claim is there or not, but I think it matters despite that. And so now, I'm no longer waivering; I think the claim is a distinctly bad idea.

That said, an introductory point to make is that I imagine there could be several possible aims associated with the book, so I have to make some assumptions there. I've considered two possibles and my non-waivering "Don't do it Daniel!" is based on the first.

Getting People To Read It
The first aim could be to ensure that the message inherent in the book gets to as many people in as useful a way as possible. Or, more plainly, you want people to read the thing! From that point of view I am in no doubt that you should take the opportunity presented by MCTB2 to not make the claim on the cover (and also you should stay away from the original cover art). Like it or not, the cover itself is language, language exists within a cultural context, and the cultural context within which the bulk of potential readers -- people whose lives could be significantly enhanced by your writing -- is one that gives the "arahat" claim something of the same effect as having "The fucking awesome destroyer of cunt-brained dick-segment dogmatic shits" on there. It's *taboo*, and it's taboo regardless of whether it should be taboo or not.

A second, albeit lesser "don't do it point" is that the claim is pointless. You cannot self-validate in this area, any more than you could as an MD. Your MD is a valid claim because a. we have a well established and *widely accepted* system for validation of medics, and b. you are validated by that. So you claiming to be arahat conveys very little about whether you're an arahat; in fact, all it really conveys is that you have the fucking, penis-balancing, hairy semen-filled taboo-screwing balls to make such a claim. In fact I personally *do* care if you are an arahat, or at least highly attained. It matter because the extent to which I believe that is the extent to which I can believe you not only talk the talk but also walk the walk. But I decide on the extent to which I believe you are an arahat based on the *content* of the book, your various interviews, your contribution to this form, etc, and not *at all* on the cover claim.

Finally -- on the aim of "getting people to read it" -- I think Willoughby Britton's response, as recorded on her Buddhist Geeks podcast, should be taken seriously. I think we can all agree Willoughby "gets it". Despite that, she initially dismissed MCTB, specifically because of the cover art and the arahat claim. Bearing in mind that she's a pretty tough-minded, evidence-driven scientist, and is as a result not so likely to care about old dogmas and the idea of heresy, the fact that she initially dismissed it is a very strong warning that the claim is unwise. There are loads of utter shite spiritual books out there, and while yours isn't one of them, Willoughby's reaction was utterly reasonable given the amount of dross in existence and suggests that your cover inadvertently makes your book *appear* to be among the nonsense.

Being a Gadfly
All that as it may be, I've considered one other possible aim you may have, and that is precisely to challenge the current language culture that makes the arahat claim taboo. In other words, maybe you want to be to the broader audience in their view of Buddhism what Will and Grace were concerning being gay. Maybe you specifically want to be a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadfly_(social)]gadfly. If you do, then I can't comment too much. You clearly know way more about this stuff than I do, so maybe your approach is valid. The one thing I will say is that I think the gadly and "getting people to read it" aims would be at odds with each other. So you can maximize your readership, or maximize your "bad boy" image, but not both. And for me, the most important thing is what is *in* the book, so I think the gadfly aim should be discarded.

Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur
One final point. There could be a concern that not including the claim this time around could be seen as you tacitly rescinding the prior claim. I think that's a minor concern, because I don't think you need to change anything *in* the book (well, not in this context anyway). I'd even go as far to say that if someone was to ask you "So, are you an arahat then?", the case for you demurring on that is *much* weaker than is the case for not *offering* it as a book cover claim. (That said, I still don't think self-claiming to be an arahat carries much weight at all.)

tpk

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 10:27 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

Some will not read the book because of that word on the cover


That's amazing isn't it? Why are people even practising a tradition where they think success is proposterous.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 11:14 AM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
Tee P Kay:
It is, as I say, a very important book and it would be a shame if people who could be helped by it never even opened it based solely on that claim.

When I found MCTB you could not stop me from reading it without physically restraining me. That said, I have recommended it to many many people and so far noone has finished it. One person who almost finished it and I was getting very excited to talk about it....died. Even a librarian friend who will read anything could not finish it. I have come to the conclusion that there are very few actually ready to read it and the universe seems to take care of itself without my beating my head against the wall trying to make it happen. I still recommend it often (last sunday at a meditation group) and will probably read from it there but I have few expectations anyone will be interested. The Arahat in the title seems to have very little to do with it. I even warn people now that they are most likely not ready for it and will find it impossible to get through unless the universe wants them to.
What has been your experience so far? How many peeps have finished it based on your recommendation? Have any gotten excited and done anything because of it?
~D

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 3:33 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
What has been your experience so far? How many peeps have finished it based on your recommendation? Have any gotten excited and done anything because of it?
~D

"Enlightenment? What's that? Why would anyone care about that? ROFL."
"Yeah, I started reading it, but now I've stopped because it's just got so much pages, I don't really understand what the opening part is about, and then there's this skeptical review on amazon."
"Hm. I heard that this book exists, but then there's a million other books of other people with fancy youtube channels, so why not read those instead?"

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 5:09 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
The way I felt about it was, MCTB and Daniel were all about the "Gadfly" route. Along with KF and any other teachers or writers who are open about enlightenment, it seemed to me to be about contributing to the emerging cultural atmosphere in which it is acceptable to talk about enlightenment openly and about one's efforts to attain it. Openly claiming to be an Arahat plays a very important part of that.

IMO there are simply too many circumstances, conditions, and personal psychological perspectives to take into account in order to determine how people will react to this claim. The way in which you either try to qualify it to someone, or embezel it to someone, depends a huge amount on the person who you are giving it to and also on who you yourself are, and also on what shadows you yourself have and are projecting onto the recipient, and your own unique perception on who the recipient of the book is, etc.

So when presenting the book to someone, imo the best way would be to simply not qualify or disqualify anything about it, just say your honest opinion, rather than try to cajole / tweak / say something that you think will appeal to the other person. Even if they're not open to the ideas, well, nobody was at first, but thats the direction we are all ultimately headed, and so maybe this exchange would be a single drop that will still have an influence on them later on. But hiding it won't add any drops in that direction.

So, parallel to that, is that the book should represent itself honestly too I think. Like, good branding is branding that represents itself accurately. If you sell cheap crappy beer, well, package it as such, so people who want cheap crappy beer will know what they're getting and can enjoy it. But it sucks when cheap crappy beer tries to appear as if it were something else. Sort of like music bands. If the band really is just a bunch of guys who made some music but aren't really into putting on a show, then it makes sense to see them just dressed in their everyday clothes. But if they're into the more theatrical side of shows, and their music is all about certain themes, then its great when they dress and perform the part. Same with this book I think.

The charm of MCTB to me was that it really represented itself accurately and wasn't trying to be sneaky or to subtly imply anything. It is what it claims to be. The title is Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha and it is written by an Arahat and the subtitle is funny. The whole book follows this formula of being about how to master the the core teachings of the buddha, with many descriptions of the personal experiences of said Arahat, and it has some funny bits. The idea that Daniel considers himself to be enlightened didn't sneak up on you halfway through, giving you a "wait what?" moment where you might feel you've been mislead or something like that. You knew what you were getting and in reading the book you got to openly evaluate for yourself what you thought about the whole idea of mastering the core teachings of the Buddha, just as the title said. Maybe you'd never even thought of the concept of mastering the core teachings of the Buddha before seeing the title. Maybe you'd only ever considered Feeling Good About Some of the Teachings of Sharon Salzberg or Emulating the Mannerisms and Beliefs of Eckhart Tolle.

Having said all that, MCTB2 is a new book, so maybe its a good chance to try a new approach. For MCTB2 to continue to represent itself accurately, it would mean that the contents of the book are a sequel to the contents of the first book, and if its by the same author then keep the Arahat! MCTB2 sounds like something you're supposed to read after reading MCTB1. If the book has a different theme then maybe it could have a different title and maybe it would be a good chance to explore changing the Arahat bit, for example if you were writing a trojan-horse type book that was designed to expand your audience. But it seems to me that given that MCTB2 is a sequel to MCTB then it will likely have the same audience and so it would just be weird to drop the Arahat bit, as if you were backing away from the claim or something. 


Personally i loved the title and the cover and the arahat bit. It all fit together really well. Imo forget beautiful or stylish covers cos that's not what the book is about.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/29/14 6:36 PM as a reply to Andrew K.
For what it is worth, I agree with Andrew K.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/30/14 8:16 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I am a professional developmental editor of books, and a damned good one, with a long history as a copyeditor. I've also written a book-length work myself and been published. I've a PhD in English, etc., etc. If you want to, you can send me the ms--maybe via dropbox? I'd be happy to work through it, with tracked changes and comments, although by day I'm editing books at my job, and at night I'm doing my EQ stint until SE. emoticon It may take a while to finish.

Let me know.

Jenny

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/30/14 8:29 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel,

Umm, two thoughts:

1. That cover looks like a wedding invitation, with all that hypercentered text, not the entrance to a book.
2. Apparently, one of the benefits of enlightenment ain't graphic design abilityemoticon

And maybe a couple of suggestions are in order:

1. Accept the services of a graphic designer with experience in book publishing.
2. If No. 1 can't be had, at least acquaint yourself with the Non-Designer's Design Book, which is a lot of fun and helpful: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Non-Designers-Design-Book-Edition/dp/0321534042

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/30/14 8:35 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Yeah . . . everyone's an editor and cover artist, huh? LOL!

Um . . . I would certainly invite commentary from the forum on the content, but I would definitely leave the editing and the cover to professionals. Too many cooks in the kitchen and all. . . .

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/30/14 10:16 PM as a reply to Noting Monkey.
Noting Monkey:
I picked up the book becasue of seeing 'Arahat'. There are hundreds of dharma books and this made it easier to sort out.



That's pretty much my case too. I gathered all the online books I could find and I would read a few pages. I wanted to know two things: Have you done it? How to do it. 

I could hardly find any books that would cover both. Those two elements are useless separated of each other. Eventually, I searched for "Arahant" on the internet and found Daniel's book. 

We need to consider that teachings coming from a layperson is a relatively new phenomena in the history of Buddhism. Buddhists traditions have informal ways to deal with achievements. In Thai Buddhism, monks arahants generally become famous, unless they choose a reclusive life. Their achievement isn't really questionned by the population and between monks they talk of those things more openly. 

As we will get more and more laypeople with high level of achievement from working with the Buddhist tradition, the issue of transparency will get more apparent. It's get even more problematic when people starts to make money from their teachings. Not that it is wrong, but we know how this can be misused. We don't want the word "Arahant" to be trivialised, the same way we have "Yoga Yogurt". There is also a huge cultural baggage attached to this word to do point that I wonder if it might not be wiser to leave that word to monks alone to use. Even monks seldomly use it when refering to themselves. 

An alternative title could be:
Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha
      or how I got this damn thing done

Then begin the book with a short paragraph about what as been done. Instead of using a pre-defined label (Arahant) that comes with all sort of pre-conception in people's mind, you present right away what you are talking about. You did it many times on this forum when asked about it. It would make the book much more stand-alone. It no longer rely on an external definition of Enlightenment but would put right at the begining your own subjective experience. So the book could begin with your own model of Enlightenment, that is, your own subjective experience. Not something vague like "You are everything" but your habitual detailled description. The various models of Enlightenement could follow right away (but maybe better keep them where there are). By the way, those multiple models are nice additions but without your own opinion of them they are a bit out of place. Adding a section to each model about how you relate to X or Y model might be a nice touch.

A relative of mine assisted to some weekend course titled "Consciousness Awakening" that borrowed a bunch of spiritual buzzworld. The word Enlightenment is already used well outside it's spiritual meaning. If 20 years down the road I see a Yoga class titled "Find your inner Arahant", I WILL KNOW WHO TO BLAME!!! emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 4:58 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. I like the point about the front cover advertising what it is and sticking to that. It is a convincing one for me.

I think that we need to create another book, the book that has just the techinical stuff and none of the rant, sort of like an MCTB2 for Dummies, or a Just The Facts in MCTB2, or whatever, that would simply be an adult textbook divoid of the cultural rants, the terminological trappings, and the divisive aspects. It would be borning as fuck, but then it might reach much more broadly than the current one does.

Anyone up for helping me with that project? Anyone really good at writing adult educational books? It could be in that big-paged style with lots of bullet points, little tables, notes and icons in the side columns, and little reviews at the end of the chapter with quizzes, etc.

I actually think that, as horrible as I would find it, this sort of thing would be the natural maturation (leading to final death) of the thing, and embracing that cycle is a natural part of life. Rebels grow up, become establishment and eventually are overthrown and supplanted by new rebels. I don't really see myself as a much of a rebel anymore, so embracing the next mature phase may be the natural flow of things. Part of this idea appears in the email below also.

Here is my response to Jenny in an email I already sent her, but it might be relevant to others who would help me edit it, so it is included here:

"Dear Jenny,

Your offer is an extremely kind one. Thanks for extending it. Here are my thoughts:

There are a few parts that need further work on my own, but many parts are close enough to done to send to an editor or group of editors.

The bit question is: what sort of editing did you have in mind? I have worked with various people on the first one and the experience taught me at least something about working with editors.

There were those who just picked out typos and the like: that was obviously extremely helpful and straightforward.

There were those who did that and also suggested some things about style and phrasing here and there, as well as pointing out a few points about structure in a relatively low-key way.

Then there were those who wanted to basically do a massive rewrite with a line-by-line critique of basically everything and change basically everything. While I could understand their vision and appreciated their wish to help with that level of engagement, it basically was them trying to make my book into their book, and, while I did end up using some of their suggestions, most I had to let go, often to their irritation, as that level of editing makes things more personal in some way, it seemed.

When you read MCTB1, what sorts of changes did you have in mind? That should give me a good sense of your editing style and how we might work together to create something that is as good as it can be and also honors my linguistic and editorial quirks and oddities, some of which I am somewhat attached to.

Said another way, I am very happy to have you look at it, realizing that I obviously may not incorporate every change and thought you offer to style and structure, as there is typically some weird logic behind all of that. That said, there are sections that I keep looking at and thinking, "There is probably a better way, but I am not sure what it is," and, if you can show me some of the better way I imagine can be achieved but can't figure out, that would be great.

As to formatting: I am currently working on it in Scrivener on Dropbox. Scrivener has a feature for tracking changes as described here: http://avajae.blogspot.com/2013/11/scriveners-version-of-track-changes.html

I have also been thinking a lot recently about the final document and what to work with it in. Scrivener is great for the editing and moving things around and keeping all sorts of ideas and half-finished bits and odds and ends all in one place, as well as working on individual chunks as individual chunks, but it is not designed for final editing of one big, finished document, and expects that, after you have done what Scrivener is good for, you will take into something else for final formatting, indexing, etc.

I have Nisus Writer Pro and Pages for that. Nisus Writer Pro is pretty good, but I haven't used it much. I am not a Pages fan. MCTB1 was written almost entirely in MS Word and then revised in Libre Office.

I currently don't have a copy of MS Word, but getting one is very easy, obviously, just a few clicks. I abandoned MS Word about a decade ago when it had some stability issues on a Mac but I think those issues have been worked out. Libre Office had some stability issues also. With both MS Word and Libre Office the document got corrupted a few times and I had to go back a version and start again: that sort of thing gets old really fast when it is a document this big and the changes this many. So far Scrivener has been solid as a rock, something I truly love, but it will have to move out from that safe environment at some point, and perhaps that point is now.

MS Word on Mac gets good reviews these days. I suppose I could start taking sections out of Scrivener and putting them in MS Word documents and then finally combine those into the great hog of a manuscript it will finally be.

I am coming into a month of hard labor: August has me working about 60+ hours per week, but there is time here and there. September has a moderate load, and I go on vacation in late September, early October, and then Buddhist geeks is in October. After that, more time opens up. I realize that you will be fitting this in when you can also, and I really appreciate that. I have no deadline for completion: whenever it is done, it is done. No pressure from my publisher or anything. I don't want to send it to them before I am fully happy with it.

I also have this odd notion that at some point I should write something like the "MCTB2 for Dummies" or "Just the Facts in MCTB2", meaning something that really makes this like a straightforward adult educational textbook and not at all the rant that it sometimes is. This would obviously not be nearly as much fun, but would almost certainly reach a much broader audience and thus hopefully do more good. That will be a later project, but if you have ideas in that regard, I am all ears.

Those are my thoughts this early morning. Let me know yours.

Thanks again for your offer to help, as I will need help to make this all it can be,
Daniel"

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 5:43 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Just The Facts in MCTB2
..the "Dragnet" version

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 6:04 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I was going to mention the arhat title, too, but I didn't want to be a douchecanoe.  Since someone else brought it up, though...haha.

Personally, Daniel, I've always been a bit discouraged by you using the title.  You laid out for me in another thread that you still experienced various kinds of stress and suffering on a daily basis.  You don't make any secret of this in your book, as well, and you have said you still have "things to do".  The word arhat means someone who has reached the end of the path, so by claiming to be one, you're saying that no one in the world could possible surpass your level of unbinding/wellbeing/understanding/etc.  If that's really true, then I don't feel like there's much reason to bother with the whole thing, considering all of the possible horrible experiences you outline in the book.  I understand you're part of a lineage and stuff, but there are a few people on your own forum (some whom you've met in person) who seem to have found a higher level of stress reduction/wellbeing.  I feel like you might create cynicism about what's actually possible and encourage people to stop before they're actually done.

Just my 2 cents.  I'm sure I said this somewhere before, but since it's relevant to the discussion I though I'd mention it here.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 7:16 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Hello NT,
Not Tao:
I The word arhat means someone who has reached the end of the path, so by claiming to be one, you're saying that no one in the world could possible surpass your level of unbinding/wellbeing/understanding/etc.  If that's really true, then I don't feel like there's much reason to bother with the whole thing, considering all of the possible horrible experiences you outline in the book...
I understand you're part of a lineage and stuff, but there are a few people on your own forum (some whom you've met in person) who seem to have found a higher level of stress reduction/wellbeing.


I'm not enlightenend, probably have not even reached SE, but is that really what being an arahat is all about? What I think is groundbreaking with Daniel's work is that it takes the notion of enlightenment as something that produces superhumans without any flaws and worldly concerns and brings it to a very humane (almost mundane) level. As Daniel eloquently said in his recent Buddha at the Gas Pump interview: there's an end to the spiritual path but there's no end to the depth of perception and understanding of life, the improvement of your moral conduct etc. pp. (please correct me, Daniel, if I misquote or misunderstood you here).

And that's one main reason why I picked up the book. Of course Daniel's claim to have reached arahatship made me suspicious because until then enlightenment for me was something that only some hermits far away in space and time had reached. And everyone else who claimed to have reached it was a fake. So overcoming this suspicion and by that revising my own notion of enlightnment was one of the greatest achievements of his book ("This can be done?! Even by me?! emoticon").

Arahat on the front page? Why not. Getting a little dumbfounded may be exactly what we as a spiritual community need at this moment in time.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 7:08 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
I wouldn't worry about a Just the Facts book... that's basically Practical Insight Meditation or other books. It's covered.

I wouldn't worry about an attractive cover. Your cover looks like a document written by someone who is confident in the written material and doesn't need a flashy cover. If anything, you could include more graphics in the text (e.g. from your nana videos), if you wanted to spend time on graphics.

The more I think about it, the more the arhat thing is more and more important. There is no limit to the extent people idolize and idealize some future state where all their problems will be solved and where all there suffering is gone. Either that or they find someone who claims that and idolize and idealize them, living vicariously. It's really a carry over from childhood, that basic "wanting I want" and the basic "my dad can beat up your dad". We've got to get beyond that and be prepared to deal with the reality of it. It's clear to me that there are all sorts of ranges of people who have substantially ditched the split, but thave more stuff to work on, although this "working on" plays out in a much more subtle way, a lack of doer and yet someone who continues to "practice". It would be interesting to hear more about that. It would help further describe the reality of the arhat.

Hope this is useful, ignore what isn't. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 9:25 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
... I would definitely leave the editing and the cover to professionals.  . . .
Yes! I am *not* a book pro, but I'm glad we have one in our midst. Through amateur interest and reading (Bringhurst, Tschichold, not to mention Kidd etc), I've come to respect the level of expertise and artistry involved. The difference between good content in poorly done design (and, just as important, editing), versus good content in well done design and editing, in terms of that key thing of reaching the audience, is vast.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 11:02 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Daniel,

My original point was purely on the cover, and specifically the "arahat" claim. However I did have a broader point available were it needed and it's exactly the one Jen made. Since she *has* made it, I'll now chime in.

I don't think the rant-portion vs non-rant-portion is a necessary dichotomy. Overall, I think your writing style is good, the balance of wit and rant on the one hand with more precise technical facts on the other is good, and the content is superb. So keep ranting. I also don't think an entirely other "just the facts" book would be necessary. From my "users" point of view, that kind of "quick guide" would be useful in an appendix or two, but if there were two books I doubt I'd recommend anyone to the "for dummies" version if the full blown, rants-an'-all version was also available.

That said, remember I'm not a book pro. But then again, neither are you. Maybe you're right and two books would be worthwhile. Maybe not. That's the kind of decision a professional in this area would help with. And I do think there are almost certainly things that a book pro would want to see changed, and the tension that creates -- between them and you, the original author -- is valuable. The reason I think that such change requests would be inevitable is mainly because I doubt few if *any* of the best books reach their audience as a piece of work done solely by the author. The best books are almost always a team effort and if anything it's the editors, designers, illustrators and so on who have the right to feel miffed, because the author gets the lion's share of the credit.

On your editing comments to Jenny, ultimately this is your baby and you make the call, but the more you are willing to let a *good editor* push you to change not just typos, nor just style and phrasing, but also larger scale structure, the better. You are an expert meditator but you are not an expert creator-of-that-unique-piece-of-content-delivery-machinery-known-as-a-book. But the "good editor" part is key. There are lots of well-meaning not-so-good people about. I think the best editors would work with you, rather than leaving you feeling they're taking ownership (although part of that feeling is probably just you as the author feeling a natural care and affection for your work), but they will -- and *should* -- challenge you. Overall, I completely agree with Jen; we here on DhO are, for the most part, simply not qualified to help with the final-product aspect -- i.e. turning it into the book, either in terms of design or content. (Some *are* of course, well able to help you with the technical and pedagogical aspects of the content.) Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many wannabe cooks just spill it on the floor.

Given all of that, is there any way to get a professional publisher involved? They *will* fight tooth and nail with you, but that's their job, and their aim would be, as is yours, to have MCTB2 have the biggest effect. You know meditation, but they know books; the team makes the whole thing work. There may well be lines you'd draw and be unwilling to cross -- e.g. maybe you want to retain the "arahat" claim -- so draw them. But -- and from hearing/reading your stuff I know you know this already -- keep an open mind to their views. Or, if not a publisher, how about a KickStarter project that would at least allow you to pay some independent experts to do the heavy lifting? (I think the payment thing here is important, because it helps filter out well-meaning amateurs, or at least it gets you access to pros who may otherwise remain invisible).

By the way, I don't think you have to give up on your idea of a leather-bound, ivory vellum paged tome, complete with your original cover artwork as embossed, stained leather. Just make that the special "Collectors" or  "10 Year Anniversary" edition :-)

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
7/31/14 9:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I would like to echo that a stripped-down version is probably not necessary if MCTB2 is anything like MCTB. An appendix could cover that more than adequately.

Looking forward to reading it!

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/1/14 4:58 AM as a reply to x x.
x x:
The more I think about it, the more the arhat thing is more and more important. There is no limit to the extent people idolize and idealize some future state where all their problems will be solved and where all there suffering is gone. Either that or they find someone who claims that and idolize and idealize them, living vicariously. It's really a carry over from childhood, that basic "wanting I want" and the basic "my dad can beat up your dad". We've got to get beyond that and be prepared to deal with the reality of it. It's clear to me that there are all sorts of ranges of people who have substantially ditched the split, but thave more stuff to work on, although this "working on" plays out in a much more subtle way, a lack of doer and yet someone who continues to "practice". It would be interesting to hear more about that. It would help further describe the reality of the arhat. 


However, the goal of buddhism is not to "ditch the split" as you said, but to find freedom from stress. The word arahant means a person who is free from stress. The name of the book is "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" not "Realizing Non-Duality" or "The Basics of Advaita", and Daniel is calling himself a master. This is like saying, "I'm a muslim, but I don't believe in god or heaven." The whole concept becomes meaningless. People come to buddhism to find nirvana specifically, and the word arahant means "a person in nirvana." You might say that this is the great optimistic hope of buddhism. If you want to be realistic about what the practices have done for you, and you aren't dwelling in nirvana, then don't call yourself an arahant - you'll just make people frustrated and disappointed when they read your book. That's what happened to me. If it's mythic, keep it mythic. Don't call yourself the second coming of Jesus unless you really think you are. You can try to redefine the second coming of Jesus as "a person who is pretty nice most of the time" but no one else is using that the terminology that way, so fox news would do 10 news cycles misrepresenting you even if you had great things to say beyond the cover of your book. That's all I'm saying.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/1/14 9:35 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
I stumbled on this recently... seems like relevant, or at least a little humorous emoticon Your "let a myth stay a myth" statement reminded me of it.



Blues for Buddha -

by the mythical Jed McKenna


Being critical of Buddhism isn't easy.

Buddhism is the most likable of the major religions, and Buddhists are the perennial good guys of modern spirituality. Beautiful traditions, lovely architecture, inspiring statuary, ancient history, the Dalai Lama - what's not to like?

Everything about Buddhsim is just so... nice. No fatwahs or jihads, no inquisitions or crusades, no terrorists or pederasts, just nice people being nice. In fact, Buddhism means niceness. Nice-ism.

At least, it should.

Buddha means Awakened One, so Buddhism can be taken to mean Awake-ism. Awakism. It would therefore be natural to think that if you were looking to wake up, then Buddhism, i.e., Awakism, would be the place to look.

::: The Light is Better Over Here

Such thinking, however, would reveal a dangerous lack of respect for the opposition. Maya, goddess of delusion, has been doing her job with supreme mastery since the first spark of self-awareness flickered in some chimp's noggin, and the idea that the neophyte truth-seeker can just sign up with the Buddhists, read some books, embrace some new concepts and slam her to the mat might be a bit on the naive side.

On the other hand, why not? How'd this get so turned around? It's just truth. Shouldn't truth be, like, the simplest thing? Shouldn't someone who wants to find something as ubiquitous as truth be able to do so? And here's this venerable organization supposedly dedicated to just that very thing, even named for it, so what's the problem?

::: Why doesn't Buddhism produce Buddhas?

The problem arises from the fact that Buddhists, like everyone else, insist on reconciling the irreconcilable. They don't just want to awaken to the true, they also want to make sense of the untrue. They want to have their cake and eat it too, so they end up with nonsensical theories, divergent schools, sagacious doubletalk, and zero Buddhas.

Typical of Buddhist insistence on reconciling the irreconcilable is the concept of Two Truths, a poignant two-word joke they don't seem to get, and yet this sort of perversely irrational thinking is at the very heart of the failed search for truth. We don't want truth, we want a particular truth; one that doesn't threaten ego, one that doesn't exist. We insist on a truth that makes sense given what we know, not knowing that we don't know anything.

Nothing about Buddhism is more revealing than the Four Noble Truths which, not being true, are of pretty dubious nobility. They form the basis of Buddhism, so it's clear from the outset that the Buddhists have whipped up a proprietary version of truth shaped more by market forces than any particular concern for the less consumer-friendly, albeit true, truth.

Yes, Buddhism may be spiritually filling, even nourishing, but insofar as truth is concerned, it's junkfood. You can eat it every day of your life and die exactly as Awakened as the day you signed up.

::: Bait & Switch

Buddhism is a classic bait-and-switch operation. We're attracted by the enlightenment in the window, but as soon as we're in the door they start steering us over to the compassion aisle. Buddhists could be honest and change their name to Compassionism, but who wants that?

There's the rub. They can't sell compassion and they can't deliver enlightenment.

This untruth-in-advertising is the kind of game you have to play if you want to stay successful in a business where the customer is always wrong. You can either go out of business honestly, or thrive by giving the people what they want. What they say they want and what they really want, though, are two very different things.

::: Me Me Me

To the outside observer, much of Buddhist knowledge and practice seems focused on spiritual self-improvement. This, too, is hard to speak against... except within the context of awakening from delusion. Then it's easy.

There is no such thing as true self, so any pursuit geared toward its aggrandizement, betterment, upliftment, elevation, evolution, glorification, salvation, etc, is utter folly. How much more so any endeavor undertaken merely to increase one's own happiness or contentment or, I'm embarrassed to even say it, bliss?

Self is ego and ego is the realm of the dreamstate. If you want to break free of the dreamstate, you must break free of self, not stroke it to make it purr or groom it for some imagined brighter future.

::: Maya's House of Enlightenment

The trick with being critical of so esteemed and beloved an institution is not to get dragged down into the morass of details and debate. It's very simple: If Buddhism is about enlightenment, people should be getting enlightened. If it's not about enlightenment, they should change the sign.

Of course, Buddhism isn't completely unique in its survival tactics. This same gulf between promise and performance is found in all systems of human spirituality. We're looking at it in Buddhism because that's where it's most pronounced. No disrespect to the Buddha is intended. If there was a Buddha and he was enlightened, then it's Buddhism that insults his memory, not healthy skepticism. Blame the naked emperor's retinue of tailors and lickspittles, not the boy who merely states the obvious.

Buddhism is arguably the most elevated of man's great belief systems. If you want to enjoy the many valuable benefits it has to offer, then I wouldn't presume to utter a syllable against it. But if you want to escape from the clutches of Maya, then I suggest you take a very close look at the serene face on all those golden statues to see if it isn't really hers.



The Mythical Jed McKenna

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 12:44 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The Idiot's Guide to Full Awakening

Insight Clues for Dummies

emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 1:10 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

Here is my response to Jenny in an email I already sent her, but it might be relevant to others who would help me edit it, so it is included here:

"Dear Jenny,

Your offer is an extremely kind one. Thanks for extending it. Here are my thoughts:

There are a few parts that need further work on my own, but many parts are close enough to done to send to an editor or group of editors.

The bit question is: what sort of editing did you have in mind? I have worked with various people on the first one and the experience taught me at least something about working with editors.

There were those who just picked out typos and the like: that was obviously extremely helpful and straightforward.

There were those who did that and also suggested some things about style and phrasing here and there, as well as pointing out a few points about structure in a relatively low-key way.

Then there were those who wanted to basically do a massive rewrite with a line-by-line critique of basically everything and change basically everything. While I could understand their vision and appreciated their wish to help with that level of engagement, it basically was them trying to make my book into their book, and, while I did end up using some of their suggestions, most I had to let go, often to their irritation, as that level of editing makes things more personal in some way, it seemed.

When you read MCTB1, what sorts of changes did you have in mind? That should give me a good sense of your editing style and how we might work together to create something that is as good as it can be and also honors my linguistic and editorial quirks and oddities, some of which I am somewhat attached to.

Said another way, I am very happy to have you look at it, realizing that I obviously may not incorporate every change and thought you offer to style and structure, as there is typically some weird logic behind all of that. That said, there are sections that I keep looking at and thinking, "There is probably a better way, but I am not sure what it is," and, if you can show me some of the better way I imagine can be achieved but can't figure out, that would be great.
...
Those are my thoughts this early morning. Let me know yours.

Thanks again for your offer to help, as I will need help to make this all it can be,
Daniel"
One of my email replies follows, for whatever it is worth to the community, as I'm really gunning for this job, ya'll . . . and more than a year ago and since had this feeling that I would serve an an editorial consultant in relationship to Daniel's work:

Hi, Daniel,

I have a background as both a developmental editor and a copyeditor. Developmental editing involves a high-level, usually early, look at content, structure, sequencing, overall sentence-level style, match of tone/voice to aims, implied audience, and the like. Most of my past work has been on scholarly and technical publications, mainly in the health and social sciences, and involved developmental and copy editing on each publication. I have a PhD in American literature, so I'm versed in the construction of fiction, poetry, and poststructural literary theory, as well. . .   

First of all, I'm sorry to hear that you had some unsatisfactory experiences with editors. I'm seasoned enough at age 50, and with more than 15 years' experience in publishing, that I absolutely do not take an author's rejection of edits and suggestions personally. Sometimes younger, inexperienced editors will. My philosophy is that the book is the author's baby--especially so in a case like yours, where you have a first edition that has meant so much to your readers. The editor's job is to enhance to the truest version the author's vision, aims, and voice. Editors who don't understand this principle should be pursuing authorship on their own rather than turn editorial support into something less than supportive through and through.

In technical and scientific publications, I can be a very heavy line editor if that is what the author or publisher requests, but your book is closer to a novel or memoir, for which preservation of the author's voice and intent is much more the priority than in these other, scholarly kinds of publications that have more rigid conventions to adhere to. 

So, to your question, What kind of editing do you have in mind? I say, whatever kind of editing you request. I have a list of specific categories of changes I can make--a kind of menu that you can order from. Often, I'll do just one chapter or a few pages in line with what an author requests from the "menu" and then send it back to the author to ask whether this is indeed the level of edit he or she wants. This may be a good way for us to start since you've had some problems with editors in the past.

Now, I'm actually one of your audience members--someone who has read the first edition, discussed it extensively in a dharma reading group not into the DhO, and consults it almost daily to aid with meditation practice. So, with regard to this book, I'm not only an editor with the usual insights that an editor brings, but also an actual reader intimate with how a whole group of dharma practitioners outside the DhO reacted to, used, and interpreted specific passages. I envision offering reader comments in the margin, therefore, but these will normally be in the form of a query to you. I taught English at UNC for a decade, so I'm used to asking writers "reader questions" that prompt them to put themselves in the reader's position and own any revisions or STETs from that place.

I can certainly edit grammar, usage, tense consistency, punctuation, and all that. I can flag any passages that to me are unclear at the sentence level, so that you can ponder whether and possibly how to revise them. I can point out any repetitive verbal mannerisms that may distract the reader from your content. I can query any inconsistencies in tone/voice across chapters and ask whether this inconsistency is deliberate and, if so, whether you can make the rationale somewhat more foregrounded so that it is clearer that the choice and its effects are deliberate. 

One of the interesting challenges inherent in editing/reviewing your book is that there are, to sensitive readers, some performative undercurrents. By this I mean that sometimes I think you deliberately omit certain content or adopt, yes, quirky phrasing deliberately to prompt the reader nonverbally toward skillful redirection and self-reliance in practice. For example, you recently pointed out in a thread on DhO that you deliberately omitted all discussion of Hz of vibrations in the EQ chapter and that there was a reason for that omission. Another sense in which I have experienced an undercurrent to MCTB, is this: Often entire chapters or sections will adequately resonate only when, as a practitioner, I've begun to cross into that insight stage. I'm sure that you know what I mean. This is why rereading and rereading the book helps: It reads differently, depending on where the reader is in the progress of insight.  Because of this crucial "undercurrent" dimension of your work, I feel that an editor is definitely going to have to query you rather than presume to rewrite. Does what I'm saying here make sense?

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 1:31 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. I like the point about the front cover advertising what it is and sticking to that. It is a convincing one for me.



Potential buyers of books absolutely do judge a book by its cover, which is why we are all familiar with the cliche. Human beings are predominantly visual-contact creatures, so, to my dismay since I edit text, a book buyer's response, as well as assessment after reading, will often have more to do with reaction to the look-and-feel of the cover than to anything the excerpts and running text actually say. This is all to say that the importance of book cover design cannot be overestimated. 

Are there any designers present who would be willing to provide Daniel (and by extension the dharma community) a consultation? A good designer will start with a conversation about aims, audience, and register, and work up several ideas for Daniel to consider, collaboratively. The book deserves to have a professsionally designed cover, and this does not at all imply that the cover therefore needs to be slick or elaborate. It just needs to be maximally effective, given its donnée.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 1:40 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
The arahat thing is a point that has been made many times, both for and against.

Being a pragmatist, I hope to achieve certain ends, and must balance causes and effects.

Regarding putting "The Arahat" on the cover...

Pros: 

Some find it intriguing
Some find it impressive
Some find it compelling
Some find it inspiring
Some find it reassuring
Some find it the straightforward statement it is
Some find it humerous
A very few will appreciate the reference (Vimuttimagga, my second favorite dharma book), which is by The Arahat Upatissa

Cons:
Some find it grandiose
Some find it preposterous
Some find it offputting
Some find it offensive
Some have no idea what the word means and so find it confusing
Some find it just bizzare
Some find it heresy
Some will not read the book because of that word on the cover

The question is: which side weighs out more strongly, which must be considered in the light of what is in the rest of the book (such as the exact same claim) and who I think will actually apply the information presented there to good effect, which is what I care about most.

I am open to opinions and suggestions on this.

Daniel

If I was in charge fo marketing your book I would change it to:

"The Bodhisattva Daniel Ingram."

This will make it even more increduleus to traditionalists. But they aren't going to be reading your boook anyways. 

Then in the last chapter of the book you can explain that you consider a Boddhisattva as someone who fights the eleventh army of mara, and spreads the teaching. The MCTB is one such endeavour. You can explain here the reasoning behind a culture of openess you foster and address some of the criticism you recieved by calling yourself an Arahat.

By doing this you bring the idea of a Boddhisattva down to earth, and link it with the principles of the pragmatic dharma movement. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 3:47 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
Are there any designers present who would be willing to provide Daniel (and by extension the dharma community) a consultation? ...
One caution I'd add, while deferring to Jen's experience, is that I think book design is a very specialized sub-field within design proper. We've already had one designer remark on how good a design the cover of MCTB1 is. I would't argue against that in terms of design *as a whole*, but as a book cover I think it was a mistake. So what's needed is someone who knows book cover design, or at least illustration.

If I had to offer modification suggestions, here are my top six in order of decreasing importance:

1. Don't make the arahat claim on the cover
2. See 1
3. See 2
4. Get a good editor to help with the material, structure, and so on (i.e not just the typos). If you can get someone who really understands the mesage -- ideally a practitioner (hint, hint, Jen FTW) -- all the better
5. Get a book designer or layout specialist to help with core layout, font choice (use of lightning bolts) etc
6. Review the cover design -- including either changing or at least reviewing the artwork

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 6:16 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I realize the whole arahat on the cover thing has basically been dealt with, but I can't help but to add some comments.

If anyone has a problem with the word "arahat" on the cover, I suspect the core of the objection is that they don't agree with Daniel's definition of arahat. It is childish to expect the author to remove "arahat" because you disagree with his interpretation based on years of diligent meditation. 

What is an arahat to these people, anyway? Some mystical being who floats around formless realms all the time? Someone with no emotions? These absurd definitions of enlightenment have all been dealt with in MCTB, if I recall correctly. Let's not lose sight of the fact that the fetter model is pretty ridiculous in a variety of ways, and let's not forget that the suttas were recorded *after* the Buddha died, and may not even be accurate because of this. 

I've even read someone stating that fourth path according to MCTB is really just second path according to the fetter model. How drunk do I have to be before that makes sense? The Buddha described four levels of enlightenment, and diligent insight meditators experience four permanent shifts in the way reality is perceived. What a friggin' coincidence! I think it is much more reasonable to say that the fetter model is extra dogma added on to what happens, as opposed to taking what happens and trying to twist it to fit your own personal interpretation of the suttas.

Anyone who takes issue with the Burmese Theravada definition of arahat-- take those ridiculous, unrealistic, disempowering models of enlightenment and shove them right up your ass.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 7:11 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
Eric M W:
If anyone has a problem with the word "arahat" on the cover, I suspect the core of the objection is that they don't agree with Daniel's definition of arahat. It is childish to expect the author to remove "arahat" because you disagree with his interpretation based on years of diligent meditation. 
No, the core of the objection is that *regardless* of Daniel's definition and *regardless* of the truth of the claim, it may (I believe, *will*) reduce the audience of people who will read the book and therefore benefit from it. A subsidiary objection is that *even if* Daniel's definition is valid, and *even if* it's true (neither of which I doubt) Daniel himself claiming it has limited if any value. I should know; no one listens to me when I tell them that I am a Super Arahat, Supreme Commander of the Allied Buddhas, Grand Admiral of the Dark Segment, and Lord of the Hig-slung Bottoms of Nog.
Anyone who takes issue with the Burmese Theravada definition of arahat-- take those ridiculous, unrealistic, disempowering models of enlightenment and shove them right up your ass.
That's good. Let's put that on the cover of MCTB2.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 7:41 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
The title is not strong enough.  

The cover should be changed from Arahat Daniel M. Ingram to Buddha Daniel M. Ingram. How about The Neo Buddha: Daniel M. Ingram.  How about The Maitreya Buddha: Daniel M. Ingram?

Arahats ain't got shit on a Buddha.  Take the arahats off their pedestals.
  






RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/2/14 7:59 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
I should know; no one listens to me when I tell them that I am a Super Arahat, Supreme Commander of the Allied Buddhas, Grand Admiral of the Dark Segment, and Lord of the Hig-slung Bottoms of Nog.


The point being that the title does not say all of this.  All the title says is "Arahat."  

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/3/14 9:46 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:
I should know; no one listens to me when I tell them that I am a Super Arahat, Supreme Commander of the Allied Buddhas, Grand Admiral of the Dark Segment, and Lord of the Hig-slung Bottoms of Nog.


The point being that the title does not say all of this.  ..."  
Mine does. It sits next to my name, in multicolored Comic Sans on the cover of my book, "Mastering The Core Teachings of Edmund Lord Blackadder". Unfortunately in the ten years since publishing it has managed to achieve a readership of exactly one -- my mum. And even she says the cover is stupid.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/6/14 10:16 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Sidney: Even if in a pragmatic effort you want to help as many people as possible I think the strongest way to market is still to market by your values (in this case the values guiding the writing of the book itself). If you want a book that is clear, straightforward, and honest then the cover should be too. 
...
Arahat Claim: If you think that telling people that you are an Arahat is skillful at other times then it seems unclear to me why you would not put the title on the cover of your book. 
Sticking to one's values is, I believe, a good if not essential component. The trouble is, it's not enough to simply *state* those values and be done with it. What's crucial is not what Daniel says, but what his readers understand.

Semiotics A-go-go (I added the "a-go-go")
There are at least four parts of the channel through which information flows to get from an author's brain to the reader's brain.
  1. The author's internal representation of the idea (What he thinks/feels)
  2. The author's external representation (What he says/writes/draws/does)
  3. The reader's external representation (What she hears/reads/sees)
  4. The reader's internal representation of the idea (Whe she thinks/feels)
From each stage to the next, some modification/translation happens, but almost always, by far the most important purpose of all writing and art is to get 4 to be as close to 1 as possible. Now it may be that an effective way to do that is to express (in 2) your values, but whether that works depends on how good you are at making 2 reflect 1, and then how the reader sees that (3) and then how that translates into their internal representations (4). It's not enough to simply make sure that your values appear in 2, and in fact sometimes that can be a mistake, because the real aim is to get your values to appear in 4.

"Eskimo" and Chines Bibles
For example, when preparing one Eskimo-Aleut version of the Christian bible, there was some debate over how to render the phrase "the lamb of God". Some wanted to translate it literally, but others noted that "lamb" doesn't carry for Inuit people the same meaning that was intended in the original Greek. So a case was made to translate it as "the seal pup of God" (a case which IIRC was rejected, but the point remains). In some Chinese bibles today, "In the beginning was the Word" is translated as "In the beginning was the Dao", which angers many (non-Chinese-speaking) Christians because they think it infects the bible with some weird eastern religion. In other words, they think "Dao" violates their values. But that's very debatable. The original Greek "logos" didn't mean to the people of that time simply what the English "word" means to us today. And in Chinese, the closest word to the original meaning -- perhaps far closer that our "word" is -- is "Dao".

Or French even
Also, suppose Daniel was French and as well as being keen on Buddhism was also keen on preserving the French language. Would it make sense to refuse to allow the book to be translated, instead insisting that one must read French in order to get the good stuff? Well, maybe, depending on his *values*, but even if it did, he'd have to recognize that his values, French versus Buddhist teaching, were at odds with each other.

OK but that's translation, whereas with the "arahat" thing we're only talking about inclusion (or not). But language is more than words. It's signs, movements, silences, icons, gestures, fonts, text sizes, paragraph lengths, and, yes, inclusions/omission; pretty much *everything*. And if we want to be effective communicators, we need to learn to speak the language *of the audience*. And *that* is what book pros -- the good ones -- do. They help translate author-ese into reader-ese.

So with MCTB, one person may see "The Arahat" and end up thinking "Cool, this guys is worth a look". Others may see it and think "Oh, oh, another one of the many deluded fools out there". And based on the prevailing culture, they'd be prefectly rational do conclude that. There are indeed many deluded fools out there. And in that case, people may not be ready for this particular kind of "marketing by value". I suggest the latter people -- backed, as they often are, by more traditional Buddhists -- will be in a significant majority.

Ceci n'est pas une pipe
Finally, *not claiming* something is not the same as denying it. Daniel isn't telling us how many teeth he has, nor how big his dick is. He's not giving us an "anger count", or a "fetters reciprocal". And I assume he doesn't have "I am an Arahat" tattooed to his forehead, or wear it on a T-Shirt, or put it on a badge when he attends the Buddhist Geeks Conference. But *not saying* any of that doesn't mean he's a toothless, dickless, screaming homocidal unenlightened menace.

Oh, did I say finally? So, I lied. Here's finally -- in praise of the good editor. The "arahat" thing I think is very important, but it's tiny and easily fixed. But in terms of overall upping MCTB2's game, skillful copyediting is worth a look (again, Jen FTW. Full disclosure: I've never met Jen and wouldn't know her from Eve). Here's a tiny example. One of the most widely read modern books in the "Religion" genre, is Thomas Merton's "The Seven Story Mountain". Here was his original draft opening:
When a man is conceived, when a human nature comes into being as an individual, concrete subsisting thing, a life, a person, then God's image is minted into the world.
Of that, and many more initial pages, his editor advised Merton that it "was an example of misplaced 'fine' writing." The published version reads like this:
On the last day of January 1915, under the sign of the Water Bearer, in a year of a great war, and down in the shadow of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into the world.
Merton was and remains The Author, but that editor deserves a Pulitzer Prize for Editing. The Seven Storey Mountain wouldn't have been the same without him.

tpk

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/3/14 11:39 AM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
One other point on the "arahat" thing. While I'm firmly of the opinion it shouldn't be on the cover, I definitely think there's a case for a chapter or appendix on the topic, and specifically on what Daniel sees as the meaning of the word, under what definition he considers himself to be an arahat, the surrounding debate and sensitivities and so on. My experience of his writing is that he is a strong apologist (debater/explainer) and I think that, applied to the "arahat controversy" would be a very useful contribution, even to the extent of saying something like:
"... therefore, given that a common definition of arahat is X, Y and Z, and since I fulfill X, Y and Z, I can't help but conclude I have attained the state described in <such and such documents> and am therefore, by their definitions, an arahat.
That's still going to be a red rag to some traditionalist bulls, but done in this way is less likely to cause the readership problems I'm concerned about.

BTW, I just did a random walk through books on my shelves, of a wide range of subjects. The vast majority contained nothing equivalent to "The Arahat" on MCTB. I have books by Nobel Prize winners, major politicians, significant religious figures, and so on, plus many less wellknown authors, and almost all simply have their names there. The only exceptions are things like "Author of the #1 Best Seller <other book>", and the occasional MD, or PhD, both of which, as I have argued elsewhere, are not self-authentications but rather are given by broader society under a broadly accepted accreditation scheme (accreditations that, sadly, are becoming less and less valuable as time goes on -- I, like Sidney -- am wary of books claiming MD or PhD, especially when the subject of the book is not the core field of the author's award.)

Tee Kay, PhD (but not in Buddhology, Literature, Design, or anything else to do with the subject at hand)

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/3/14 11:51 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I don't really care what the cover looks like though I do like the meditator image on the first cover.  I just really want to read it. emoticon

I would add "Revised 2nd edition" on it, especially if it's substantially updated.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
8/6/14 1:32 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
In the non-DhO reading group I was in, it was the angry tone of the "rants" that put them off, not really anything else that they mentioned, not the "Arahat" on the cover. And if you go look at negative reader reviews on Amazon, the mention tends to be about this, when it isn't about a stupid denial that the Dark Night is ever experienced by anyone on the way to awakening.

I think Daniel has to keep "Arahat." I mean, it is kind of one of the key points of the book, isn't it? And even if there were a good reason to remove it, doing so on a second, expanded edition would be widely interpreted as self-doubt . . . you get the picture. Then there would be a bunch of dumb speculation over why the title "Arahat" was removed. And those kinds of discussions will distract people from discussing the rest of the book.

I have actually found the Arahat thing to be a great conversation starter in my workplace meditation lunch group. The response of others is invariably, "Oh, people shouldn't claim their attainments." When I ask why not, they invariably say, "That is pride." And so then I start asking if the Buddha and his students were unenlightened braggarts when they did the same. And then we start talking about the harm that secrecy causes and the now  invalid reasons that lineages keep higher practice so secret.  So the "Arahat" is a good entry into all this productive conversation in my workaday world.

By the way, dharma teachers around here, where I live, often have "Arahat" after their names on their course descriptions, so wtf?

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/4/14 11:22 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
Daniel will find, probably already has, that I will challenge him. And, yes, authors naturally tend to have affection for parts of their work that they would do well to, um, let go of. . . . 

I'm not afraid to move things around and make a coherent progression more explicit and therefore less likely to seem accidental. Although Daniel has, of course, the final say on all, a good editor will be an advocate for the reader, not just the author.

I've told Daniel that he may not need a "nice" other version after all is said and done with MCTB2. However, it may be a great idea to have a larger  (8.5 X 11 inch), spiral-bound companion "workbook." Sold separately for those who want to avoid the cultural critiques. It could contain all the big charts and graphs and geeky apparatus that Daniel loves, as well as a "progress" of specific meditation exercises to experiment with. Maybe it could even have meditation log space or writing exercises--whatever. The whole thing would be pragmatic. As a practitioner, I would really like a step-by-step guide to some stage-appropriate meditations that Daniel and maybe others came by that are not common fare in other meditation guides.

Just some preliminary speculations. . . .

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/5/14 7:30 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wouldn't it be cool if this were done and printed for the upcoming BG conference in October? Just sayin'....

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/5/14 5:52 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Is it possible you could include your handouts within the publication of the book?  In particular, the comprehensive table found here: http://static.squarespace.com/static/5037f52d84ae1e87f694cfda/t/5055922624acbaa64592c1c3/1347785254496/


I found myself frequently referencing this table during my insight meditation period.  It could be a useful appendix/reference in a print addition.  It consolidates a lot of the information in the book in a visual way and would be appealing to skeptics who flip through the book and see a very methodical and technical summary of the insight stages.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/6/14 1:20 AM as a reply to Eric M W.
Eric M W:
If some people don't pick up a book because "arahat" is on the cover, then they probably should stay away from hardcore meditation practice.
That's my feeling on it too.  Also, since you are going to talk about it a lot inside the book, maybe it is appropriate to go ahead and say it out front, truth in advertising as it where. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/6/14 1:53 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
In the non-DhO reading group I was in, it was the angry tone of the "rants" that put them off, not really anything else that they mentioned, not the "Arahat" on the cover. And if you go look at negative reader reviews on Amazon, the mention tends to be about this, when it isn't about a stupid denial that the Dark Night is ever experienced by anyone on the way to awakening.

Part of it is is what is the intended audience and goal?  If it's regular street people, then they won't care if you put arahat in or not, they won't know it's not supposed to be done in some circles.  If it's regular street people, then it also would make sense to use a word that is more well known and sounds more impressive.  Basically, regular people are likely to pay more attention if there is evidence this person might know what he/she is talking about.  If the audience is the general meditation community, then arahat might put some of them off.  Are there that many who are heavily trained it's taboo?  I don't know that answer.  From a secondary perspective, controversy is free advertising and many authors have found controversy to be a great way to sell books.  And just because everyone else chooses a certain terminology may not mean it is the best way to get readers.  If you follow the beaten path, you will not stick out as much as if you trail blaze.  Now if your intended audience is those who are may be further long in the map, and granted, that may be a rather smaller niche, but will they care that much about traditional rules?  I would guess not.  From another perspective, when you advertise something is 'hardcore' or only for the more experienced, you will likely automatically be tempting almost everyone.  Most people will want to quickly skip to the 'good part,' the 'secret teachings,' or whatever.  People are often impatient.  

Oh yeah, edited to add: And I agree about the rant part being best ditched, makes you sound like someone with a chip on his shoulder, just fairly unprofessional from an educational perspective.  

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/6/14 2:31 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

I think that we need to create another book, the book that has just the techinical stuff and none of the rant, sort of like an MCTB2 for Dummies, or a Just The Facts in MCTB2, or whatever, that would simply be an adult textbook divoid of the cultural rants, the terminological trappings, and the divisive aspects. It would be borning as fuck, but then it might reach much more broadly than the current one does.

Anyone up for helping me with that project? Anyone really good at writing adult educational books? It could be in that big-paged style with lots of bullet points, little tables, notes and icons in the side columns, and little reviews at the end of the chapter with quizzes, etc.

I actually think that, as horrible as I would find it, this sort of thing would be the natural maturation (leading to final death) of the thing, and embracing that cycle is a natural part of life. Rebels grow up, become establishment and eventually are overthrown and supplanted by new rebels. I don't really see myself as a much of a rebel anymore, so embracing the next mature phase may be the natural flow of things. Part of this idea appears in the email below also.

Compliments to idea. This is very similar to my vision of no bulshit dharma book.
Write a study book,  a textboox of dharma. Starting with basics (access concentration) and expanding in complexity.
With special sections of real life stories to give a reader something to hold on. Full of explicitly detailed instructions on meditation
techniques sutiable to the stage of development reader is in. There's enough material on this forum to write 10 books.
Table of content should corespond to vipassana stages. Each stage a chapter.

Yep, a textbook on dharma. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/6/14 10:13 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:

I think Daniel has to keep "Arahat." I mean, it is kind of one of the key points of the book, isn't it? And even if there were a good reason to remove it, doing so on a second, expanded edition would be widely interpreted as self-doubt . . 
To be honest, and despite my earlier list, if I had to choose between Daniel removing "arahat" and doing the rest of the book on his own, versus keeping the "arahat" but getting someone like Jen's help, I'd choose the latter. 

However (you knew there would be an however :-) ) :

I don't believe that Daniel being an arahat *is* one of the key points; him reporting on his *experiential results* of re-testing ancient methods is. I see MCTB and any successor like this. Imagine Newton's Principia but where after a few years no one else ever did any experiments to check and refine its results. Instead they all just trusted *his* experiments and analysis, and then quoted from him, century after century. They argued over nuances of Newton's words, or the best way of translating it into other languages, and basically made Principia into a holy book. Then one day, some upstart guy comes along and says, "Screw that -- I'm going to try to actually repeat Newton's experiments" and then, having successfully done that, writes a new book effectively saying "Look, Newton was right! I just did the stuff!" That's MCTB.

So what's important in all of this is not Daniel, and certainly not his *self*-asserted arahatship, but rather that Daniel Did The Stuff, and, most important of all, articulated it in a way that we can then follow and test for ourselves. Daniel himself is no more important than Mahasi Sayadaw, the Dalai Lama, Buddhaghosa or, dare I say it, Siddartha Gautama. I don't -- and I suggest no one should -- give a shit that Mahasi gets called "Sayadaw" or Gautama gets called "Buddha". *I* will decide what to call them, once *I* test their methods, and every other reader should take the same approach.

If MCTB has a key point, surely that's it? Don't just take the old guys with big hats word for it. Don't put too much stock in their lama-ness,  bikkhu-ness, rinpoche-tulka-osity, or arahat-ship. Don't worry too much about authority -- Just Do The Stuff.

On the self-doubt aspect, yes I think that's a likely criticism that would result. My gut reaction to that is, who cares? I don't see it as deterring readers, and I reckon it would attract even more new ones (or at least would reduce the tendency of  well-meaning traditionalists to advise newies to steer clear of it), so mission accomplished. But as I said in an earlier post, while I don't think putting it on the cover is at all wise, adding a section where Daniel more clearly discusses the title, the claim, and the surrounding controversy, would be very worthwhile. That, I think, would serve to more than compensate for any appearance of u-turning on MCTB1's claim.

Final point, Daniel, thanks for doing the books regardless of what you choose as a final form, cover, and so on. It's easy for me to sit on the sidelines and yell advice, but arahat or no, you are, indeed, The Man!

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/6/14 1:40 PM as a reply to Tom O..
Daniel and I both have demanding day jobs, and I have limited energy/concentration for editing at night after doing so all day at work. Therefore, it will take a while to finish this project, longer by far than 2 or 3 months. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/6/14 11:59 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Big tables, charts, and figures won't fit in the small trim size that the publisher has required for the print book. This is one reason that I suggested a companion "workbook," which could be spiral bound and big. This could be the "nice" version of MCTB, or the "just the facts" version. I'd like a more stepped-out progress of specific meditation techniques in a workbook format myself. emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/6/14 9:18 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
About the "arahat debate", 

Maybe a short and to the point definition of the intended meaning of the word "arahat" can be put right after the cover. Different people can and do understand different things from it.

I think defining it from the beginning would also further serve the purpose of advertising what is in the book.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/7/14 2:41 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
Big tables, charts, and figures won't fit in the small trim size that the publisher has required for the print book. This is one reason that I suggested a companion "workbook," which could be spiral bound and big. This could be the "nice" version of MCTB, or the "just the facts" version. I'd like a more stepped-out progress of specific meditation techniques in a workbook format myself. emoticon

I was thinking it could be spread out across a few pages, but the table is very wide and this probably couldn't be done without reducing its impact.  I have always found the table to be very impressive and to see everything in one place like that is quite remarkable.  

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/7/14 7:55 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
By the way, dharma teachers around here, where I live, often have "Arahat" after their names on their course descriptions, so wtf?

Yeah, I don't get it either...  Imagine becoming ill thousands of years ago, but being unable to get help because all the local shamans hid their attainments. 

Oh, and I just dropped back in to say that I don't mean to come off as a jerk, I have a lot going on in my life and I've been bouncing around the DN for over two years, so don't mind me if I'm being grumpy. I don't mean it.

That being said, removing "Arahat" from the cover is still a stupid idea. 

If a doctor writes a book about overcoming insomnia, or eating healthier, or any number of related topics, is it wise to remove "M.D." from the cover because some people think MDs don't exist anymore? Or that the author in question is insecure about his high level of schooling? Wouldn't that be absolutely friggin' bizarre? 

Maybe the cover should be signed "Daniel Ingram, MD, Luminous Bodhisattva of the Anal Light"

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/7/14 3:20 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
Eric M W:
If a doctor writes a book about overcoming insomnia, or eating healthier, or any number of related topics, is it wise to remove "M.D." from the cover because some people think MDs don't exist anymore? Or that the author in question is insecure about his high level of schooling? 
Sigh, I dont know how many other ways to get this point across. A medical doctor doesn't have to remove "MD" because they don't self-accredit as an MD. An (accredited) medical school gave the degree. So when someone asserts "MD" they're actually asserting: "Some smart people, backed by an extensive organization, with stringent controls and processes, and in which we as society are placing trust, have decided I am an MD" The same goes for PhD, LLD, DSc, PEng, and so on. We, as society, have developed these things because we've realized that in fields of high expertise, it is difficult for the non-expert to decide whether someone else claiming to be an expert actually is one. 

For better or worse, we do not currently have such a system to allow us to designate, on behalf of non-experts, that a meditation practicitioner is an arahat. We may one day, but right now we don't, certainly not in the US where Daniel is based. And note -- I'm not saying that arahats don't exist, nor that Daniel isn't one. I'm saying that we don't have the equivalent of the extensive social system called "medical education and certification" (for example).

So Daniel claiming to be an arahat is w-o-r-t-h-l-e-s-s in terms of other people deciding if he is an arahat. The only *reliable* information it conveys is that Daniel is willing to claim he is an arahat, and that says nothing about his actual arahat status. In fact, worse, it could and does lead some knowledgeable and well-intended experts to suspect that whatever Daniel is, he's *not* an arahat and is therefore, in light of that claim, not to be trusted. And that's a shame, especially since it's fixable, but it's perfectly understandable. If I wrote a medical book and claimed "MD" in my title but it turned out I'd given it to myself, then reasonable people would be perfectly justified in doubting me overall.

Look, for example, at this answer, by Noah Yuttadhammo on another forum, concerning arahat claims. Yuttadhammo is, by any measure, a good guy. He's not some stuffy old monk ignoring modernity. He's a modernizer in terms of Internet-based teaching, teaches Mahasi style meditation and appears to expect and achieve serious progress in his students. I imagine if he and Daniel met, they'd get on like a house on fire. But Y. has a lineage, has a tradition, and that tradition says to look askance at people who go around self-proclaiming as arahats. And there are many like him. And there are many many people who are being trained by people like him -- i.e. by good, effective teachers. But Daniel, another good and effective teacher, makes it difficult, by virtue of the arahat claim, for those more traditionally trained people to work with him for the actually very understandable reason that you can't and shouldn't self-proclaim arahat-ship, for the very understandable reason that the people to whom that claim would be useful are not usually qualified to know if that claim is true.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/7/14 3:32 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, you wrote a fabulous 1st MCTB. Without professional editing and with an arahat claim on an aesthetically questionable cover. And yet it had a huge impact and was considered by many to be one of the more important dhamma books ever published. And maybe it hasn't even reached its peak yet (in terms of recognition). I don't want to offend anyone, but the longer this discussion is going on the more I think you should publish MCTB 2 in exactly the same way you did publish MCTB 1. I understand your wish to make this in part a community thing and I understand our's, the community's wish to partake and make MCTB 2 an even more farreaching and influential project. But in the end everyone has an opinion and none of these opinions will be completely satisfied. Some of the things you do or say turn some people on and some people off.

I really value everyone's opinion around here (otherwise I wouldn't participate). But I'm really curious what your own personal version of MCTB 2 would look like. Would it be a reasonable compromise for you to first publish your version of MCTB 2 online and then make it an open source project? Everyone who's willing can then participate and build a community based MCTB 2.2 version. Maybe one day with professional editing, leather-binding, a golden imprint and a holographic arahat claim on the cover (one that seems to disappear when you tilt the book)... : )

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/7/14 9:47 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom. Wow--that table just showed me what my strange sit was all about last night! Tables can be redesigned to fit better, although doing so is more difficult with text tables than with data tables and in a small trim size. Some journals I've edited have had quite small pages, and we set the table broadside when necessary. It would take some work and aggressive table revision, but it could probably be done and be prettier to boot.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/8/14 5:13 PM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
by virtue of the arahat claim, for those more traditionally trained people to work with him for the actually very understandable reason that you can't and shouldn't self-proclaim arahat-ship


There is so much content in MCTB that would make a "traditionalist" blush.  The arahat on the cover is the least of the problem.  Just read the very first couple pages.  The book isn't at all meant for traditionalists.  It's meant for open-minded lay readers.

Just reading an old amazon.com review of mine for the book and I wrote "at first I thought him to be a foolish nut."  This wasn't because it said "Arahat" on the cover, I don't thnk I even knew what an arahat was at the time.  Personally, I tend to give people a chance and go off the content instead of some stupid vague first impression.  The content of MCTB blew me away and was exactly what I was looking for.  

However, MCTB literally reads like his "ego" is "flying off the page."  If Daniel wants to write a book appealing to "traditionalists" it really needs to be an entirely new book.  I'm not sure what the content of MCTB2 is going to be, but Daniel's reputation has already preceded him.  I'll bet most traditionalists already know who he is by now and any "traditionalist" students will feel compelled to ask their teacher about such a book before reading it anyways.  The book, at least the old version, is for lay mavericks and outsiders.

"Traditionalists" don't need Daniel's book anyways.  They already have very accomplished monks helping them every step of the way.  Perhaps it says something about the quality of MCTB that people feel it needs to be responsible for everyone's awakening, but it doesn't and it shouldn't.  It's just one book among thousands.  People will find the information they need even if they don't read MCTB.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/8/14 4:56 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Some journals I've edited have had quite small pages, and we set the table broadside when necessary. It would take some work and aggressive table revision, but it could probably be done and be prettier to boot.


If there is a way to make it happen, then that would be super awesome!


RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/8/14 8:46 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:

However, MCTB literally reads like his "ego" is "flying off the page."  If Daniel wants to write a book appealing to "traditionalists" it literally needs to be an entirely new book.  
Strangely, I didn't find that aspect a problem. I think it's partly because if you hear Daniel in other forums, a key characteristic that comes across is thoughtfulness and, I guess, politeness.

On the traditionalist thing, I don't think the book needs to appeal to them. But there are a lot of such traditionalists in teaching positions, so it's reasonable to expect that some potential readers will ask -- of the folk at their local city gompa or zen center etc -- "Hey, I've had this MCTB book recommended, What do you think?" The unfortunate repy -- I've heard it several times -- will often be, "Oh stay away from that INgram guy. He's the one that says he's an arahat!"

Anyway, I think that if this horse wasn't dead before, it well and truly is now. Hopefully the discussion has been useful, and I'm glad to see someone like Jen getting involved. Looking forward to seeing MCTB2, arahat and flashy LED (Light Emitting Dude) picture or no.

tpk out

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/9/14 12:35 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom: 
I'm not sure what the content of MCTB2 is going to be, but Daniel's reputation has already preceded him.  I'll bet most traditionalists already know who he is by now and any "traditionalist" students will feel compelled to ask their teacher about such a book before reading it anyways.  The book, at least the old version, is for lay mavericks and outsiders.

I'm not so sure about this. I was in an MCTB reading group a year ago with 15 other dharma practitioners, most of whom were very traditional and didn't know much about Daniel, if anything. The arahat title on the front was mentioned, but it was not what turned people off. What turned them off were the mad "rants" and perceived digressions. The amount of apparent anger in some of the rants made even me resistant to the rest of the book during my first read, and I'm usually on the far end of "open minded."

The "Arahat" is out of the bag for those who do know about the first edition. I don't see how Daniel can withdraw it from this revised, expanded edition without a sort of media circus ensuing around just that fact, distracting people from the earnest content within. I'm wondering whether instead of "The Arahat Daniel M. Ingram" it might help at least a bit to just change the form to the following:

Daniel M. Ingram

Arahat

It is a little more subdued at least.

As to those who say Daniel's definition of the arahat title is idiosyncractic and self-applied, isn't it true that lineage holder Sayadaw U Pandita the younger authorized him to teach? That's a pretty big deal, no?

What I don't think helps at all is to put "Arahat" on the cover and then go off on a rant right from the preface get-go. Some of the later rants are also digressions, which adds to their annoying-ness. For example, there is the little barb against nouveau Tibetan Buddists who feel superior to Sarriputa, and Daniel writes something to the effect that these people aren't fit to lick Sarriputa's sandals. This is not only harsh, but also completely off topic where it occurs. It's unnecessary at best, and offensive to Tibetan Buddhists and probably others at worst. 

So a lot of the sentence-level stuff can be tightened up (dropping, for example, the thousands of "very" adverbs), a few digressive rants can be dropped, and essential rants can be better unified, led deliberately into, placed strategically, and toned down subtly so that the "edge" remains without the outright vitriol. Daniel's voice should be preserved, but a little too much display of high-noon personality distracts from rather than conveys the message. Again, no one wants Daniel to sound like Kornfield, but there is a middle way.
 
I know that Daniel feels that he can't adequately convey some of his messages without also conveying his emotional honesty about them. Well, there is honest, and then there is HONEST emoticon! It is Daniel's honest reporting, not the overt chest-beating bitterness (he calls himself "bitter" at one point) that makes his points winning ones. I hate to say this out loud, but writing with credibility and convincingness is much less about honesty than it is about rhetorical skill, and rhetorical skill is about sensitivity to the plight of the unwon reader. I'm sure my boss at work wouldn't be particularly open to listening to my ideas for process improvements if I were to interrupt every meeting on other topics to flame her about current processes, right? Restraint is not selling out; it is being sensitive. Daniel says he wants this stuff to get across to more people, not just us, so let the letting go begin. . . . 

However, MCTB literally reads like his "ego" is "flying off the page."  If Daniel wants to write a book appealing to "traditionalists" it really needs to be an entirely new book.

It just needs to be a new edition ("Revised and Expanded Second Edition"), which can be as different as he wishes it to be from the first. So far, he's told me that he's added a bunch but not really cut anything. As Nick Cave sings, however, "There's nothing a pair of scissors can't fix!"

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/10/14 6:53 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Here are the problems with the claim itself and common defenses of the claim:
  • Again and again throughout the suttas, across a vast array of rhetorical patterns and situational contexts, the Buddha identifies arahatship as the total end of suffering, excepting the suffering inherent in fabrication (i.e. the suffering inherent in having fabricated sense experiences vs. having no experiences). The relinquishment of sense-desire and ill will is an earlier stage, anagamiship. Despite Daniel's efforts to redefine what the suttas are saying, they really do state that an arahat no longer has sense-desire, ill will, or mental restlessness.
  • Arahatship is defined as the final stage of contemplative development. MCTB 4th path isn't a final stage: many DhO participants, including Daniel, have reported that it's possible to reach higher baselines with corresponding reductions in suffering. So there's still suffering present at "MCTB 4th path", and as one continues to meditate, it's possible to continue the process of abandoning that suffering.
  • A number of reputable participants in online dharma discussions claim to have reached the sutta anagami stage or higher: Chuck Kasmire, a 30+ year Thai Forest practitioner, claims to be a sutta arahant. Omega Point claims to be a high-level bodhisattva (arahant-plus). Thusness (An Eternal Now / Soh Wei Yu's teacher) claims to no longer experience sense-desire or ill will. Others have made dubious claims to higher stages of awakening, but I find these three credible because of their deep knowledge of the practice, their willingness to speak about details of their own life experience and the verisimilitude of that description, their posting quality, and the excellence of their advice (probably the highest I've seen in online dharma forums). Defenders of the position that nonduality = arahatship regularly ignore these three examples. If I were honestly trying to discover whether sutta arahatship is impossible, I would ask these three about their experiences.
  • The relatively large numbers of Thai Forest ajahns who were known to have attained arahatship, and the fact that impressive contemplatives like Ven. Sujato and Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe sutta arahatship is possible.
  • It's sometimes argued that the relative paucity of sutta anagamis and arahats is evidence that these stages are unattainable. It's more likely we have so few anagami+ practitioners around because 1) many members of this community have bought into the rhetoric that arahatship is impossible, so they stop striving at "MCTB 4th path" and 2) those who are interested in further striving eventually leave the forum because the community doesn't have a critical mass of practitioners openly seeking the end of suffering.
Daniel's claim to arahatship might seem uncontroversial in the echo chamber of this forum, but it instantly turns off knowledgeable Buddhists who would otherwise benefit from the core message, which is the much less controversial statement that stream-entry is attainable in this lifetime with moderate, consistent work. I tried introducing MCTB to a Buddhist thread on another site; the readers mocked him endlessly (and deservedly) for claiming to be an arahat. As a result they never bothered reading the whole book or considering whether the instructions might lead to stream-entry. Those who did bother reading the book were confused by the content. After seeing how Daniel mangled the sutta definitions of attainment, they assumed he was also inventing the progress of insight and vipassana jhanas. Look at how MCTB was treated on e-sangha and Dhammawheel, where people who would've otherwise read the book ran away when they saw "arahat" on the cover.

It's callous to say that potential readers who can't get past the cover don't deserve to benefit from the book. Why not hook people with evidence of the efficacy of the practice so they get results, then give them the freedom to decide what labels to apply to those results? That would be the truly skillful approach. 

MCTB should cover what Daniel knows for sure from his experience: that it's possible for regular people to transform their minds and get rid of a lot of suffering, that so far he's experienced 6 (not 4!) major stages of contemplative development, and it's possible he'll reach more in the future. His claim to arahatship is based on vague intuition and speculation at best, and outside those domains, all the evidence is against it being true. It has no place in MCTB.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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8/10/14 8:51 PM as a reply to Matthew.
It's callous to say that potential readers who can't get past the cover don't deserve to benefit from the book. Why not hook people with evidence of the efficacy of the practice so they get results, then give them the freedom to decide what labels to apply to those results? That would be the truly skillful approach.

MCTB should cover what Daniel knows for sure from his experience: that it's possible for regular people to transform their minds and get rid of a lot of suffering, that so far he's experienced 6 (not 4!) major stages of contemplative development, and it's possible he'll reach more in the future. His claim to arahatship is based on vague intuition and speculation at best, and outside those domains, all the evidence is against it being true. It has no place in MCTB.



Daniel is free to write his book as he wishes in accordance with his own beliefs and opinions, regardless of what you or I may think.  This is essentially an advocation of censorship.  This argument is similar to saying that the parts on the dark night should be cut out because it scares people from practicing and there are many people who would have started a practice had they not been scared off by Daniel's book.  It would be like saying all the technical jargon and masculine energy needs to be removed because more people would read the book if it sounded like something written by Jack Kornfield or Eckhart Tolle.  Have you ever noticed that 95% of the people on the DhO are male?  Is it callous to exclude all the potential females, who for whatever reason, aren't particularly drawn to Daniel's teaching style?  

Also, you have to admit that there are some inconsistencies in the 10 fetter model.  For example, can you explain why ignorance and the fetters of craving for material and immaterial existence are eliminated at "MCTB" 4th path? 

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8/10/14 9:37 PM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew Horn:
After seeing how Daniel mangled the sutta definitions of attainment, they assumed he was also inventing the progress of insight and vipassana jhanas. Look at how MCTB was treated on e-sangha and Dhammawheel, where people who would've otherwise read the book ran away when they saw "arahat" on the cover.

How many of those do you think have crossed the A&P vs simply looking into Buddhism for a yet another identity? From my experience, people who are really trying to find a way out are reading and interpreting material with a much more open mind instead of bringing their own pre-conceived opinion to everything. It's surprising how some people can be so knowledgeable of the Suttas or other classical material and still never had any breakthrough. You could fine-tune the texts all you want, it's not going to break their mind-loop they are caught in on the cuhsion. A point can be made that a section on the source material behind MCTB would be of value, though. 

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8/11/14 1:52 AM as a reply to Simon T..
Regarding the source material, that involves the story, and the story will be published somewhere, it is just a question of where.

As to 6 vs 4 shifts, actually, depending on how you wish to slice it, I could go on and on and on about all the shifts and changes, of which there were many. So many insights, so many transformations, so many changes in how things were perceived and how things functioned. Shifts still occur. Growth is still occurring.

As to various people's claims: I have talked to Chuck in a while and I should look him up to see what he is up to and how things are. I haven't talked with the others in person, and with all of them, claims like those are hard to verify, as are mine, obviously. I still propose that to really see what is just extremely well hidden and perhaps repressed vs what is actually gone, the level of testing that would likely definitely prove this would be nearly undoable and involve drugs and situations you aren't likely to find these people willingly going into. The number of people who claimed to be free from greed, lust and hatred who actually weren't, or at least their actions would argue highly agains this, is so large that I belive extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that evidence is hard to come by. So, maybe, maybe not, can't be sure, will look into it more.

As to whether or not this is what I say it is, I again advise that one should do the experiment: practice until the last thing flips over and stays flipped over, the last knot of perception is untied and stays untied, and then test that out in the real world for a while, in relationships, in hardship, in the face of pain and illness, love and temptation, hunger and exhaustion, adversity and injustice, various states of mind, and one's family and see what happens. Then go back and read the texts, particularly the lives of those practicing back then, their stories and what they had to deal with, and see if you can see where I am coming from.

Some assumption that things got a bit whitewashed in the old texts at times is perhaps reasonable, but even if you presume that things are reported as they were, there are so many hints that things were not all light and roses, as might have been expected. Start to look for it and I believe you will see what I am talking about.

I strongly urge caution in being so certain that it is easy to sort out what is delusion and what are those disturbances inherent in life and an unalterable consequence of being born. Still, I keep an open mind and am willing to entertain people claming to have done various things beyond what I have and to try to replicate the experiment as best I can, as people who know the history of this place and my practice know well.

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8/11/14 1:54 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Traditionalists are in a most unfortunate position. They look to old texts written by a bunch of dead dudes, rather than their own direct personal experience. Who knows how accurate the suttas are considering they were written after the Buddha died? For all we know they may be full of shit, though some of them are useful.

What people don't realize is that someone can throw every last sutta in a firey pit and it wouldn't matter, as long as one practices well and pays attention to the 3C's. Hey, sometimes I think setting aside the old texts may be a very good thing, because then perhaps we can work on building our own maps and models more familiar to our western culture. 

Anyone who has a problem with the arahat claim, or the maps and models contained inside MCTB, should do the experiment. If they aren't willing to experiment, they should go back to sipping tea and reading Eckhart Tolle or whatever. I challenge any traditionalist to discard their fluffy new-age dharma books and ridiculously dogmatic Dhamma Wheel shit and simply do what the Buddha recommended-- being mindful of the sensations of the breath, moment to moment.

I made it all the way up to the 11th nana without knowing what it was or what was happening, all by just doing vipassana. Imagine my shock when I picked up MCTB and found how all the craziness was mapped out thousands of years ago on the other side of the world. For this reason, I feel strongly that direct, personal experience through meditation is far more important than any text, book, teacher, sermon, or any other third party source of information regarding spiritual development.

Maybe I'm just a hopeless iconoclast.

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8/11/14 2:24 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
This argument could go on forever because there are good arguments and evidence on both sides and a lot of people apparently are quite emotional over it.  Those are the two hallmarks of any Big Fat Hairy A## Controversy.  But in the end, it's just one word, "arahant" a word the definition of which or even the spelling of which is not agreed on across groups anyway.  If the definition if not agreed even by a majority, then it's impossible to say when it applies for sure. 

As for hiding something one believes is true, I think we've already covered that if Buddha could claim attainments then why has it become bad for anyone else to claim them?  From what I see, he believes it to be true and so in his mind he is speaking truthfully, can anyone else do any better than to speak the truth as they see it at that time? 

Interesting though, that happens in all religions.  Catholics and other religions all have many stories of miracles but if any member still alive tries to claim such an ability, he/she could get thrown out as a heretic or just ignored or carted off to the loony bin.  Something weird about religions that they want all the amazing stuff to be in the past ONLY.  No one know can ever be as amazing as someone in the past, apparently, not even close.  I guess it's not surprising that Buddhism is the same as the other religions in that tendency.  There's probably a lot of very interesting reasons why religions develop in that direction but I think part of it is a control issue.   In this case, even though Buddha himself did it, somehow it has become bad to make claims??!?? If you think about that, it's pretty weird. 

Since when is it bad to put knowledge on the table?  Suppose he is wrong and he is not an arahant and others might make such claims and also be wrong or lieing?  Well then people might be confused.  But what if we don't say who is an arahant?  Then people WILL be confused.   

As for  what will sell more books, with data on both sides, I don't think there is any way to tell for sure.  In the end, it's just a word, and it doesn't have any power all by itself other than the power we choose to assign to it.  It actually amazes me that people can get this upset just about one word as if the fate of Daniel, Buddhism and the entire universe might rest on it!  ;-P

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8/11/14 8:47 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Is this old-school enough for you? Actually it looks more like a title page than a cover.


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8/11/14 11:52 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Considering the length and fierceness of this discussion, there seems to be a lot of clinging on both sides to this mere label, Arahat. It is a word, lest we forget; anyone who has studied semiotics or post-structuralism, let alone dependent co-arising, and many other people besides, should know how slippery sign systems are, even beyond semantics, beyond the fragile exengencies of cultural construction, beyond historical/political struggles over the linguistic means of production. . . . 

When I first read MCTB, I was amused and intrigued by the audacity of Daniel's appropriating that label on the cover. I did not consider its use a possible heresy, for think what a strange word hersey is in a high dharma context! I cannot imagine why the mere presence of a label would stop someone not already hopelessly close-minded and dogmatic from reading the text as a thoughtful call to reconsidering much, including the definition of Arahat. As I read along, it became clear to me that Daniel had put it right "out there on the table" to get people's attention, precisely to argue for a specific definition and its cultural currency. Can such a fiat be rhetorically heavy-handed? You bet. But I think Daniel must have made decided to lay that card right there on the table first for a whole constellations of reasons that strike me as reasonable and worth consideration by those not already solidifying language in a way that the "nature" of language as empty construct simply doesn't permit.

Perhaps this whole issue could be taken up by Daniel in a Preface to the Second Edition. That way, he could acknowledge the controversy up front and treat it in the nuanced way he has in his response on this thread and elsewhere.  Emphatically, MCTB does reject the 10-fetter model, after, all, as we find out later in the book. Maybe some of the controversy can be precluded from the beginning just by explaining this rejection from the preface or introduction. Then, the only argument that might survive concerning Arahat would be that he didn't have the right to update the meaning of a fixed linguistic construct--although no linguistic constructs are fixed, as I've said, and there is no such thing as denotation and literal meaning anyway. In other words, he could more explicitly acknowledge from the beginning why he put the label on the cover. 

I do not think it at all "callous" to say that those who cannot get past that word on the cover are not ready for the rest of the book. They are not, not unless much of the rest of the book is gutted, which is a nonstarter.

Personally, I don't know whether it is possible to stop even the arising of all reactionary mind in any human. I do know that, to date, I've not met or witnessed any human who seemed remotely a candidate to be called an Arahat on that score. Reappropriating the label may be reacted to as revolutionary, unorthodox, heretical, but Daniel, by his sheer honesty in reporting his experiences, has at least not given anyone reason to doubt that he has experienced what he says he has. And this is the chief thing! He has not claimed superhuman powers, and, precisely for this reason, I think any Buddhist who is not already unhealthily entrenched in dogma has to at least grant what he says thoughtful consideration. Better yet--has to put the practices to the test of practice.

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8/12/14 5:43 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Perhaps this whole issue could be taken up by Daniel in a Preface to the Second Edition. 

This is the most reasonable way to handle the controversy, IMO. 

When I was first researching Buddhism, years ago, I somehow came under the impression that an arahat was one who had attained to the eighth jhana. That's what I got for using wikipedia, I suppose... 

Saint Eric, Sixth Buddha of Infinite Rigpa, Keeper of the Flame of Eternal Compassion, Consumer of Raw Cookie Dough

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8/13/14 3:23 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
Tom Tom. Wow--that table just showed me what my strange sit was all about last night! Tables can be redesigned to fit better, although doing so is more difficult with text tables than with data tables and in a small trim size. Some journals I've edited have had quite small pages, and we set the table broadside when necessary. It would take some work and aggressive table revision, but it could probably be done and be prettier to boot.


I haven’t read through the entire thread but here are some thoughts:

That chart is monumental and iconic. It's the Map of the Maps.
Not only should it be included, it should be on a triple-page foldout and given a place of prime importance, as it's utility should not be underestimated. A yogi that is actually going to pick up the book as a tool - a user's manual to progress on the path - will be referencing that chart frequently. It should be accessible and user freindly. In fact, the digital copy I have is rather unwieldy to view as it doesn't all fit on the screen, I can't recall all the times I've referenced it and got derailed from what category/nana I was looking at.
Maybe a quadruple-page foldout. 

As for the book cover, yes the current book cover sucks. I can’t even picture it in my mind it’s so forgettable, except it has some sort of cliched meditating dude on it. In the future MCTB will be known as a classic and ground breaking book in Western Dharma. It will be iconic. It’s cover should also be iconic, memorable, and unique so as to match the quality of the content. It should’t be on the level of a mindless afterthought.

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8/14/14 5:36 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
I do not think it at all "callous" to say that those who cannot get past that word on the cover are not ready for the rest of the book. They are not, not unless much of the rest of the book is gutted, which is a nonstarter.

I agree with most of what you said. Here's the core of the argument I was trying to make. Let me know if you agree.

1. We should the maximum number of people to attain stream-entry.
2. MCTB is a tool for getting people to attain stream-entry. MCTB's other effects, like cultural reform, are secondary and dispensable. 
3. There is some subset of the human population, let's call them Group A, who are both dogmatic religious Buddhists and who would attain one of the following from following MCTB's advice:
  • Mind & Body (cula-sotapanna-ship): Guarantees the next birth will not be in a lower realm
  • A&P: They become dhamma-followers or faith-followers, guaranteeing stream-entry before death
  • Stream-entry 
3. If Daniel claims to be an arahat in MCTB, Group A will ignore the book's advice and they will not attain awakening as a result.
4. If Daniel doesn't claim to be an arahat in MCTB, and instead conceals his beliefs on the issue, religious Buddhists will accept the book's advice and they will attain stream-entry.
5. Because we want as many people to attain stream-entry as possible, and Daniel not talking about arahatship in MCTB is a prerequisite for achieving this, Daniel must not talk about arahatship in MCTB.

I propose instead that Daniel describe his moment-to-moment experience (clear seeing of three characteristics, centerlessness etc.) and include some form of what he said earlier in the thread:
"I strongly urge caution in being so certain that it is easy to sort out what is delusion and what are those disturbances inherent in life and an unalterable consequence of being born. Still, I keep an open mind and am willing to entertain people claming to have done various things beyond what I have and to try to replicate the experiment as best I can, as people who know the history of this place and my practice know well." 

Dharma cultural reform belongs in a separate treatise. I want to be able to give MCTB2 to a dogmatic religious Buddhist, tell that person nothing about Daniel's maps of attainment, and have them attain stream-entry.

Keep in mind there are two types of people on the path to stream-entry (post-A&P) in the suttas: wisdom followers and faith followers. I would guess that most of the post-A&P participants on this forum are wisdom followers, who know there's something off about reality and have an overwhelming drive to find the truth ("What is the Matrix?"). 

Faith followers may not have seen the three characteristics as clearly, but they're placed on the path to stream-entry by their faith in the Buddha, dharma, and sangha. What does that mean? No one knows the Buddha in person anymore, no one agrees precisely what makes up the dharma (although post-stream-entry you've internalized it), and the sangha is divided into sects with different collections of dogma. As a result, faith followers must have faith in their idea of the Buddha and the statements of religious authorities, what we would consider dogma, in order to make progress. So people who are totally devoted to Buddhism but don't seem to "get it" or are intolerant of heterodox statements deserve our compassion. Shifting them from thinking about awakening to doing it may take something like an inspiring book packaged in a form they can accept. 

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8/14/14 6:20 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
Eric M W:
... Consumer of Raw Cookie Dough

Whoa! There are two of us?

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8/14/14 8:08 PM as a reply to Matthew.
3. If Daniel claims to be an arahat in MCTB, Group A will ignore the book's advice and they will not attain awakening as a result.


I'm confused as to why people so firmly believe that if someone does not read MCTB they will not achieve stream-entry.  This notion is strange.  It's sort of like MCTB, in this thread, is being worshipped like some kind of Bible/Quran/Veda of the Dharma where no other book or teacher could possibly get someone to stream-entry.  

MCTB is not some supreme guide on the progress of insight or enlightenment.  There is nothing new in it that cannot be found from other books or from other teachers.  If you wish to get a dogmatic Buddhist to stream entry then just give them a different book.... perhaps one written by a qualified monk like Mahasi Sayadaw.  Also, the entire progress of insight can be found here (and countless other places): http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html

Not to mention that vipassana is just one among probably hundreds of ways of getting enlightened.

There is more than enough information out there for people to get to stream-entry (and far beyond) without reading MCTB.

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8/15/14 12:43 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:

I'm confused as to why people so firmly believe that if someone does not read MCTB they will not achieve stream-entry.  This notion is strange.  It's sort of like MCTB, in this thread, is being worshipped like some kind of Bible/Quran/Veda of the Dharma where no other book or teacher could possibly get someone to stream-entry.  

MCTB is not some supreme guide on the progress of insight or enlightenment.  There is nothing new in it that cannot be found from other books or from other teachers.  If you wish to get a dogmatic Buddhist to stream entry then just give them a different book.... perhaps one written by a qualified monk like Mahasi Sayadaw.  Also, the entire progress of insight can be found here (and countless other places): http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html

Not to mention that vipassana is just one among probably hundreds of ways of getting enlightened.

There is more than enough information out there for people to get to stream-entry (and far beyond) without reading MCTB.

It's certainly true that other methods and forms of presentation can and do work, but consider:

1. How few religious Buddhists are actively pursuing awakening because they've been told it isn't possible for non-monks, non-Asians, or anyone (due to the degeneration of the dharma)

2. How few regular people who have encountered the mass media presentation of mindfulness are aware that awakening is possible or would be beneficial for them, since 1) for some reason authentic teachers are skittish when it comes to talking about awakening whereas charlatans (Deepak) make millions off comparatively useless consumer mysticism and self-help and 2) the Buddhist concept of awakening is hopelessly muddled by perennial philosophers like Kornfield, Zen non-doers like Brad Warner [Brad and his teacher Nishijima don't believe classical awakening is possible, not even stream-entry], cautious popularizers like Kabat-Zinn, and floaty neo-Advaitists (Tolle). In other words, accurate and to-the-point information for single-minded seekers is buried under torrents of less useful material. As an aside, Kornfield, Warner, Tolle, and Kabat-Zinn are dharma heroes for convincing huge masses of people to meditate, but after you get through their stuff there's no "advanced course" on offer; they have nothing comparable to MCTB. 

3. How many acclaimed lay meditation teachers withhold important information that would be available in a monastic context, or tolerate or enable their students not achieving results, whereas MCTB implies you should strive hard for the goal as Buddha intended.

Nowhere did I say awakening is impossible without MCTB, but for many people in our time and place, MCTB has been the thing that does it. I had been exposed to a fair number of vague meditation books and a class where the teacher told us 1) most of us wouldn't achieve the 1st jhana much less stream-entry in one lifetime and 2) awakening is a multi-life process, so I gave up on Buddhism. A few wasted years later I came across the MCTB NY Times column (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/the-anxiety-of-the-long-distance-meditator/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0). If I hadn't I would be much, much worse off. 

So to restate my argument, there's a subset of traditional Buddhists who won't reach awakening without MCTB for the reasons I listed above, but who can't get into MCTB because they're attached to dogma that doesn't really need to be addressed in a book about meditation. Exploding dogmas and cultural reform belong in a separate book.

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8/15/14 1:19 AM as a reply to Matthew.
For what it's worth I believe I reached states of distinction because I encountered this community. What I mean to say is, without ever having absorbed the attitude present in this community (that awakening is possible) I would have never even tried, never even had a glimmer of hope (funny story: I often attempted to receive a definite prophecy for pacceka-buddhahood from arahats, thinking that they could bestow them, the training to become a pacceka-buddha in Buddhist mythology takes several aeons).

But specifically reading stories of awakening in this community, helped to normalize the experience of awakening, and making something is realistic and attainable. Moreover it removed the notion that I needed to be someone special to get it.

On the other hand my awakening was purely through the practice of Buddhism found in the Pali Canon (I mention this because I did not have a formal sitting practice, did not practice Vipassana, and did not practice the techniques found in the MCTB.), which is not so much a practice as it is a "way of living", specifically it was 1) association with noble individuals (this community) 2) hearing the true Dharma (studying suttas and correcting my view) 3) appropriate attention (such that wholesome states grew and unwholesome states fell away) and 4) practice in accordance with the Dharma (where I actually put in effort).

There are some notions that this community perpetuates that I don't entirely view as helpful, such as the notion that the dark night is a necessity of practice, which it isn't.

Or specifically the notion that practice is necessary, I do appreciate that effort and diligence are necessary, but practice, in terms of a technique, not necessarily.

You will read that the historical Buddha did not specifically teach techniques, with some exceptions, this is because, in my view, the Awakening process sort of just happens, unfolds, as one is living with noble friends, studying the Dharma, discussing the Dharma etc. As such, it just sort of happens, gradually if you will, the Buddha often spoke of the process as happening gradually.

My sort of off-topic rant for today.

Sutta discussing the four times:


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8/24/14 12:38 PM as a reply to Monsoon Frog.
I'll work with Dan on the table or tables. I've spent most of my career editing science journals with complex tables, so I'm well versed in table design and editing.

About the front cover, personally I don't have a problem with it and kind of don't understand where all the criticism of it comes from. I think it has aesthetic and sentimental value for Daniel, so we will see what his decision is.

That publishing outfit he uses is extremely bare bones and little more than a self-publishing conduit, from what I can tell. They even charge authors for editing! So I wouldn't count on foldouts and whatnot. Don't worry, though. There will be plenty of tables and charts as I understand it.

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8/24/14 3:14 PM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew Horn:

  • A number of reputable participants in online dharma discussions claim to have reached the sutta anagami stage or higher: Chuck Kasmire, a 30+ year Thai Forest practitioner, claims to be a sutta arahant. Omega Point claims to be a high-level bodhisattva (arahant-plus). Thusness (An Eternal Now / Soh Wei Yu's teacher) claims to no longer experience sense-desire or ill will. Others have made dubious claims to higher stages of awakening, but I find these three credible because of their deep knowledge of the practice, their willingness to speak about details of their own life experience and the verisimilitude of that description, their posting quality, and the excellence of their advice (probably the highest I've seen in online dharma forums). Defenders of the position that nonduality = arahatship regularly ignore these three examples. If I were honestly trying to discover whether sutta arahatship is impossible, I would ask these three about their experiences.
Is your conception of an arhat consistent with someone who professes to enjoy the suffering of others? 

I wonder how much fun he had reading those threats of physical violence?  Instant Karma, in the face, right there, pow, bang bang!
Chuck Kasmire:


t**** t****:
I'm not the right person to be mollycoddling Iddhi-0ts.
I'm here to offer the straight up goods to the sincere and those who have the will to practice well.
The antagonistic will simply get what's naturally coming to them.

Looking back through Nathans recent posts - seems like that is exactly what he is doing - I'm enjoying it.

As you might recall, the opening statement on the home page reads
The Dharma Overground is a resource for the support of hardcore meditation practice.

What I find is that where anyone has an actual question related to that statement, he has given really good and helpful advice or a thoughtful opinion. Where he does otherwise - well look at what he is responding to. You give it - you get it. An Instant Karma moment.

Perhaps if a separate site was set-up for those who wish to make antagonistic/intellectual masturbation posts than that would clean things up a great deal. We could call it DharmaNeverGround perhaps.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5054815



To add my 23 cents to the debate, I say go for putting arhat/arahat on the title, just make it clear that you have created your own definition of it - so something like Arahat-DMI or Arahat™ or Danarahat.

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9/7/14 3:42 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I can barely contain myself because I've seen what Daniel may decide to do about the front cover and other matters. But I am not not not going to give out spoilers! Shhhhhhh!!!!! emoticon

But I will say this, because I can't help it: MCTB2 is going to blow people's minds wide open (in a good way). I think this edition will be a top, timeless dharma classic where MCTB1, though a niche or "cult" classic, only approximated and hinted at such potential.emoticon

Now, I haven't grappled with the structure/sequencing or the fact that it is more than 500 pages, but we'll deal with that later, somehow. emoticon

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9/7/14 4:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

I'm gonna be really prosaic here. ( I haven't read all the comments yet so maybe someone else pointed this out already).

Just in relation to your book cover, seeing as you're giving it exactly the same title but putting Second Edition, it suggests to me that it's the same book as the first -  just a revised version, maybe with an additional chapter.

Woudn't it be better to write BOOK 2?

Piers

BTW how could anyone get annoyed by the design of the original cover? It's just a book cover. I don't have a copy of it on my shelf anymore (I gave it away) and can't even particularly remember it. There's more serious crap to get worked up in life about. But that's just me!

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10/6/14 10:28 AM as a reply to Piers M.
Piers M:
BTW how could anyone get annoyed by the design of the original cover? It's just a book cover. ...There's more serious crap to get worked up in life about. But that's just me!
See: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_law_of_triviality]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_law_of_triviality

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10/6/14 10:44 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
BTW, this horse has probably long left the stable but the other day an alternate sub-title for the book occurred to me. If some of us consider "arahat" to be controversial after Daniel's name, then just think how much cat-among-the-pigeons fun we could have if:

"An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book"

was replaced with ... drum roll:

"A 21st Century Visuddhimagga" or
"A Visuddhimagga for the Modern Age"
emoticon

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10/7/14 9:10 AM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
re Tee P Kay (10/6/14 10:44 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram. )

(exploring subtitles)

"A 21st Century Visuddhimagga" or
"A Visuddhimagga for the Modern Age"


Perhaps better 'Vimuttimagga'.

'Purity' or 'holiness' … (visuddhi) might ring a bit too idealistic, non-pragmatic.
'Deliverance' (vimutti) has a more general sense, not specifying from what or to what, per se. And perhaps alluding to Daniel's getting beyond those constraints that have hindered Western teaching and practice.

BTW: All these goings-on – secular-, pragmatic-, post-modern-Buddhism, hardcore Dharma, etc. – could be viewed, from my training in historical methodology, as the makings of a 20th-21st-Century "commentarial tradition."

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10/8/14 5:34 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
Chris J Macie:
BTW: All these goings-on – secular-, pragmatic-, post-modern-Buddhism, hardcore Dharma, etc. – could be viewed, from my training in historical methodology, as the makings of a 20th-21st-Century "commentarial tradition."


I don't even

Now I have this image of future scribes, after the collapse of civilization, meticulously copying DhO threads onto clay tablets and hotly debating what the word "wetpaint" could possibly have meant in the context of the hardcore commentaries.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/8/14 7:35 AM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:
Chris J Macie:
BTW: All these goings-on – secular-, pragmatic-, post-modern-Buddhism, hardcore Dharma, etc. – could be viewed, from my training in historical methodology, as the makings of a 20th-21st-Century "commentarial tradition."


I don't even

Now I have this image of future scribes, after the collapse of civilization, meticulously copying DhO threads onto clay tablets and hotly debating what the word "wetpaint" could possibly have meant in the context of the hardcore commentaries.

Cheers,
Florian

Wet paint was used as the medium with which the brave adventures of Dho and KFD recorded their experiences. Perhaps the scribes attempted to use this medium in recording Dho threads, but found that clay was more durable. Sadly, the scribes missed the point of using wet paint: it was a profound teaching of impermanence, like the sand mandalas of the Tibetans. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/8/14 5:37 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
You guys crack me up! emoticon

J

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/8/14 6:04 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
Funny, because the word sutta literally means: "thread". And the DhO is composed mainly of threads!

Perhaps scholars of the DhO-tradition in the future will have problem sifting out chaff from the wheat, especially when people were being humorous or serious. Maybe Nikolai's song lyrics posts will be interpreted as hymns or poems.

Who knows. Unless they have an MP3 archive of all current songs. Lol.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/22/14 9:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
As I understand it, MCTB2 has been more or less completed and Jen is editing it. Is it still possible for anyone else to view any of the drafts? I am incredibly curious and eager to see it and I am willing to do whatever is necessary to preview a copy: pay a fee, sign a nondisclosure agreement, proofread, edit, whatever.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/27/14 1:31 PM as a reply to J C.
J C, all--

The editing, which involves restructural revision as well as copy editing and content queries, is going very well but slowly, with a month being completely lost to recent forum "excitement." Daniel and I are back on track, but he, too, seems to be realizing what I said from the outset: Substantive editing and the necessary back-and-forth between editor and author is more time-consuming than authors at first think it is going to be or needs to be. Fortunately, Daniel and I seem to agree on about 99% of edits/restructuring so far, so the working relationship seems to be a smooth one that I feel will benefit this book and its readers if we are all patient enough to let it.

I've proposed to Dan that, whenever he and I are done with a major part, as in "Part I: Fundamentals of Practice," then he publish it out online somewhere so the community can (1) start benefitting from new and clarified content, (2) comment on or query new/clarified content, and (3) alert us to typos or other surface errors. I would personally appreciate No. 3, because the level of editing I'm doing, especially when it is done on screen, always misses or introduces surface errors, but I'd rather hurry up to the next chapter/part than spend the time proofreading my own work for surface errors.

FYI, I'm editing the book to Chicago style, if that means anything to proofreaders out there. 

We are not even close to finished with Part 1, but we are gaining momentum, and my understanding from Dan is that he does want to accept this proposal to publish beta versions of parts as he and I are done with them.

Peace,
Jenny

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/27/14 7:17 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Thank you, Jenny.
(3) alert us to typos or other surface errors. I would personally appreciate No. 3, because the level of editing I'm doing, especially when it is done on screen, always misses or introduces surface errors, but I'd rather hurry up to the next chapter/part than spend the time proofreading my own work for surface errors.


I am the same way: onscreen is a little harder for me to see and my own errors are always harder to catch.

FYI, I'm editing the book to Chicago style

I will not cry AP tears ;) 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/27/14 7:40 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
Thank you, Jenny.
(3) alert us to typos or other surface errors. I would personally appreciate No. 3, because the level of editing I'm doing, especially when it is done on screen, always misses or introduces surface errors, but I'd rather hurry up to the next chapter/part than spend the time proofreading my own work for surface errors.


I am the same way: onscreen is a little harder for me to see and my own errors are always harder to catch.

FYI, I'm editing the book to Chicago style

I will not cry AP tears ;) 
It is recommended that AP style not be used as post-editing Dark Nights inevitably follow.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/27/14 7:42 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
J C, all--

The editing, which involves restructural revision as well as copy editing and content queries, is going very well but slowly, with a month being completely lost to recent forum "excitement." Daniel and I are back on track, but he, too, seems to be realizing what I said from the outset: Substantive editing and the necessary back-and-forth between editor and author is more time-consuming than authors at first think it is going to be or needs to be. Fortunately, Daniel and I seem to agree on about 99% of edits/restructuring so far, so the working relationship seems to be a smooth one that I feel will benefit this book and its readers if we are all patient enough to let it.

I've proposed to Dan that, whenever he and I are done with a major part, as in "Part I: Fundamentals of Practice," then he publish it out online somewhere so the community can (1) start benefitting from new and clarified content, (2) comment on or query new/clarified content, and (3) alert us to typos or other surface errors. I would personally appreciate No. 3, because the level of editing I'm doing, especially when it is done on screen, always misses or introduces surface errors, but I'd rather hurry up to the next chapter/part than spend the time proofreading my own work for surface errors.

FYI, I'm editing the book to Chicago style, if that means anything to proofreaders out there. 

We are not even close to finished with Part 1, but we are gaining momentum, and my understanding from Dan is that he does want to accept this proposal to publish beta versions of parts as he and I are done with them.

Peace,
Jenny


Jenny, thanks! That would be amazing and I would love to see beta versions (or even alpha versions) of chapters or parts of the book.

Could you clarify: is MCTB 2 a sequel or a second edition of the first book? Does it cover the same territory but updated and rewritten, or is it intended to be read after MCTB?

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/27/14 11:35 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Could you clarify: is MCTB 2 a sequel or a second edition of the first book? Does it cover the same territory but updated and rewritten, or is it intended to be read after MCTB?

It is a second edition of the first book, but a significantly revised and expanded (and now substantively edited) edition. Big new part on the Powers has been added at the end, and lots of additions, clarifications, and explicit meditation and other instructions throughout. Much reworking and many painstaking clarifications by Daniel, so he has outdone himself, which is a tall order, and I think you all will be deliriously happy with this book. It feels very much to me like an all-time dharma classic and awe-inspiringly so, rather than an underground or "cult" classic written by "a young upstart," to quote MCTB1.

But, don't worry, I've not made Dan sound like Jack--as if he would let me. emoticon

(EDITED about a million times for typos because I'm apparently edited out for the day.)

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/27/14 11:42 PM as a reply to J C.
It is recommended that AP style not be used as post-editing Dark Nights inevitably follow.

For reals! emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/28/14 4:55 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Thank you, Jenny, for your hard work and your update. And many thanks, Daniel, for all you have done for us. I for one am forever in your debt. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/28/14 5:58 AM as a reply to Jenny.
JennyJ C, all--

I've proposed to Dan that, whenever he and I are done with a major part, as in "Part I: Fundamentals of Practice," then he publish it out online somewhere so the community can (1) start benefitting from new and clarified content, (2) comment on or query new/clarified content, and (3) alert us to typos or other surface errors. I would personally appreciate No. 3, because the level of editing I'm doing, especially when it is done on screen, always misses or introduces surface errors, but I'd rather hurry up to the next chapter/part than spend the time proofreading my own work for surface errors.


I'd be glad to join the list of those willing to particpate in (3).

Since, as a graduate research assistant at Berkeley (looong ago) doing the bulk of the grunt work in the formation of a major book on the Beethoven Quartets, I've managed to find typos, case issues, unclear pronoun references, mixed tenses, mixed-up footnotes and indexes, etc. in every book I've read seriously. Among which, more recently – Pa Auk's The Workings of Khamma, the Visudhimagga, both Analayo's Satipatthana books, Sujato's A History of Mindfulness, Noa Ronkin's and Alexander Piatigorsky's books (each wrote only one of note), and so on; not to mentions B.Bodhi's Nikaya editions; CAF Rhys David's Dhammasangani translation, and more so on… And just started Alexander Wynne's The Origin of Buddhist Meditation (which came up in the research abstract in a link recently in a thread here on 'Science research and Jhanas') which is pretty clean, so far.

And this work is fun, in that one gets close observing how the author is going about what he/she is trying to do. And equally so be it a book I expect to agree with, or one I read expecting to tear it apart.

Actually, MCTB was somewhat surprisingly free of blantant typos, given the overall looseness of style and publication (but I did read it quickly). Daniel's penchant for super-long sentences with minimum punctuation could probably stand a good detailed going over, in case he's not changed his style. Even then, and also surprisingly, those sentences turned-out, more often than not, to be comprehensible.

Gratefully it's not in German – recalling the mutli-page-long sentences in GFW Hegel's Die Phaenomenologie des Geistes, where the last 50-100 words or so were nothing but piled-up infinitives unraveling the nested syntactic structures.

And gratefully (also perhaps regretably at times) not a lot of Pali, with its confounded diacriticals.

What I did miss ( in MCTB ) were a formal bibliography (which I added for myself from the passing mentions of sources or recommendations), and an index (or a couple thereof). That stuff I could possibly take a look at. (When reading a book that has them, that's often where I start, but probably not most readers.)

In any event, I remain torn between launching into a second read of MCTB and waiting for 2.

Footnote-wise, an idea (as sort-of, not literally) for use in subtitle or preface would be along the lines of the classical prefixes:  Greek 'meta-' and  Pali 'abhi-'. That is, between the extremes of a simply prettied-up second edition, and a radical departure, a sense of 'beyond', or 'further and higher' in the same basic direction.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/28/14 9:09 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
And many thanks, Daniel, for all you have done for us. I for one am forever in your debt. 
Yes. I have this feeling almost every day. Here is a person who has given freely of their practice without concern for people who would move to high-mark on his reputation or not.

Among the purist traditionalists there are naysayers (read "Modern Buddhist Masters" by Kornfeld) or simply attend a retreat by a famous master wherein they dismiss another master or dismiss so solidly a certaint presentation in meditation that they are effectively dismissing a specific "master".

Daniel just puts it out there and lets people work with it collaboratively, quietly, or contestedly if that's where people are. I personally love that he makes this free (which is actually not free for him, but a cost). If a teaching is good I am the first person served when I and others practices it well and that is unrepayable. Thank you, Daniel. Good luck with this revision.  

And to Tom Tom's August point upthread, there's no defense needed. There are thousands of books, thousands of traditions. So be it. People can take and create what works for them. Funny cosmos.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/28/14 5:00 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
Chris J Macie:
JennyJ C, all--

I've proposed to Dan that, whenever he and I are done with a major part, as in "Part I: Fundamentals of Practice," then he publish it out online somewhere so the community can (1) start benefitting from new and clarified content, (2) comment on or query new/clarified content, and (3) alert us to typos or other surface errors. I would personally appreciate No. 3, because the level of editing I'm doing, especially when it is done on screen, always misses or introduces surface errors, but I'd rather hurry up to the next chapter/part than spend the time proofreading my own work for surface errors.


I'd be glad to join the list of those willing to particpate in (3).

And this work is fun, in that one gets close observing how the author is going about what he/she is trying to do. And equally so be it a book I expect to agree with, or one I read expecting to tear it apart.



Oops, I left an extra "t" in "benefiting." See?

Yes, the work is heady fun--it is as though, by teasing appart every single moment of structural-syntactical-lexical co-arising that is Daniel's thought-given-distinctive-voice, I in some sense receive this subsignal transmission of his accumulated knowledge running through my veins on some level more elemental and textural than the casual fast reader ever enjoys.

The shadow side, perhaps, is that instead of sounding now like the high-brow Henry James, whose works I studied in grad school for a decade,  I catch myself writing emails that sound like just like Daniel Ingram, together with a gazillion instances of  "things," "very," "thus," and "stuff"--his four favorite words in the universe, by far! emoticon

(We love you, Daniel!)

Actually, MCTB was somewhat surprisingly free of blantant typos, given the overall looseness of style and publication (but I did read it quickly). Daniel's penchant for super-long sentences with minimum punctuation could probably stand a good detailed going over, in case he's not changed his style. Even then, and also surprisingly, those sentences turned-out, more often than not, to be comprehensible. 

You know when Daniel is "on," how fantastically incisive his language is. We've all experienced this incisive language of his many times. My goal has been to make every sentence that incisive, by carving its essence out of what is not essential. Put less romantically, I've done much to tighten up his sentences by replacing many loose strings of qualifiers with direct, precise, concise word choice. To this end, I've also done away with many, many and-linked on-and-on sentences. Coordination is rhetorically weakening, after all, especially when more than two clauses are coordinated. So I've divided sentences, adding variety in terms of length, syntax, and emphasis. I've used end-emphasis to make the most important word in a sentence come last. Readers remember most what, in any unit of language, comes last. At the same time, I've taken extraordinary pains in trying not to dilute or change his voice. Therefore, you will still find the quirky admixture of highfalutin thus-predicated high-brow directives and sentences like this one: "Until you have access concentration, you ain't got squat!" emoticon Somehow, it works.

Another part of my agenda has been to supply, or query Daniel to supply, a noun after every demonstrative pronoun, particularly "this," to keep the reader moving forward through the content without having to pause or backtrack over a possibly unclear antecedent.

Structurally, I'm bundling together some formerly loose little related chapters and imposing two levels of subheading under each chapter title. This effort, in my view, really makes the superstructural logic pop to the foreground, which strengthens the sense of how one chapter builds on another, one section within a chapter builds on another, and one paragraph builds on another. Formerly, the structure was like a flat laundry list. Daniel has excellent paragraphing skills, so not much work has had to be done there. A benefit of adding in more headings has been that they elucidate the fact when sections are in a nonoptimal order; therefore, some sections have been resequenced.

I've also introduced vertical (bullet and numbered) lists when, say, meditation instructions are given. Vertical lists aid comprehension and retention, and the distinctive appearance makes flipping through and finding instructions easier.

I've urged Daniel to add a bibliography to the end matter, maybe even an annotated bibliography. I've started dumping all the text citations into a document for this purpose. Maybe a volunteer could work on this to save time to press? Even if not perfectly in Chicago style, having someone look up and dump in the facts of publication would save me and Daniel a lot of time, which would mean everyone gets the book sooner.


[EDITED for surface errors more times than ought to be necessary.]


RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/28/14 7:53 PM as a reply to Jenny.
What is it about listening to AC/DC cranked that makes going through all the line-edits so much easier? "Thunderstruck" pours at 200W from my JBL studio monitors, and page after page flies by...

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/28/14 9:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
To Daniel or Jenny

Is the PCE-perspective of sensory appreciation and attention to emotions intregrated into MTCB2? If so, is the messy history of Actualism included? Any spoilers on the scope of the exercises? Is the section on integration expanded or should we still defer to Jack? emoticon

Jenny's plug has me super excited. Thanks Daniel and Jenny!

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/28/14 10:29 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
To Daniel or Jenny

Is the PCE-perspective of sensory appreciation and attention to emotions intregrated into MTCB2? If so, is the messy history of Actualism included? Any spoilers on the scope of the exercises? Is the section on integration expanded or should we still defer to Jack? emoticon

Jenny's plug has me super excited. Thanks Daniel and Jenny!


I'm super excited too. I'm also very curious about the expanded version of the powers. I hope in the process of expanding and clarifying that the skeptical perspective is addressed. The paragraph in MCTB that talks about the powers actually being real is the only part I don't like or agree with - to use a phrase of Daniel's, the powers do not appear to stand up to reality testing, in the sense that they cannot be regularly relied on to affect reality in extraordinary ways specified ahead of time. For those of us with a more skeptical perspective, who would need a great deal of reliable repeatable evidence in order to believe in the powers, I hope that our questions and concerns are dealt with, and I really hope that MCTB 2 takes a position other than "the powers are definitely real."

While I'm saying what I hope is in MCTB2 I may as well link to this thread and my post in it about my ideal wish list for MCTB2.

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10/29/14 5:26 AM as a reply to Tee P Kay.
Tee P Kay:
Piers M:
BTW how could anyone get annoyed by the design of the original cover? It's just a book cover. ...There's more serious crap to get worked up in life about. But that's just me!
See: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_law_of_triviality]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_law_of_triviality

It's a branch of visual art.
 
You may have encountered in the millions of book covers in the bookstore? The language and messages inherent in the surfaces of things. The pervasive image environment that shapes and permeates our entire western culture. Unless you are blind, that is to say sightless, you are impacted and influenced buy this. How aware one might be of this is another matter and another topic. 
 
Some people have little conscious appreciation for design ... however, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are not shaped and influenced by the visual world and image environment of the culture as anybody else.  

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/29/14 11:48 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
What is it about listening to AC/DC cranked that makes going through all the line-edits so much easier? "Thunderstruck" pours at 200W from my JBL studio monitors, and page after page flies by...

I'm sure I wouldn't in a million years be able to tell you about such high-powered flights, for I spilled all that red digital ink from within the sonic diving bell of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and James Blake's Overgrownemoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/29/14 12:08 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
What is it about listening to AC/DC cranked that makes going through all the line-edits so much easier? "Thunderstruck" pours at 200W from my JBL studio monitors, and page after page flies by...
Dopamine? emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/29/14 3:37 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
To Daniel or Jenny

Is the PCE-perspective of sensory appreciation and attention to emotions intregrated into MTCB2? If so, is the messy history of Actualism included? Any spoilers on the scope of the exercises? Is the section on integration expanded or should we still defer to Jack? emoticon

Jenny's plug has me super excited. Thanks Daniel and Jenny!

I just did a quick automated search for terms associated with Actualism and found no results. The title of the already very lengthy book is still Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book. In other words, it is still working within the basic framework of the first edition--just expanding subjects already found in the first edition. Daniel does discuss early on the notion, in general, that there are multiple axes of development humans can explore.

I've not looked for or at the Integration chapter yet. That was my least favorite part of MCTB1. It seemed perfunctory, like someone coerced Daniel into writing it, and didn't seem to say much except that, hey, integration happens. 

Not sure what you mean by scope of the exercises, and I probably am not deep in enough to answer what I think you may be asking.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/29/14 4:11 PM as a reply to J C.
 I'm also very curious about the expanded version of the powers. I hope in the process of expanding and clarifying that the skeptical perspective is addressed. 
I think I can safely say it is "addressed." I think you'll need to read the edition yourself to assess whether it satisfies your own current view, which is perhaps what you are after?
The paragraph in MCTB that talks about the powers actually being real is the only part I don't like or agree with - to use a phrase of Daniel's, the powers do not appear to stand up to reality testing, in the sense that they cannot be regularly relied on to affect reality in extraordinary ways specified ahead of time.

I have MCTB1 here on my desk. Here is what I'm reading: 

Whether or not these are 'real' is a question that I am happy to avoid, though these experiences can be so extremely vivid that they can seem more 'real' that the 'real world.' Much more interesting than the question of what is real is the question of what is causal . . . what leads to what.

Philosophically, this passage sounds to me like pragmatism. I would expect pragmatism from MCTB2, too, with additional nuances and additional illustrations. Are you asking whether the author now advocates paradigmatic nonfluency? No, I don't think so. I think he is still a pragmatist.

I hope my answers are somewhat accurate and helpful without smelling of spoilage. I think that the new Powers part is extremely strong, beyond what I was expecting. In fact, I was so moved by it that I don't feel I should comment overtly on its structure, content, or conclusions. Summary would ruin your experience of reading it, just the way I ruined all of Shelley's poems by thoroughly quoting and discussing them. emoticon

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10/29/14 6:54 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:

The paragraph in MCTB that talks about the powers actually being real is the only part I don't like or agree with - to use a phrase of Daniel's, the powers do not appear to stand up to reality testing, in the sense that they cannot be regularly relied on to affect reality in extraordinary ways specified ahead of time.

I have MCTB1 here on my desk. Here is what I'm reading: 

Whether or not these are 'real' is a question that I am happy to avoid, though these experiences can be so extremely vivid that they can seem more 'real' that the 'real world.' Much more interesting than the question of what is real is the question of what is causal . . . what leads to what.

Philosophically, this passage sounds to me like pragmatism. I would expect pragmatism from MCTB2, too, with additional nuances and additional illustrations. Are you asking whether the author now advocates paradigmatic nonfluency? No, I don't think so. I think he is still a pragmatist.

I hope my answers are somewhat accurate and helpful without smelling of spoilage. I think that the new Powers part is extremely strong, beyond what I was expecting. In fact, I was so moved by it that I don't feel I should comment overtly on its structure, content, or conclusions. Summary would ruin your experience of reading it, just the way I ruined all of Shelley's poems by thoroughly quoting and discussing them. emoticon

Thanks for the answers... I'm excited to read it!

Just to clarify, the paragraph you quoted wasn't the paragraph I was talking about. I was talking about the following paragraph, which reads:

MCTB:

On the other hand, it does seem to be possible through powerful intent, strong concentration ability, appreciation of interdependence[,] and careful experimentation to manipulate what we might call "this world[,"] as well as those in it, in very unusual and profound ways. Yes, I am referring to such things as telekinesis, mind control, reading other people[']s thoughts, pyromancy, and all of that.


My question is not so much "does it satisfy my current view" and more "that's a really bold claim that contradicts a lot of things thought to be true, and it's presented without any reliable evidence - how are you sure that's not just a few coincidences? Can we hear more about how this works?"

I'm looking forward to reading the new edition and I hope it explains a great deal more.

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10/29/14 10:38 PM as a reply to J C.
Well, I just wrote a couple of paragraphs, but they were lost before published out. Basically, though, I was saying that he is a pragmatist, and so interested in immediate experience as function-enhancing practice, as opposed to a system of third-party verfication dependent on the belief that sense data equals truth-value. I don't see how supramundane experiences could be subject to that scientific mode of inquiry, although I'm a big fan, personally, of the beauty and utility of science. More to the point, pragmatists, philosophically, proceed on assumptions that enhance functionality or happiness.

So I do think it comes down to the paradigm you prefer, as opposed to the one he prefers. His is a paradigm that prefers adoption and setting aside of multiple paradigms, each in accordance with whether they enhance function as opposed to impair it within specific circumstances.

Since these practices are outside the mainstream, they can cause reactions and behaviors interpretable by many in society as mental illness. So they are taboo to a significant extent. Again, as pragmatist, MCTB defines mental illness in terms of functionality rather than the "nature" of what one experiences. 

I better save, and then I'll try to post a link to the BATGAP interview. Daniel talks at 1:40 about the powers.

Pragmatism.

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10/30/14 12:38 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
As far as the cover of your first book goes I like it. I am currently reading it and a guy at work walked past me when I had it setting on the table as I was about to start eating lunch and he saw it and comment that he liked the cover too.

any word on when the 2nd edition will be out?

with metta,
Bryan

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/30/14 1:28 AM as a reply to Bryan.
As to when this will be done: no idea. Editing and revision take time. The first edition took me about 5 years. It took a bit less than a year from the time I submitted the manuscript to Aeon until it was in print and available, if memory serves. However, digital chunks will be appearing shortly, as with the first version, which existed online for a long time before there were more than a few print copies in existence.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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10/30/14 4:55 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
Well, I just wrote a couple of paragraphs, but they were lost before published out. Basically, though, I was saying that[...]

Hi Jenny, I have observed that you often write something like this. Why don't you write it in another editor and then copy&paste it?That should solve your problem forever.

And thanks for doing the editing work. Very much appreciated. Maybe you can even convince Daniel to insert a few more rants here and there, I like those..

(And how can I escape the quote box once I've opened one???)


RE: Birthing MCTB2
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11/6/14 4:19 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Can I get a digital copy of MCTB(1) -- in a form where the text can be searched (DOC, PDF, RTF, etc)?

I purchased a softcover copy -- can scan / forward receipt if needed.

The purpose is research accessibility.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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11/6/14 4:27 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
MCTB1 is found many places online, one of which is here. Enjoy.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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11/6/14 6:22 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
MCTB1 is found many places online, one of which is here. Enjoy.
Thanks, Daniel.

Reading is easier from hardcopy (for the eyes, for bookmarking, going back and forth), but searching on words, phrases isn't possible there.

The occasion is wanting to see if the book mentioned the "MahaBoowa_PathToArahant" text that's come up in a thread recently. Reading his somewhat detailed depiction of what he went through in pathing involves dramatic 'pain & anguish' phases, that I hadn't previously noticed anywhere except in MCTB. (Not that it's not out there somewhere.)

cjm 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/7/14 1:47 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
Check out the Visuddhimagga, as well as the Vimuttimagga, as both have sections on the Knowleges of Suffering (Fear, Mistery, Digust, etc.), as well as Practical Insight Meditation by Mahasi Sayadaw, as well as A Path with Heart, by Jack Kornfield, in his section on Expanding and Dissolving the Self, where he talks about this. There are others, obviously, such as the classic Dark Night of the Soul, by St John of the Cross, hence the name, and many other less well-known works that detail such things also.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/7/14 2:10 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:
...:
(And how can I escape the quote box once I've opened one???)

One way is to switch your editor into "Source" mode -- rightmost button on the bottom row, just above the edit window. Once switched you can easily position the cursor outside (even above) the quote box.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/8/14 2:34 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
Hi,

Sorry if this has already been answered..  Is MCTB2 a new book, or is it an expansion of MCTB?

My copy of MCTB has fallen apart.  After a ton of use over the last four years, the binding has cracked apart and sections of pages are loose.  I want to buy a new copy, but if MCTB2 covers, and adds to, the same material then I'll wait and purchase it. 

Thanks,




hmm, can't post images. 

http://imgur.com/RSexfz4

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/8/14 7:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
What is it about listening to AC/DC cranked that makes going through all the line-edits so much easier? "Thunderstruck" pours at 200W from my JBL studio monitors, and page after page flies by...

I've been editing all day to the likes of this, so heads up!
Prolix! Prolix! Nothing a pair of scissors can't fix!

J

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/8/14 8:00 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
Some other possible sources:

1) In Richard's Journal (of the AFT), Richard mentions suffering existential angst after the dissolution of his state of "Absolute Freedom". This goes on for a few months.

2) Bernadette Roberts goes on about the various types of dark nights (mostly taken from the works of St. John of the Cross; "Dark Night" and "Spiritual Canticle"), as well as the experience of the dissolution of self. Highly recommend her: What is Self? (can be found on Kindle)

3) Chogyam Trungpa describes his concept of Vajra Hell, moreover he coined the phrase: "Best not to begin, once begun, better to finish." Although he claimed that it was a Buddhist saying.

4) Adi Da Samraj himself suffered from multiple nervous breakdowns towards the end of his life.

5) Jed McKenna once directly told me that he was depressed for a short period after his awakening. In his books he states that First Step often leads to hospitalization.

6) UGK describes severe physical pain at the realization of his "calamity".

7) Suzanne Segal suffered great psychological pain after her initial awakening.

8) The Zen tradition describes the concept of Zen devils (zen-tamma), practitioners of Zen who are contented with a small satori and thus procrastinate or stall.

9) The Buddha describes the concept of a "heedless stream-winner" in the Pali Canon, he is described as one who "dwells in pain" (re: Nandiya Sutta). Moreover he elucidates the painful vs. pleasant, and slow vs. rapid paths. See dukkha-patipada.

10) The tradition of Thelema describes the appearance of a "black brother", one who after an initial awakening, shy away from the process of insight, leading to friction and pain.

Stuff to look into, may not all be related to the classic dark night.

Peace.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/11/14 4:24 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram
Check out the Visuddhimagga, as well as the Vimuttimagga, as both have sections on the Knowleges of Suffering (Fear, Mistery, Digust, etc.), as well as Practical Insight Meditation by Mahasi Sayadaw, as well as A Path with Heart, by Jack Kornfield, in his section on Expanding and Dissolving the Self, where he talks about this. There are others, obviously, such as the classic Dark Night of the Soul, by St John of the Cross, hence the name, and many other less well-known works that detail such things also.

Thanks, and to J J for further, mostly modern, examples.

btw: I found MCTB has an index, quite a useful one. That, plus having digital version, makes looking things up (searching, researching) much easier. (I'd initially read a loaned copy, under time-pressure to return, overlooked the index.)

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/12/14 5:21 AM as a reply to Monsoon Frog.
re: Monsoon Frog (8/13/14 3:23 AM asa reply to Jenny)
"That chart is monumental and iconic. It's the Map of the Maps. Not only should it be included, it should be on a triple-page foldout and given a place of prime importance, as it's utility should not be underestimated…"

Make a poster (30"x24" or so) of it? Seriously. With the book or extra. (Extra with Daniel's autograph!) But seriously. Some might like to have it right there on the wall for random contemplation and overview.

At TMC (Tathagata Meditation Center, San Jose), there're a couple of posters on the wall in the dining room – schematic & graphic overviews of the 12 paticcasamuppada and the 37 whatnots. When asking about getting copies, it was said they were brought in by someone decades ago who got them in Malaysia; the name of the source at the bottom isn't found in google searches. The only avenue now would be trying to photograph them piecemeal and piecing together from partial printouts, which I plan to attempt.

re: Jenny (8/24/14 12:38 PM as a reply to Monsoon Frog. )
"That publishing outfit he uses is extremely bare bones and little more than a self-publishing conduit, from what I can tell. They even charge authors for editing! So I wouldn't count on foldouts and whatnot."

So perhaps a 'business opportunity' for some third party?

How about a fan-club, with dues, buttons, caps, secret hand-shake, bumper stickers, etc.? I've seen oval car stickers, like national ID plaques (e.g. (USA), (UK), (F), (D), etc.), with the word 'Metta'. Perfect! Metta is, afterall, a vihara – a place to dwell, to operate from. Think (AP), (DN), (SE),… Or bumper sticker: "Honk if you're in High Equanimity".

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/26/14 4:03 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hello everyone!

First post. I will try to keep it brief (for a first post).

About me (short presentation to know what kind of reader I am):
  • Experienced "spontaneous A&P events" around 1000-2000 times between ages 6 and 21.
  • Never read a book about meditation.
  • Read MCTB first in early 2013. Very surprised and grateful that it finally gave me a key to understand what my "events" were. Got scared by the descriptions of the DN and decided not to start meditation.
  • Read the book a second time around June 2014. Thought maybe I could make it, DN seemed not as scary.
  • Started meditating around end of July 2014. Quickly managed to get into jhanas 1-4. Then some wet vipassana, Dark Night, denial it was a Dark Night, a retreat. Currently sailing the seas of Equanimity and probably a bit of the Formless Realms.
What I would change about MCTB:
  • 1. You need to make it easier for a newbie to understand what exercises to start from. 

    I was very lucky to have a good friend coaching me and giving me exercises to get me started with meditation. And then another one. And then another three. Otherwise, I wouldn't have really known what to do with book!

    Yes, there are many examples of exercises one can do, very simple to very advanced, but they appear here and there a bit too randomly. The book is encyclopedic in nature: drawing painstakingly detailed maps while hiding exercises here and there in the text is a serious shortcoming IMHO. It doesn't make sense to read through 400 pages of MCTB twice, but then have to rely on 10 pages from Practical Insight Meditation for actual advice on how to get started.
  • 2. There is no number two. I don't care for the cover page, the font, or whether the word "arahant" appears on the cover page.
There are many ways to put (1) into practice, for example:
  • Make a separate chapter in the appendix with a list of exercises and maybe a progression; or
  • when an exercise is mentioned in a chapter, put it in a box with a small title, give the exercise a name (a short title for reference in the forum or discussion for example), then list all the exercises in a dedicated entry in the Table of Contents.
Last but not least, thank you so much for MCTB, Daniel. And thank you everyone in this forum, you are an invaluable source of diagnosis, advice, encouragement and procrastination.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/28/14 8:23 PM as a reply to neko.
What I would change about MCTB:
  • 1. You need to make it easier for a newbie to understand what exercises to start from. 

    I was very lucky to have a good friend coaching me and giving me exercises to get me started with meditation. And then another one. And then another three. Otherwise, I wouldn't have really known what to do with book!

    Yes, there are many examples of exercises one can do, very simple to very advanced, but they appear here and there a bit too randomly. The book is encyclopedic in nature: drawing painstakingly detailed maps while hiding exercises here and there in the text is a serious shortcoming IMHO.

Editor has addressed this issue already. emoticon In draft MCTB2, Daniel includes excerises right off the bat, Chapter 2. And I've coaxed them out of their formerly buried places in paragraphs about what Daniel himself did back in the day. Now they are given explicitly as instructions to you the reader, with vertically numbered steps and distinct headings for easier location. 

EDIT: Because the exercises all have distinct headings now, they will appear in the index by heading; therefore, I'm not sure a list in the front matter or yet another appendix is necessary, but can discuss with Daniel. The book is verging on 600 pages as is.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
11/29/14 8:34 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
Editor has addressed this issue already. emoticon In draft MCTB2, Daniel includes excerises right off the bat, Chapter 2. And I've coaxed them out of their formerly buried places in paragraphs about what Daniel himself did back in the day. Now they are given explicitly as instructions to you the reader, with vertically numbered steps and distinct headings for easier location. 

EDIT: Because the exercises all have distinct headings now, they will appear in the index by heading; therefore, I'm not sure a list in the front matter or yet another appendix is necessary, but can discuss with Daniel. The book is verging on 600 pages as is.

That is perfect! Thank you! emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 7:07 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Will MCTB2 still be using "no-self" as part of three marks? Since neither wikipedia, suttas or various other sources seem to use the terminology of "no-self". They all say "not-self" or "non-self" since what using "no-self" alludes to is speculation that the Buddha didnt saw beneficial. Cant be mastering the core teaching if one uses terminology that the dude didnt use =).

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 9:03 AM as a reply to Andreas.
Probably still will use no-self, as I still like it. Truly, while you could say that sensations are not-self just as equally well, you can also say that truly there is no stable, continuous, permanent, localizable self to be found either, so both work just fine from my point of view.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 1:34 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel,

I've asked about the no-self vs. not self issue before too. And someone just posted this by Titmuss, who takes issue with "no-self" and even with "enlightenment" (as opposed to "awakening"). I tend to prefer "awakening" myself only because it somehow sounds less pretentious to me than "enlightenment," but whatever, you know?

I've repeatedly encountered teachers who object to "no-self"--I think because until one has arahatship the issue is more one of not identitfying with sensatons as oneself or one's own. Only after a greater degree of awakening is there "no self" in the nondual sense. Right?

I'm swamped at work, by the way--performance reviews, behind on other books, and so on. I'm a third into proofreading and have a good number of small corrections to make--2 to 4 per page. And I'm adding more Level-3 headings for consistency. All to be expected since reading on hard copy is always revealing in ways that reading on screen is not.

Jenny

EDIT: Oh. Never mind. I see you saw that on the other thread. emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 2:02 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
Daniel,

I've asked about the no-self vs. not self issue before too. And someone just posted this by Titmuss, who takes issue with "no-self" and even with "enlightenment" (as opposed to "awakening"). I tend to prefer "awakening" myself only because it somehow sounds less pretentious to me than "enlightenment," but whatever, you know?

I've repeatedly encountered teachers who object to "no-self"--I think because until one has arahatship the issue is more one of not identitfying with sensatons as oneself or one's own. Only after a greater degree of awakening is there "no self" in the nondual sense. Right?

I'm swamped at work, by the way--performance reviews, behind on other books, and so on. I'm a third into proofreading and have a good number of small corrections to make--2 to 4 per page. And I'm adding more Level-3 headings for consistency. All to be expected since reading on hard copy is always revealing in ways that reading on screen is not.

Jenny

EDIT: Oh. Never mind. I see you saw that on the other thread. emoticon

I had brief non-dual no-self experiences before stream entry - it's what got me into this stuff in the first place. I'm personally a fan of the term no-self because to me, it clearly expresses what's at the heart of all this stuff, what it's really about.
The no-self idea is influenced by other direct pointing traditions like Neo-Advaita, so I'm guessing more purebred Theravada sources won't have as clear of an understanding of that point.

I'm curious if MCTB2 will discuss direct pointing traditions or include exercises relating to understanding no-self. Some examples might be:

* Douglas Harding's ("On Having No Head") techniques of looking at the edges of the visual field
* Pointing-out instructions (this is my favorite)
* Mahamudra meditations (see this book) asking things like "what shape is the mind? what color is the mind?"
* Self-inquiry techniques like Ramana's "Who am I?" / Kenneth Folk's second gear
* Liberation Unleashed (good article) - saying "There is no self! Just look!"

Edit: added experiments link

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 2:20 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny, in response to that article (fixed your link) there are definitely interpretations of what the Buddha said that do include being in the here and now, moment-to-moment practice, and techniques. See this discussion of sati and noting.

Edit: also this one on "mindfulness" and sati

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 3:08 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:

I had brief non-dual no-self experiences before stream entry - it's what got me into this stuff in the first place. I'm personally a fan of the term no-self because to me, it clearly expresses what's at the heart of all this stuff, what it's really about.
The no-self idea is influenced by other direct pointing traditions like Neo-Advaita, so I'm guessing more purebred Theravada sources won't have as clear of an understanding of that point.
In MCTB its used in the three marks of existence so referencing neo-adveita or other sources does not match the usage since the other sources dont have the three marks anyway since they arent buddhist. But I dont know if MCTB2 is less buddhism oriented than MCTB.
I feel that "no-self" is not to be used with the three marks since its incorrect. I find "not-self" is more inline with the hindu "not-that, not-that" practice. Forgotten what its called.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 3:10 PM as a reply to J C.
Thanks, JC. Will read through when I'm not nearly blind from proofreading. emoticon

Also, I'm going to buckle down and read the old text . . . again, as soon as I'm done here.

I, too, have had a couple of nondual experiences--one right after what I will call stream entry (though I had no review fruitions, so haven't passed all the "tests" for having that attainment), and one a week ago last Friday. I'm cool with no-self. Besides, we have bigger fish to fry, or at least more numerous teeny-tiny fish to fry.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 3:31 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
Thanks, JC. Will read through when I'm not nearly blind from proofreading. emoticon

Also, I'm going to buckle down and read the old text . . . again, as soon as I'm done here.

I, too, have had a couple of nondual experiences--one right after what I will call stream entry (though I had no review fruitions, so haven't passed all the "tests" for having that attainment), and one a week ago last Friday. I'm cool with no-self. Besides, we have bigger fish to fry, or at least more numerous teeny-tiny fish to fry.

I also haven't had review fruitions though I've had two "bleed through" fruitions (but only when high).
Did you make a resolution to reach enlightenment or second path as soon as possible immediately after stream entry? I did and I think that's why I may have skipped over review.

So nothing new in MCTB2 on direct pointing?

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 4:27 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Jenny:
Thanks, JC. Will read through when I'm not nearly blind from proofreading. emoticon

Also, I'm going to buckle down and read the old text . . . again, as soon as I'm done here.

I, too, have had a couple of nondual experiences--one right after what I will call stream entry (though I had no review fruitions, so haven't passed all the "tests" for having that attainment), and one a week ago last Friday. I'm cool with no-self. Besides, we have bigger fish to fry, or at least more numerous teeny-tiny fish to fry.

I also haven't had review fruitions though I've had two "bleed through" fruitions (but only when high).
Did you make a resolution to reach enlightenment or second path as soon as possible immediately after stream entry? I did and I think that's why I may have skipped over review.

So nothing new in MCTB2 on direct pointing?
JC,

I'm not seeing anything Advaita head-on. There is Mahamudra influence that is emphasized more than in MCTB, but not really the Great Pointing-Out part of that. 

Yes, I made a resolution to reach second path . . . repeatedly. My first and only formal resolution to reach SE was the night before .

My Review phase was over with quickly, and I was driven by and further into jhanas right after the event--hard jhana, arupa jhanas. But, alas, no Review cessations.

What the heck is a bleed-through fruition?

EDIT: There are meditation instructions pertaining to "no-self" as one of the Three Characteristics.

GENERAL COMMENT: I'm not sure why people would be expecting this book to be less "Buddhist" than MCTB1. It is still titled Mastering the Core Teachings of the BUDDHA, after all. In many respects, I find MCTB(1&2) to be much more traditionally "Buddhist" than many people on this forum seem to be. In that respect, if anything, there is "more" in the way of "Buddhist" conceptualization, doctrine, etc., not less. At least so far, and at least according to my reading so far. For instance, the teaching on the 12 Links of Dependant Origination will be making an appearance, added since MCTB1.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 4:35 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:

What the heck is a bleed-through fruition?
After stream entry and review, while on second path, sometimes a fruition from first path will "break through."

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 8:17 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Jenny:

What the heck is a bleed-through fruition?
After stream entry and review, while on second path, sometimes a fruition from first path will "break through."

Well, may I bleed and bleed,for I seem to be suffering from fruition envy. 

I wish I were kidding.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 8:27 PM as a reply to Jenny.
How in the world can there be so many errors still in this manuscript?

And how many of these superfluous instances of "really" and "actually" can I really actually delete before holidays are over? emoticon

Well, I guess that is why it ain't over till the fat hard copy sings.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 8:34 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
How in the world can there be so many errors still in this manuscript?

And how many of these superfluous instances of "really" and "actually" can I really actually delete before holidays are over? emoticon

Well, I guess that is why it ain't over till the fat hard copy sings.

"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 8:36 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
J C:
Jenny:

What the heck is a bleed-through fruition?
After stream entry and review, while on second path, sometimes a fruition from first path will "break through."

Well, may I bleed and bleed,for I seem to be suffering from fruition envy. 

I wish I were kidding.

I understand, because I'm pretty disappointed at not experiencing regular fruitions post-SE, and at only getting them twice while I "cheated" by getting high. Try getting high, I guess.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/16/14 10:58 PM as a reply to Jenny.
GENERAL COMMENT: I'm not sure why people would be expecting this book to be less "Buddhist" than MCTB1. It is still titled Mastering the Core Teachings of the BUDDHA, after all. In many respects, I find MCTB(1&2) to be much more traditionally "Buddhist" than many people on this forum seem to be. In that respect, if anything, there is "more" in the way of "Buddhist" conceptualization, doctrine, etc., not less. At least so far, and at least according to my reading so far. For instance, the teaching on the 12 Links of Dependant Origination will be making an appearance, added since MCTB1.
For one thing, it seems Daniel's influences are quite eclectic.

IMO, the pros and cons of using Buddhist concepts and terminology as the central framework should at least be worked out as an extension of the arhat-on-cover thing (dunno if this has been suggested before)

Pros:
-Attract those already familiar with Buddhism
-Don't have to reinvent the wheel
-Fondness, respect for the tradition
-No accusations of egomania or cult for trying to majorly rebrand
...

Cons:
-Attract fundamentalists
-Historical baggage
-Endless arguments about interpreting tradition
-Using terms from another language
-Invites judgment from fundamentalists
-Accusations of egomania or cult for controversial interpretations of existing tradition
...

I'm sure there are a bunch of good ones I missed, and it's not nearly as clear cut as my list makes it seem. Anyone else want to add to it? Daniel can obviously do whatever he wants with his book, but I think this should at least be talked about in detail (if it has before, then sorry).

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/17/14 6:43 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
RE: Birthing MCTB2
re: Droll Dedekind
(12/16/14 10:58 PM as a reply to Jenny. )
 
Positive, from where I sit, on all the "Pros:" you list.

The "Cons:," with the possible exception of that about foreign-language terms, most likely will arise no matter what.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/17/14 2:18 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll:

For one thing, it seems Daniel's influences are quite eclectic. 


Hi, Droll.

Well, I don't get an ecletic sense at all from reading the meat of this book, unless by "eclectic" you mean that the author draws from both Theravadin and Tibetan Mahamudra and Dzogchen Buddhist traditions in giving its advice and instructions. Daniel, as author of this book, seems quite traditionally "Buddhist" to me, even more traditional ("fundamentalist") than what generally goes under that appellation in the West. In fact, part of the revolutionary feel of the book comes precisely by way of this plea for a return to fundamentals as opposed to the pop psychologized, watered down verson of dharma and meditation that is standard fare in, say, the United States. Moreover, this book clearly evinces alignment with "Buddhist" doctrine, traditional dharma teachings, and even morality as both prescriptive code and painstakingly ethical mindset.

The introductory front matter of the book does speak of an idealized world where narrow terms such as "Buddhist" and "dharma" would give way to a culture in which the technology of awakening from misperception (duality) and the skillful means of living morally, as well as mystical traditions of all sorts, would mesh completely, invisibly, with Western culture. Under this view, children would, for example, be taught how to meditate in public elementary school. I don't see anything particularly nontraditional about this vision from a "Buddhist" perspective, although it is quite radical from a Western, American perspective.

IMO, the pros and cons of using Buddhist concepts and terminology as the central framework should at least be worked out as an extension of the arhat-on-cover thing (dunno if this has been suggested before)

Pros:
-Attract those already familiar with Buddhism
-Don't have to reinvent the wheel 
-Fondness, respect for the tradition
-No accusations of egomania or cult for trying to majorly rebrand
The book explicity advocates that one choose a tradition that is "time tested" or, if modern, somehow proven to have a track record of working. A good question, I guess, is what does Daniel mean by "working"? Doe he mean anything that seems to alleviate any perception of suffering? Or does he specifically, mainly, mean awakening from the misperception of duality so as to end all-pervasive (background, fundamental) suffering? The guts of the book align with the teachings of the historical Buddha and some of the later commentaries, and the overarching preoccupation seems to be use of insight meditation to awaken from misperception of experience (duality). 

I'm not sure what you mean by working out the central framework as an extention of the arhat-on-the-cover thing. Could you unpack what you mean a bit here? 

We worked hard on the new Twelve Links of Dependent Origination section, Daniel decided to pull it out of Part I and save it for a later part, because it is so difficult. I do have strong feelings that this section should come somewhere, specifically because it enabled me to understand exactly, in a doctrinal sense, how Daniel's criteria for arahatship align with tradition. To me, this goes a long way toward countering those who say he just "made up" his own definition of arahatship.

Naturally, the most controversial and perhaps untraditional part of the framework is rejection of the Ten Fetters model and the othe "package models" that contradict the separability of the Three Trainings (Morality, Concentration, Insight/Wisdom).
Cons:
-Attract fundamentalists
-Historical baggage
-Endless arguments about interpreting tradition
-Using terms from another language
-Invites judgment from fundamentalists
-Accusations of egomania or cult for controversial interpretations of existing tradition

Not sure how you are defining "fundamentalist." Ingram in MCTB2 is all about fundamentals.

"Historical baggage" is "helpful, time-tested signposting" to many.

Better, IMO, to have "endless arguments" about interpreting tradition than to have endless arguments because there isn't even a tradition to interpret (ie, no basis for discussion at all).

Using terms from another language--MCTB2 opts for English translations, with nuances explained where appropriate. Not a problem.

Again--who are these "fundamentalists"? Do you mean the package model folks? The pop psychologists? If they judge then . . .YAY?

As for interpretations of MCTB devotees' being a "cult," that's why I'm so happy to see Daniel align his criteria and instructions with the tradition in greater depth, or more obvious depth, than MCTB did. He does reject the package models, and those arguments seem both honest and unassailable to me, as anyone who looks around will have trouble finding some awakened person who we can all agree is an emotionally perfected saint. (Any nominess, anyone?) Again--separation of the Three Trainings is traditional, so Daniel is actually aligned with tradition when he rejects the package models, as he is when he presents Dependent Origination and how that informs arahatship. If the tradition contradicts itself, which it does, that is not the fault of MCTB2.

As for accusations of "egomania," by which I'm guessing you mean the authorial voice and some of the ways that voice goes out of its way to put on display the author's human flaws and less-than-sainthood--this is something that, as editor, I am trying very, very, very (three "verys," y'all) to mitigate, sometimes against the author's resistances, as I've said from the beginning. Althought we don't want Gen X Dharma Dan to sound like Jack, I feel strongly that his own personal flaws, purposeful harshness, and then oddly consequent self-critiques are strangely distracting in places, at best. It is simply conventional in books for the authorial voice to resonate with a kinder, more intelligent, more handsome, more humorous, more charming, more--yes--idealized whatever-is-wonderful aura. This is a key componement of the rhetorical strategy known as credibility. So, IMO, some of the obligitory harshness Daniel infuses needs to come out, or be diluted a bit, and "Daniel" needs to take a backseat to the messages that this book needs to convey to a broader population. What I'm saying in no way applies to his sometimes slightly abrasive, naughty humor, which is charming and stays in.

EDITED a gazillion times.
...

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/17/14 12:10 PM as a reply to Jenny.
I'm suddenly in the mood to write an Editor's Preface to this edition, LOL.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
Answer
12/17/14 3:43 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:

As for accusations of "egomania," by which I'm guessing you mean the authorial voice and some of the ways that voice goes out of its way to put on display the author's human flaws and less-than-sainthood--this is something that, as editor, I am trying very, very, very (three "verys," y'all) to mitigate, sometimes against the author's resistances, as I've said from the beginning. Althought we don't want Gen X Dharma Dan to sound like Jack, I feel strongly that his own personal flaws, purposeful harshness, and then oddly consequent self-critiques are strangely distracting in places, at best. It is simply conventional in books for the authorial voice to resonate with a kinder, more intelligent, more handsome, more humorous, more charming, more--yes--idealized whatever-is-wonderful aura. This is a key componement of the rhetorical strategy known as credibility. So, IMO, some of the obligitory harshness Daniel infuses needs to come out, or be diluted a bit, and "Daniel" needs to take a backseat to the messages that this book needs to convey to a broader population. What I'm saying in no way applies to his sometimes slightly abrasive, naughty humor, which is charming and stays in.

With every post of yours, I get more and more excited for MCTB2.

As I read the post you're responding to, when it mentions "egomania" it is specifically talking about use of the term "arahat" as applied to Daniel (an issue which has been debated ad nauseum and is discussed thoroughly in MCTB ), not the authorial voice.

I would just like to put in a plea to keep Daniel's voice, harshness, and personal flaws in. To me, that's what makes MCTB *more* credible than other dharma books. I find authorial voices that "resonate with a kinder, more intelligent, more handsome, more humorous, more charming, more--yes--idealized whatever-is-wonderful aura" to be a turn-off - that's not what I'm looking for or what I want to be. It comes off as fake and holier than thou. That's not what I want or what I'm looking for and that's not what I want to be.

I find it very reassuring, and yes, credible, to see Daniel's humanity, flaws, and arrogance come through. Getting rid of that would take out what makes MCTB very special. It's *more* believable this way, because it comes from a real person with flaws and emotions and intensity and an edge.

There are a thousand other dharma books written by people who come off as idealized, charming, handsome, boring, edgeless people. Please, leave this one with some edge to it!!

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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12/17/14 4:11 PM as a reply to J C.
JC:

I would just like to put in a plea to keep Daniel's voice, harshness, and personal flaws in. To me, that's what makes MCTB *more* credible than other dharma books. I find authorial voices that "resonate with a kinder, more intelligent, more handsome, more humorous, more charming, more--yes--idealized whatever-is-wonderful aura" to be a turn-off - that's not what I'm looking for or what I want to be. It comes off as fake and holier than thou. That's not what I want or what I'm looking for and that's not what I want to be. 

I find it very reassuring, and yes, credible, to see Daniel's humanity, flaws, and arrogance come through. Getting rid of that would take out what makes MCTB very special. It's *more* believable this way, because it comes from a real person with flaws and emotions and intensity and an edge.

There are a thousand other dharma books written by people who come off as idealized, charming, handsome, boring, edgeless people. Please, leave this one with some edge to it!!

Daniel's voice is very much intact, I assure you. It has not been my goal--I'll say it yet again--to make him sound like Jack or anyone other than himself. What I have done, though, is to try to make the book (so far) more consistently Daniel-when-Daniel-is-at-his-clearest-and-best on the Dharma, rather than on the subject of Daniel himself. By "best," I don't mean sanitized; I mean not off-topic. Much of the odd stuff I'm talking about, which occurs only here and there is (1) off-putting in tone and (2) off topic. Neither of these distractions will do the book or the beings who need its content any good. 

I'm basing what I'm talking about on having been in a dharma reading group of people interested in reading MCTB. People generally liked Part I, which is quite the "soft" version of "Daniel." In the front matter, and in the "rants," people seized on stupid little details of personality and ran with that, dismissed the book, and convinced others not to even try it. Daniel has stated that his goal is that "people get this stuff." Up thread, he's also said it would be best if someone wrote the nice version of this book and he got out of it altogether. Now, although I disagree with these last two assessments (that he should not be anywhere in the book), I cite these statements to get across to you (and everyone) that it is the author's own goal that this book reach a wider audience. For that to happen, some of what I'm talking about has to be addressed editiorially. 

I'm finishing proofing right now. You may want to just see what we've done before you worry overmuch about loss of voice. What I'm talking about are infrequent and small (but important) adjustments. Being harsh (toward the reader), self-focused, and off-topic (digressive) doesn't serve any book well, although some may revel in the rebelliousness purely for the sake of that flavor.

I suggest that you wait and see. I don't think anyone will be disappointed.emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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12/17/14 5:02 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
I would just like to put in a plea to keep Daniel's voice, harshness, and personal flaws in. To me, that's what makes MCTB *more* credible than other dharma books. I find authorial voices that "resonate with a kinder, more intelligent, more handsome, more humorous, more charming, more--yes--idealized whatever-is-wonderful aura" to be a turn-off - that's not what I'm looking for or what I want to be. It comes off as fake and holier than thou. That's not what I want or what I'm looking for and that's not what I want to be.

I find it very reassuring, and yes, credible, to see Daniel's humanity, flaws, and arrogance come through. Getting rid of that would take out what makes MCTB very special. It's *more* believable this way, because it comes from a real person with flaws and emotions and intensity and an edge.

There are a thousand other dharma books written by people who come off as idealized, charming, handsome, boring, edgeless people. Please, leave this one with some edge to it!!
Yes.

Jenny, I read your placations to J C's comment above and I still want to support this idea that in the stodgy world of multi-furcated does-not-connect-with-most-people Buddhism, Daniels voice is the thing and his lame parts are part of the magic, part of what drew me into 'the fold'.  I come from electrical engineer, pilot, non-emotional tough guy mindset and now I'm a freaking Dharma cheerleader.  If MCTB draws others like me in, that's a lot of extra market share to change the world.  I'm not reassured that a focus group is rubbed the wrong way by the parts that you think should be removed because focus group mentality is not first person singular me-and-the-ultimate mentality, which is what we all really are.  I realize my argument is jumbled here, but please find the best part of it (if there is one) and take care to balance the desire to be more mainstream/pleasant in tone with the need to be more real/useful in gut-level connection, uniqueness and application.

I'm sure there *is* good stuff editing can do, just please keep in mind that there are lots of reachable people that won't be coddled into reading this great work... don't loose them to shoot for others that are not really open to the path.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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12/17/14 11:01 PM as a reply to Jenny.
I don't know what Daniel's goals for the book are, and I don't know how MCTB2 has changed. And, I'm obviously not proposing that Daniel go back and rewrite his book according to my criticism. I just think some downsides should be acknowledged.

I'll try another approach that avoids the trap involved in arguing about what 'is' Buddhist. Let's try a functional/pragmatic definition of MCTB1/2. What will the book do? What effect will it have? What components will cause what, and what will changing those components cause?

Two of those components to consider is the the extent to which traditionally 'Buddhist' terms, maps, lists, etc are used and the degree of eclecticism. What will this part of the book cause? What are the cons? What are possible alternatives? What would the alternatives cause?

I listed a quick brainstorm of cons for the former above. Like I posted, it's not nearly as clear cut as my brainstorm, I was just throwing out ideas. Does no one else see any downsides at all for using traditionally 'Buddhist' terms, maps, lists, etc (to whatever extent that's the case for MCTB2) and using the word 'Buddha' in the title? No one else can think of even one downside? I have a hard time thinking of anything that has no downsides. So, I urge you to reconsider, play devil's advocate, etc.

I would call Daniel a Buddhist traditionalist in many senses, and also a Buddhist rebel/reformer in other senses. This being the case, I'm simply acknowledging that it's not strictly necessary to keep using and reintepreting thousand year old+ terms, maps, frameworks, etc. Of course, I don't know Daniel's goals, mission statement, ambitions, preferences, etc. There are plenty of 'dharma books' to come in the future; others will probably come along, take the best from Buddhism, and create something new.
because there isn't even a tradition to interpret (ie, no basis for discussion at all).
What about comparing your direct experience with others? Comparing your experience with all of the spiritual traditions in the world? That seems like a sound basis for discussion to me.

EDIT:
I can imagine the Buddha laughing at us for still using his frameworks, "Friends... didn't you hear about impermanence? I just came up with those lists on the fly... we didn't have the Internet" emoticon

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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12/17/14 10:54 PM as a reply to Matt.
I admit that I find it curious and a little weird that anyone would be focused on Dan's personality and scrutiny of his personality in this book rather than his message.

There are many kinds of people besides young men drawn to rebellious voicing forth that could use this content.

Again, remember that I'm only the editor here. Daniel approves of any change suggested, or it doesn't fly. His goals, his book. I have a 20-year career of significantly improving books, not ruining them. I'm sensitive to authors, but I'm also sensitive to the broad community of readers. I am more than a little confident that this one won't be the first book ruined rather than signicantly enhanced under my hand. 

Don't worry. Be happy. Part I is a beautiful thing. The rest will be, too. The parts I'm talking about streamlining and softening a bit are not the parts you seem to be thinking of. All will be well.

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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1/1/15 2:45 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Part I is a bit softer, definitely. I have allowed the voice to be cleaned up just a bit as I really want people to be able to get the basics. Still, it is also very much in the style expected, albeit with a bit less adverbial verbage. You will note that there is now a thread linking to it. I avoided linking to it here as I don't want any direct comments here, as this thread is already about 170 posts long and they will just get buried at the bottom of that, and there are about 4 more parts to go, so post there if you have comments.

Part II, on the other hand, is going to be left more as it is, which will come as a no surprise, given its thematic elements. Still, a bit of clean up will make it better, I feel. I don't think that anyone, on reading MCTB2, will come away with the impression that this is a typical, watered-down, sanitized dharma book. If you disagree when you have seen the whole thing, let me know and I will correct that error.

The issue of mixing the modern and the ancient, using old terms in what might seem like new ways, is actually really important to me, as I actually don't see them being used in new ways but clarified, dusted off and re-invigorated. Given the staggeringly huge amount of old stuff that is still very practically useful, not creating some bridge to that, not referencing that as the foundation upon which my practice and the practices of those who taught me is based, not paying homage to the geniuses who wrote it, the endless scribes who copied and preserved it for thousands of years, all that would seem a true disservice to everyone involved. In that vein, MCTB2 has many more direct textual references than MCTB1 built into the sections that draw on those and that trend will continue into the remaining parts.

Happy New Year,

Daniel

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1/10/16 7:56 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Would it be possible to add references and footnotes?  For example, I like the updated clarification on access concentration (AC), but if I was reading for the first time, without access to someone who could reliably explain it, I know I would have valued pointers to even more detailed instructions explaining how reach AC and when it was present.  IMHO there are stable sources both online (not least on DhO) and in book form that would supplement/complement the main text, for example in the case of AC (Brasington; Catherine, 2010 p.158ff; Tommy).

Brasington, L. (n.d.). Access Concentration - Instructions. Retrieved 10 January 2016, from http://www.leighb.com/accesscon.htm
Catherine, S. (2010). Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity
Tommy. (n.d.) Methods of Awakening - Access Concentration. Retrieved from http://methodsofawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/access-concentration-basics.html

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1/10/16 12:34 PM as a reply to Florian.
+1

I have some proofing edits which would be easiest in Google docs.

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1/11/16 7:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
...
I think that we need to create another book, the book that has just the techinical stuff and none of the rant, sort of like an MCTB2 for Dummies, or a Just The Facts in MCTB2, or whatever, that would simply be an adult textbook divoid of the cultural rants, the terminological trappings, and the divisive aspects. It would be borning as fuck, but then it might reach much more broadly than the current one does.

Anyone up for helping me with that project? Anyone really good at writing adult educational books? It could be in that big-paged style with lots of bullet points, little tables, notes and icons in the side columns, and little reviews at the end of the chapter with quizzes, etc.

.....
I can see that, the MCTB2 Practice Guide. Covering core practices and disciplines, things you're going to need to get good at, where it can go wrong, recognizing that it's gone wrong, how to fix, that sort of thing. 

RE: Birthing MCTB2
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1/26/16 3:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

The issue of mixing the modern and the ancient, using old terms in what might seem like new ways, is actually really important to me, as I actually don't see them being used in new ways but clarified, dusted off and re-invigorated. Given the staggeringly huge amount of old stuff that is still very practically useful, not creating some bridge to that, not referencing that as the foundation upon which my practice and the practices of those who taught me is based, not paying homage to the geniuses who wrote it, the endless scribes who copied and preserved it for thousands of years, all that would seem a true disservice to everyone involved. In that vein, MCTB2 has many more direct textual references than MCTB1 built into the sections that draw on those and that trend will continue into the remaining parts.

This post is now a year old, so I don't feel precisely the same as I did then and you may not either. Anyway, I now have the motivation to respond as I think I have a productive response.

Shinzen's Basic Mindfulness system is an illustrative example. Across several videos he voices his intention to create a generalized, secular contemplative framework using his own categories. Yet, he recycles the word "mindfulness" (good advertising) and isn't shy about talking about his experiences studying and practicing Buddhism in traditional contexts (among other contemplative traditions). And, clearly his categories are strongly related to traditional categories. I don't think Shinzen would discourage study of the old texts but clearly for his goals he thinks reusing old terms and frameworks isn't ideal.

I don't think anyone would say Shinzen is doing a disservice to the traditions. He's just paying homage in a different way, it seems to me. There seems to be a spectrum of ways to reinvent/build-off-of/respin/reinvigorate etc the older traditions. My original post was to say that it seems to me that the way you're doing so causes unnecessary arguments and puts many people off (see all the "this isn't real Buddhism" reviews etc).

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2/8/16 2:22 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Speaking of "a year old," is there any news on this?

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2/8/16 3:19 PM as a reply to Joe Dharma.
no