MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
You can find the first public draft of MCTB2  here https://daniel-ingram-c4x6.squarespace.com/config#/|/mctb2-draft in .pdf form.

Many thanks to Jenny for the extremely large amount of work that went into it.

We have just begun on the other parts.

If you have comments of value, post them here.

Happy New Year,

Daniel
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
INITIAL LINK DOESN'T WORK - USE THIS ONE

Corrected link!

Thank you so much for making it available! I am so excited! What a great New Year's present!

(Edited to make it more visible on Chris J Macie's suggestion)
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Chris J Macie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 863 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
J C:
Corrected link!

Thank you so much for making it available! I am so excited! What a great New Year's present!

Many thanks.

Missed that at first, until Andreas pointed it out.
Steve, modified 6 Years ago.

Projected Publication Date?

Posts: 24 Join Date: 12/31/14 Recent Posts
Is there a tentative publication date?
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Projected Publication Date?

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Nope. Just when we get it done. Have a good solid week of coming up soon, will do what I can then. Still, it is a long process, as it is a great hog of a book at this point.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Projected Publication Date?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Well, you better work on your memoir, because I'm sick and don't have anything more ready for you. 
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Projected Publication Date?

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Will do. Hope you feel better!
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Projected Publication Date?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Well, I called in sick and slept 2/3 of the day but then went to the coffee shop to work on MCTB2. I'm really loving the new jhana content, especially the notation system. Really helpful. 
somebodycat, modified 5 Years ago.

Dissatisfied with the suffering subsection

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
I really like the new version of part one and I think you have improved a lot over MCTB-1.

However, I find the discussion of suffering to be a bit sub-par with respect to the rest of the content in chapter 2. This is because you define suffering in terms of impermanence and no-self, rather than on its own right. At the very beginning:
our moment-to-moment experience will not ever permanently satisfy. It will never happen. Why? Because everything is impermanent
and then, shorty afterwards:
There is more to this truth, and it relates to the third characteristic, no-self. We are caught up in this bizarre habit of assuming that there is an “I.”
While this is a valid definition of suffering (since, as you say, understanding two characterstics means understanding the third), I feel that an explanation that did not rely on the other two characteristics would have been more elegant (and illuminating).

There is also the fact that you refer to the third characteristic before having defined it. It is not a tragedy, since the idea is that the book should be read several times, but I think that it would be an improvement to try and define suffering independently.

Also, when reading that chapter, I got the feeling that there is kind of a hierarchy between the three characteristics, kind of like:

1) Impermanence
1.a) No-self
1.a.i) Suffering


In which impermanence comes hierarchically before and above no-self too, since you provide more exercises for impermanence than you do for the other two characteristics, and you also refer to impermanence while discussing no-self (although not in such a "heavy" way as you do with suffering). Is this because impermanence is easier to observe for beginners than the other two? Maybe a line of comment on that might be useful.
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Jenny, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Dissatisfied with the suffering subsection

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Hi, Somebodycat,

Since the first version was posted, I made a number of structural revisions and additions that Daniel is currently reviewing.

One of these revisions was to move up to the end of Chapter 1 the section that defines the three types of suffering. I added in some examples of each. Hopefully these changes will help--I too realized that there was a cart-before-the-horse problem that I think was an artifact of our moving things around so many times that we lost track of the sequencing with regard to the topic of suffering.
 
Your other point about defining suffering as one of the Three Characteristics in its own right--I'll be interested to see what Daniel has to say about this, and I don't speak for him, but I will offer here a suspicion of my own about why he defines (all-pervasive) suffering only in terms of the other two characteristics.

You see, back in January, I sent Daniel an editorial-business email in which I asked him if we should change the name of the Three Characteristics chapter to something including "conditioned phenomena." He said no. He elaborated that the "unconditioned" or "ultimate reality" is simply the Three Characteristics minus the suffering one. In other words, suffering is not a "characteristic" of "ultimate" reality in the same way that the other two characteristics are. It is precisely by having complete insight into the other two, abiding, characteristics that the third one, suffering, ceases.

When he wrote me this, incidentally, his words effected this visceral opening in me that resulted within hours in a path completion. Because his words were so insightful to me as to trigger a path completion, I asked him to put something more explicit in Part I to explain to you all what he explained to me. 

The suffering that Wisdom training addresses is the all-pervasive, background, fundamental suffering due to duality. When impermanence and no-self/emptiness are seen clearly, meaning that we see how delusions of permanence and self cause suffering, and how suffering causes us to reinforce the other two, nondual awakening happens, meaning fundamental suffering completely ceases to be a characteristic at all. So ultimate reality is the Two Characterics, not Three.

Again, it will be interesting to see if, according to Daniel, I have approximated his intent, but that's my own take on the matter of why suffering is defined in MCTB2 only in terms of the other two characteristics.

Thanks your your feedback.

Jenny

Apparently path attainment is a fringe benefit of editing MCTB2; at last these English degrees pay off somehow. emoticon
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Dissatisfied with the suffering subsection

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Hello Jenny! (I have changed screen name in the meantime, I was somebodycat, now I should show as neko). This

Jenny:
He elaborated that the "unconditioned" or "ultimate reality" is simply the Three Characteristics minus the suffering one. In other words, suffering is not a "characteristic" of "ultimate" reality in the same way that the other two characteristics are. It is precisely by having complete insight into the other two, abiding, characteristics that the third one, suffering, ceases.


is actually super-useful to me. It clarifies something I was struggling to understand - or, rather, it seems that I was on the right track, but I thought I wasn't. Since MCTB is my main source of information on this subject, I suspect I might not be the only one who has doubts on this. I think some kind of explanation along these lines, even just this passage I quote above, should make it into MCTB-2.

Thanks for your fast answer and the help you are giving with MCTB-2!
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I should mention this is just Part I. Parts II-V to follow when we get them done.
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Eric M W, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 288 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
You can find the first public draft of MCTB2  here [url=]https://daniel-ingram-c4x6.squarespace.com/config#/|/mctb2-draft in .pdf form.

Many thanks to Jenny for the extremely large amount of work that went into it.

We have just begun on the other parts.

If you have comments of value, post them here.

Happy New Year,

Daniel

Freakin' yay! 

Thanks to you and Jenny for all your hard work on this, I eagerly await the public drafts of the other parts.
B B, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 69 Join Date: 9/14/12 Recent Posts
Just read the section on teachers. It looks really good, with lots of helpful points.

I found a few mechanical/stylistic errors if you're interested in those:

Pg. 81, paragraph 4:
"The same conversational pattern could be repeated just as easily for the other two trainings. For
instance, you could ask a meditation teacher, “I wish to learn how to enter the early concentration states,
so [ do ] you know how to do this?
” You could also ask, “I wish to attain to the first stage of enlightenment, so
do you know how to do this?
” If the teacher says “yes,” then the next question would be, “What are the
specific steps that will likely produce that result?” This straightforward approach to spirituality is
extremely pragmatic and empowering. Furthermore, it makes interactions with teachers more fruitful."

My preference would be to just break those into two sentences each: E.g. "I wish to learn how to enter the early concentration states. Do you know how to do this?"

Pg. 82:
"With regard to interaction’s [ interactions ] being fruitful, teachers can generally tell whether you are serious and
whether you have clearly thought through what you want. For instance, it takes about ten seconds of
someone’s asking a meditation teacher for advice on their emotional stuff for the teacher to realize that
this person is interested in working on conventional happiness, not in learning insight practices. Not all
teachers or communities will agree with that strict demarcation of psychological issues and insight
practices, although, hopefully, by the end of this book you will have some idea of why the point of view
that holds them separate may have value. Similarly, it takes a teacher few conversations with a student to
figure out whether the student is following the advice, so don’t try to fool the teacher. If you don’t like the
advice, it is better to tell the teacher so and why [perhaps a comma needed here?] so that the teacher can address the problem, either by
modifying the advice, or by further explaining why following the advice might be helpful."

Some questions on content:

Pg. 78:
"So far as I have been able to tell, none of these characteristics of teachers or their styles of
teaching is related in any way to their meditation ability or the depths of their understanding."

That's a potentially powerful sentence. But is it strictly true regarding Narcissistic Personality Disorder? My suspension of disbelief was stretched by the other characteristics, but that one specifically caused it to snap I think, which undermined the effect the sentence could have otherwise had.

Pg. 80:
"Call me a prude, a traditionalist, or whatever—and not to
presume to tell anyone else how to live his or her life—but I assert that, in general, it is best to avoid
having sex with your dharma teachers, and this goes doubly if it is done in secret or with someone who
generally claims celibacy. Following this simple advice will save you and them all sorts of trouble. There
are lots of people out there to have sex with. Those who claim that it will lead to special wisdom are just
selling something. You have been warned."

The tone seems off on this, like it's implying the student is the one at fault (perhaps even lacking common sense) when it could very well be the case that they were being carefully manipulated by a psychopath over a number of years, and were singled out in the first place due to their psychological vulnerability. At least that's what I took away from Saints and Psychopaths. Speaking of which, shouldn't there be a warning about the possibility of this in there, or is that covered elsewhere?

Also, what is the sentence "Those who claim that it will lead to special wisdom are just selling something" based on? Are you really qualified to dismiss such a highly esoteric practice?
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
B B:
Just read the section on teachers. It looks really good, with lots of helpful points.

I found a few mechanical/stylistic errors if you're interested in those:

Pg. 81, paragraph 4:
"The same conversational pattern could be repeated just as easily for the other two trainings. For
instance, you could ask a meditation teacher, “I wish to learn how to enter the early concentration states,
so [ do ] you know how to do this?
” You could also ask, “I wish to attain to the first stage of enlightenment, so
do you know how to do this?
” If the teacher says “yes,” then the next question would be, “What are the
specific steps that will likely produce that result?” This straightforward approach to spirituality is
extremely pragmatic and empowering. Furthermore, it makes interactions with teachers more fruitful."

My preference would be to just break those into two sentences each: E.g. "I wish to learn how to enter the early concentration states. Do you know how to do this?"

Pg. 82:
"With regard to interaction’s [ interactions ] being fruitful, teachers can generally tell whether you are serious and
whether you have clearly thought through what you want. For instance, it takes about ten seconds of
someone’s asking a meditation teacher for advice on their emotional stuff for the teacher to realize that
this person is interested in working on conventional happiness, not in learning insight practices. Not all
teachers or communities will agree with that strict demarcation of psychological issues and insight
practices, although, hopefully, by the end of this book you will have some idea of why the point of view
that holds them separate may have value. Similarly, it takes a teacher few conversations with a student to
figure out whether the student is following the advice, so don’t try to fool the teacher. If you don’t like the
advice, it is better to tell the teacher so and why [perhaps a comma needed here?] so that the teacher can address the problem, either by
modifying the advice, or by further explaining why following the advice might be helpful."

Some questions on content:

Pg. 78:
"So far as I have been able to tell, none of these characteristics of teachers or their styles of
teaching is related in any way to their meditation ability or the depths of their understanding."

That's a potentially powerful sentence. But is it strictly true regarding Narcissistic Personality Disorder? My suspension of disbelief was stretched by the other characteristics, but that one specifically caused it to snap I think, which undermined the effect the sentence could have otherwise had.

Pg. 80:
"Call me a prude, a traditionalist, or whatever—and not to
presume to tell anyone else how to live his or her life—but I assert that, in general, it is best to avoid
having sex with your dharma teachers, and this goes doubly if it is done in secret or with someone who
generally claims celibacy. Following this simple advice will save you and them all sorts of trouble. There
are lots of people out there to have sex with. Those who claim that it will lead to special wisdom are just
selling something. You have been warned."

The tone seems off on this, like it's implying the student is the one at fault (perhaps even lacking common sense) when it could very well be the case that they were being carefully manipulated by a psychopath over a number of years, and were singled out in the first place due to their psychological vulnerability. At least that's what I took away from Saints and Psychopaths. Speaking of which, shouldn't there be a warning about the possibility of this in there, or is that covered elsewhere?

Also, what is the sentence "Those who claim that it will lead to special wisdom are just selling something" based on? Are you really qualified to dismiss such a highly esoteric practice?
1. Will insert missing "do." Thanks. This is the type of correction I myself am mainly looking for at this point--egregious errors, outright typos and nonsense.

2. "Interaction's" is correct; "interaction" is incorrect. The gerund ("being") takes the old genitive case, which is essentially our modern possessive case. I don't have time to give a grammar lesson here, but that is the rule and the names of the parts of speech if you want to look them up.

3. I prefer the two independent clauses with "so," for at least three reasons, which I won't go into because that would take a while, which I don't have tonight (I'm on vacation and starting in on other parts of the book).

In the interest of saving my time for going on with the other parts, I ask people--at least with regard to copyediting matters--to identify clearly egregious outright errors at this point, mainly. I also would prefer that people who want to submit editorial corrections follow some specific logistical guidelines, which I'll post, just to keep things less time-consuming and confusing for me. I'm currently on vacation in DC, but I'll try to post some basic requests this evening.

As for your other thoughts, I of course defer to Daniel on those content questions; however, as a fellow reader I will suggest that, in general, it is rather obvious and is reinforced by hedging phrasing such as, "So far as I've been about to tell," that Daniel is giving his limited if qualified "professional" opinion on the basis of his own observations over the decades since he began his own quest for enlightenment. Because he is a dozen years out since being authorized and invited to teach by a lineaged teacher,  I think he is "qualified" to state his opinions as such without hedging any more than he has already. Whether individual readers wish to accept or reject those opinions is up to them, of course, but if these are Daniel's true, carefully considered views and readings on the teacher scenes, then I think we have to grant him his donnée

Page 80--I don't get at all that Daniel is blaming or faulting the student in the least. He is preventively pointing that tone at the prevalence of wolves in sheep's clothing. He is issuing a warning about said wolves in order to protect the student from gullibility and later regret. I actually really like the tone here, as well as the substance, especially the tone of the final sentence, "You've been warned." 
B B, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 69 Join Date: 9/14/12 Recent Posts
You know I considered "interactions'", but surely "interaction's" would require an "an" in front of it, no?
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
B B:
You know I considered "interactions'", but surely "interaction's" would require an "an" in front of it, no?


No. An interaction is one specific exchange, whereas "interaction" is an abstract noun that means the way two things act upon each other.

Compare:

I had an interaction with him.
Social interaction is good for you.

Your rephrasing "With regard to interactions being fruitful..." is also correct because the preposition "with regard to" is taking the noun phrase "interactions being fruitful" as its object. You're using "being" as a participle instead of a gerund. I prefer yours because we are talking about the interactions, not the being fruitful, it flows better, and it doesn't look like a typo at first glance.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
J C: 
Your rephrasing "With regard to interactions being fruitful..." is also correct because the preposition "with regard to" is taking the noun phrase "interactions being fruitful" as its object. You're using "being" as a participle instead of a gerund. I prefer yours because we are talking about the interactions, not the being fruitful, it flows better, and it doesn't look like a typo at first glance.

"Interactions being fruitful" is flat-out ungrammatical. The "being fruitful" is the functional object in the syntax, the noun. Which being fruitful? The interaction's being fruitful. The interaction's is a modifier of the gerund that follows, not itself the truncated object of a preposition. Moreover, "being" is not and cannot in any semantic sense that fits the context be a present participle here. If you were to write, "Interactions, being fruitful, are to be cultivated," then that semantic sense would make "being" a participle that replaces "which is" in the deep structure of the syntax. 

This rule is a matter of grammar, not "flow," "ear," or other subjective value-judgments. It is also specified and illustrated in the Chicago Manual of Style. If I were not out of town, I could cite the rule number. I can when I return home Saturday. This is a rather arcane usage rule, so the reason that it sounds wrong is that in speech people tend to be ungrammatical with regard to this rule. Our being wrong in speech doesn't give license to be wrong in writing, however.
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Jenny:
J C: 
Your rephrasing "With regard to interactions being fruitful..." is also correct because the preposition "with regard to" is taking the noun phrase "interactions being fruitful" as its object. You're using "being" as a participle instead of a gerund. I prefer yours because we are talking about the interactions, not the being fruitful, it flows better, and it doesn't look like a typo at first glance.

"Interactions being fruitful" is flat-out ungrammatical. The "being fruitful" is the functional object in the syntax, the noun. Which being fruitful? The interaction's being fruitful. The interaction's is a modifier of the gerund that follows, not itself the truncated object of a preposition. Moreover, "being" is not and cannot in any semantic sense that fits the context be a present participle here. If you were to write, "Interactions, being fruitful, are to be cultivated," then that semantic sense would make "being" a participle that replaces "which is" in the deep structure of the syntax. 

This rule is a matter of grammar, not "flow," "ear," or other subjective value-judgments. It is also specified and illustrated in the Chicago Manual of Style. If I were not out of town, I could cite the rule number. I can when I return home Saturday. This is a rather arcane usage rule, so the reason that it sounds wrong is that in speech people tend to be ungrammatical with regard to this rule. Our being wrong in speech doesn't give license to be wrong in writing, however.
If you mean the rule that you use possessives with gerunds, it's 7.26. You're right that "With regard to interaction's being fruitful" is perfectly grammatical.

However, you're incorrect that "With regard to interactions being fruitful" is ungrammatical. The word "being" can be a participle as well as a gerund. "Being fruitful" is a participial phrase that modifies the noun "interactions." Compare by replacing it with a different participial phrase:

With regard to cats walking slowly...

Semantically, "being X" as a participial phrase describes the way in which something is progressing. It's equivalent to "With regard to interactions progressing in a fruitful way..." A good example might be "with regard to kittens being playful," which would mean that we're talking about kittens in the act of being playful, as opposed to "with regard to playful kittens," which would mean we're only talking about kittens that have the quality of being playful.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
J C:
However, you're incorrect that "With regard to interactions being fruitful" is ungrammatical. The word "being" can be a participle as well as a gerund. "Being fruitful" is a participial phrase that modifies the noun "interactions." Compare by replacing it with a different participial phrase:

With regard to cats walking slowly... 


Hi, J C, the problem that you aren't recognizing is that grammatical units have two aspects: form and function. Semantics determine function, and in the sentence in question there is no logical sematics in context that would justify "being" as a participle; therefore, "interaction being fruitful" is ungrammatical in that sentence because it is illogical.

Here is the sentence in full:

With regard to interaction’s being fruitful, teachers can generally tell whether you are serious and whether you have clearly thought through what you want.

In terms of transformational grammar, if we take your advocated form and unpack the deep, untransformed structure of the sentence, then here is what we have:
With regard to interaction [that is] being fruitful, teachers can generally tell whether you are serious and whether you have clearly thought through what you want.
The problem here is semantics, logic. It makes no sense here to modify "interaction" to clarify that we are talking, in terms of a deep-structure restrictive relative clause, only about the kind of interactions that are already determined to be "fruitful." In context, the whole question  whether or not interactions are being fruitful is the point Daniel is discussing; therfore, "being" must function as a gerund, and gerunds always take the possessive. There is simply no justification for writing, "With regard to your [already defined to be] fruitful interactions," or similar transformation, because fruitfulness, "being fruitful," is precisely what is in question, what is at stake and under discussion. 

The example that you give with the cats is not a complete sentence; nor is it given in any context. So we would need those semantic completions to be able to determine proper grammatical function of "walking." Depending on the intended meaning, in other words, "walking" could be a participle or a gerund. It is absolutely untrue, however, that one can simply make it either one, regardless of context: One or the other is correct, but not both. You can't just pick one in accordance with one's mere "ear" preference. Ninety-nine percent of the time, when someone resorts to contentions of "ear," "flow," and "voice," to call for a "preference," it is because he or she actually doesn't understand the grammar, specifically the deep structure underneath the grammatical transformation manifest as the sentence. What you are missing here is the syntactical function dimension of grammar; you are considering only form. Semantics informs function.

If you wish to study this issue in more depth, here is a decent article.

In short, I hold that "intentions being fruitful" is ungrammatical; therefore, I will preserve the possessive "interactions'."



J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Jenny:
The problem here is semantics, logic. It makes no sense here to modify "interaction" to clarify that we are talking, in terms of a deep-structure restrictive relative clause, only about the kind of interactions that are already determined to be "fruitful." In context, the whole question whether or not interactions are being fruitful is the point Daniel is discussing; therfore, "being" must function as a gerund, and gerunds always take the possessive. There is simply no justification for writing, "With regard to your [already defined to be] fruitful interactions," or similar transformation, because fruitfulness, "being fruitful," is precisely what is in question, what is at stake and under discussion.

In short, I hold that "intentions being fruitful" is ungrammatical; therefore, I will preserve the possessive "interactions'."



Thanks for the clear explanation. I contemplated this for a while and realized you're right. So we really are talking about the being fruitful of interactions, not interactions that are currently progressing in a fruitful manner ("interactions being fruitful"), and therefore the genitive + gerund construction has the correct semantics.

Are you then switching to plural possessive (interactions') instead of your current singular possessive (interaction's)?
Derek Cameron, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 326 Join Date: 7/21/10 Recent Posts
Jenny:
In short, I hold that "intentions being fruitful" is ungrammatical; therefore, I will preserve the possessive "interactions'."


What's confusing people is that you advocate interactions' (plural) but the text actually says interaction's (singular).
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Psi, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 1093 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
You can find the first public draft of MCTB2  here [url=]https://daniel-ingram-c4x6.squarespace.com/config#/|/mctb2-draft in .pdf form.

Many thanks to Jenny for the extremely large amount of work that went into it.

We have just begun on the other parts.

If you have comments of value, post them here.

Happy New Year,

Daniel
You are truly brave hearted to write and interact with the judgemental and criticizing world.  

emoticon

Psi
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
YES!!!

Thanks to you both.  Finally something truly great to read again.  I can't wait.
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bernd the broter, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 380 Join Date: 6/13/12 Recent Posts
Just started reading it. A short remark:
Using sexual energy in ways that cancause harm.
I find the term "sexual energy" a bit strange. I think this is about sexual actions/conduct, but the word 'energy' hints at quite something else.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
I think this thread will be most helpful if you make explicit your goals, preferences, intent, etc for the book, for similar reasons to your A Clear Goal chapter of MCTB1. Looking to enlighten the whole world? Just suitable people? Looking to counterbalance what you see as concerning trends in Western Buddhism? Looking to help get people out of the DN? Interested in popularity/sales, not interested in popularity/sales? etc etc.

As far as style and grammar goes, lots of little phrases seem redundant, awkward, or out-of-place formal to me. Here are a few examples
A point that will be repeated again and again in this book is that success along one ofthese axes doesn’t necessarily guarantee success along the others.
...
Failure to do so causes continual problems and makes progress on either front more difficult rather than easier.
...
This renunciation that is associated with insight practices is a much more subtle, sophisticated form of renunciation than the other two. Consequently, it is not always easy initially to convince people that the option of being with reality is a good one.


Without knowing your goals and seeing the rest of the book the following content criticism may not be useful. Also, some parts I disagree with at this time probably motivated me to practice originally. Anyway, here are some of the parts I find dubious; I'll post more if you specify your goals, etc:

I think it's useful to separate the Three Trainings conceptually, but in practice there's almost never actual separation. At times it seems that you're subtly conflating conceptual distinction with experiential distinction.
It is therefore worthwhile to review the Three Trainings—in particular, the completely nonoverlapping scope of each training:
That bolded part seems very questionable to me. I don't think you've ever made it a secret that you aren't exactly an integration expert. You've mentioned compartmentalization in several places, even hyper-compartmentalization. I think this personal quirk could be showing here and in other places.

Another thing,
All the strange physical sensations, pains, pleasures, movements, visions, lights, perceptual distortions, energetic phenomena, muscle tensions, and the like, which may or may not show up as a result of spiritual practice, are al ljust raptures. Repeat—just raptures. Don’t get hung up on them or make stories out of them, as compelling as they can be, and don’t think that they are required: They aren’t. The sensations that make them up come, go, ain’t you, and don’t satisfy. Most are just byproducts of meditation and strong concentration. Many produce no wisdom. Some, of course, can provide deep insights into the truth of things, but don’t become stuck on them. Many of these lessons show up once and never again.
this seems to be ignoring the fact that several traditions do make stories about these raptures. This suggests to me that there's at least some pragmatic benefit in some of these stories. Perhaps you should make it clear that you personally don't see value (at this time) in making stories about raptures, and that it's not considered useful in your current presentation of meditation. I should add that I think we should be able to make stories about raptures, if they're useful, while also seeing the story-making clearly. You've posted in different places that you still get physio-energetic disturbances, so, I'd think you'd appreciate a working model for handling them, if it were useful. It seems to me that dismissing the importance of the raptures could be serving the purpose of downplaying your incompletion on that particular axis (that may be related to the other axes in ways that aren't immediately apparent).

Related to the above, MCTB1 doesn't, to my knowledge, address the glaring questions: Why does cycling happen? What's happening in the nervous system when we cycle? I think MCTB2 should at least acknowledge, if it's the case, that you don't know and it may be useful to figure it out, for science and practice.

I've been feeling more iconoclastic and contrarian than usual lately, so if this wasn't helpful or skillful, I'm sorry.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Droll:

As far as style and grammar goes, lots of little phrases seem redundant, awkward, or out-of-place formal to me. Here are a few examples: 

A point that will be repeated again and again in this book is that success along one ofthese axes doesn’t necessarily guarantee success along the others.
...
Failure to do so causes continual problems and makes progress on either front more difficult rather than easier. .
This renunciation that is associated with insight practices is a much more subtle, sophisticated form of renunciation than the other twoConsequently, it is not always easy initially to convince people that the option of being with reality is a good one.

I see the boldface, but I am not seeing what you are alluding to or any problems, incorrectness, redundancies, awkwardness, or excess formality. Please cite rules of grammar, usage, punctuation, or writing style to make your case, because I'm not seeing it. In the last box, one should also give both sides in a comparative, so we cannot say "much more" and not say more than what. That omission is an error I correct a lot in books and (formerly) in college papers. "Consequently" is a great transitional word, much better than "thus," which is Daniel's usual but is archaic while "consequently" is modern. I prefer the modern in all diction; however, I didn't go wiping out all the "thuses," even though it is a Daniel mannerism, because it seems an integral part of Daniel's voice to me and, um, no time to change everything. The editing was medium-to-heavy as is.

Again, since our time for reading through suggested corrections is very limited, I ask that people first research their corrections to make sure they are actually correct before posting them, and then cite the rule, style manual--because people's vague feelings that something is just not right isn't quite compelling enough for me to go through long lists of editorial contentions and revisiting the manuscript at that level of detail. Please stick, in general, to identifying outright errors and nonsense, not personally preferred writing style. Daniel and I have been over and over the writing style concerns and are happy with the writing style.

Thanks!
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Jenny, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Droll,

I've had a bit of a break to go back to all the comments on this thread more thoughtfully. I did end up tightening up those sentences to address your concerns.

Thanks for the help!

Jenny
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bernd the broter, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 380 Join Date: 6/13/12 Recent Posts
OK, 2 more comments so far:

1) "Until you got access concentration, you ain't got squat."
I'm still not sure what exactly you're trying to say here. My impression is that your statement is basically "starting insight meditation without having gained access concentration prior to that is futile". If this is the case, then I have a problem with that statement because I consider it wrong; in the tradition of Ajahn Tong they teach noting at the very beginning and it works.

2) "Far better than spending the time to reflect on death would be to perceive even one sensation arise and pass away."
This is not only a ridiculous exaggeration, but seems to needlessly denigrate the value of Maranasati/Reflection on death practice.
It is also somewhat contradictory because first you state that it is a practice of Morality, and then you claim that sensing impermanence is better. So this contradicts your stated goal of clearly separating the Three Trainings and not stating than Morality is unimportant.
I can see what you're trying to get at here, but at the moment this seems not right.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Regarding access concentration: notice that if you can actually note second after second you have it as I define it, so actually the sentence is accurate. Lots of people define access concentration various ways, that is how I use the term. It is what happens just before mind and body, which tends to happen just after people can actually note consistently.

Regarding noticing one sensation arising and passing away being of more value than most other things you could do, that is actually the Buddha that said that in the Suttas somewhere, I believe, and I will try to find the reference if I can.

Regarding intentions: the Foreword and Warning is not yet out, and it fills in a lot of what was asked for on that front. It will be finalized when the rest is finalized, as there are larger structural decisions about later parts that impact what goes there, so we can't finish it yet.

Regarding hyper-compartmentalization of the trainings, I assert that it is really common to have people screw things up due to lack of separation of them at least conceptually, and I could go on and on and on about specific examples of why I think that. While in practice, it is true that it is impossible to keep them entirely separate, but still, do you really want to be working on morality when in deep jhana, do you really want to be philosophizing when doing insight practices, do you really want to be trying to notice every little sensation arise and vanish extremely fast when you are trying to craft a skillful verbal response to some tense social situation? I highly doubt it.

Thanks for the typo corrections and stylistic questions: always helpful.

Daniel
Small Steps, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 247 Join Date: 2/12/14 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:

Regarding noticing one sensation arising and passing away being of more value than most other things you could do, that is actually the Buddha that said that in the Suttas somewhere, I believe, and I will try to find the reference if I can.


Dhammapada 113
Buddharakkhita - Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.

Thanissaro - And better than a hundred years lived without seeing arising & passing away, is one day lived seeing arising & passing away.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
@Jenny
I'm not a grammarian. I just like to read. The ones I pointed out may be just fine, but in theory I'd ask: is it more important that the style and grammar meet arbitrary rules or that it's clear and sounds good to the reader? I'd say the latter, but it's just one person's opinion, and you're the professional editor so I dunno. Again, I don't know if the ones I pointed out are actually awkward, redundant, or overly formal.

@Daniel
Regarding hyper-compartmentalization of the trainings, I assert that it is really common to have people screw things up due to lack of separation of them at least conceptually, and I could go on and on and on about specific examples of why I think that. While in practice, it is true that it is impossible to keep them entirely separate, but still, do you really want to be working on morality when in deep jhana, do you really want to be philosophizing when doing insight practices, do you really want to be trying to notice every little sensation arise and vanish extremely fast when you are trying to craft a skillful verbal response to some tense social situation? I highly doubt it.
Yes, in those extreme cases it's useful in practice to separate them. Off retreat they're virtually impossible to separate. And, I was being general with the compartmentalization comment. Do you suppose that your personal tendency to compartmentalize has had no influence on your presentation of meditation at all? And, any response to your dismissal of interpretations of raptures or addressing the cycling questions?

EDIT:
Oh, yeah I believe Alan Chapman was voicing something similar about compartmentalization a looong time ago here. You didn't respond.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Droll:

@Daniel:
Yes, in those extreme cases it's useful in practice to separate them [the three trainings]. Off retreat they're virtually impossible to separate. And, I was being general with the compartmentalization comment. Do you suppose that your personal tendency to compartmentalize has had no influence on your presentation of meditation at all?
When I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism, the monks and nuns and lay teachers at the center I frequented emphasized the discreteness of the Three Trainings: They warned against confusing the assumptions and possible outcomes of one for either of the others.

For starters, think of it this way: Morality concerns "relative reality," a phrase that is by no means original to Daniel Ingram but was used all the time by the Tibetan Buddhists in that center and beyond. By contrast, the Wisdom, or Insight, wing concerns "ultimate reality," or however you wish to refer to what is not constrained by the three characteristics of conditioned existence and is attained to by means of insight practice. These two domains are fundamentally separate, and, traditionally, many errors in training are due to confounding them. This is everywhere emphasized in traditional teachings that I encountered. 

Then there is samatha jhana (Concentration) practice as opposed to the other two. Again, it is traditionally acknowledged that tasting the unconditioned is a matter of insight practice, not samatha jhana per se. Many people mistakenly think they are practicing insight when they are, for example, mere "jhana junkies." Danger attends not understanding the difference between these two trainings.

As for Morality, or Virtue, as Chuck Kasmire was recently explaining on your other thread, this training is presented in the suttas as a foundation for taking up samatha practice, just as samatha is a foundation for insight practice. Morality reduces distraction by keeping "relative reality" simplified and comparatively free from conflict and regret. Concentration, at least access concentration, is necessary for insight practice.

So there is, at a high level, a stepwise progression from Training to Training, and they each support progress in the others, but it is absolutely crucial to keep their practice-level assumptions and what they can and can't do in themselves rigorously distinct.

When you say that "off retreat" they are virtually impossible to separate, I'm curious what some examples are from your POV. It does seem, and Daniel says as much above and in the book, that, yes, as one progresses in all three trainings, all the supersubtle ways that each training furthers the others becomes increasingly obvious; however, at the level of practice, it is nonetheless crucial to understand them as nonoverlapping.

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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Regarding noticing one sensation arising and passing away being of more value than most other things you could do, that is actually the Buddha that said that in the Suttas somewhere, I believe, and I will try to find the reference if I can.
perhaps from Satipattana refrain:

...Or mindfulness that "there is feeling" is established in oneself just for the sake of bare knowledge and for the sake of continuous mindfulness.  And one abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world.
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Jenny, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
FYI: I edited the "ain't got squat" out to address your concerns, which I think were valid.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
In the interest, which is a significant one, of conserving my time, energy, and clear-headedness for Part II--so we can get that out to you sooner than much, much later--I request that the community follow these guidelines if members wish to serve as editorial proofreaders:

1. If you are a professional editor, especially one familiar with Chicago style, or at least have some other special qualification (e.g., English instructor), then I'm especially interested in eliciting your help on the editorial read-behind. Please send me a private message so that I can tell you how to reach me outside this forum site.

2. Instead of listing one-off corrections, please compile all your corrections into one document, divided by chapter and cited by page number, paragraph number, or some such location convention so that I can easily find the passage in question. I would prefer that these be emailed to me so that I can print them out and  go through everyone's corrections per chapter in one shot.

3. I need a volunteer to do some preliminary work on the so-far pretty short bibiliography? Anyone? If no one knows Chicago style, then I can give some simple things to do via private message / email. Again, if someone can take this on, it will free up my time for moving more quickly into Part II and other parts. I will do the final style check on the bibliography.

4. Note that italics are used instead of quotation marks for terms being defined or referred to as terms (Chicago).

5. Note that Chicago mandates the serial comma, whereas Daniel's first draft seemed not to do so. I am betting I missed some needed serial commas, so please be on the lookout for those.

6. Please know that if you send me corrections, I will read them all and implement all those that are sound; however, I probably will not get back to everyone to say what decisions were made--simply because of lack of time.

Thanks in advance,

Jenny
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Chris J Macie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 863 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
Jenny

I, and at least one other participant, can't get the draft, sans some unknown / unspecified membership; and no help / explanation so far. Is access by some priveleged list? (Nothing against such, but it should be eplicit.)

1. If you are a professional editor, especially one familiar with Chicago style, or at least have some other special qualification (e.g., English instructor), then I'm especially interested in eliciting your help on the editorial read-behind. Please send me a private message so that I can tell you how to reach me outside this forum site.

3. I need a volunteer to do some preliminary work on the so-far pretty short bibiliography? Anyone? If no one knows Chicago style, then I can give some simple things to do via private message / email. Again, if someone can take this on, it will free up my time for moving more quickly into Part II and other parts. I will do the final style check on the bibliography.


I have experience, including academic though 50-60 years ago, in editing and book preperation, indexing, biblio, etc. 'Chicago style' I should brush up on the term, suspecting it's simply the official style we were trained in in graduate school in the area of bibliography?

Chris M
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Chris J Macie:
Jenny

I, and at least one other participant, can't get the draft, sans some unknown / unspecified membership; and no help / explanation so far. Is access by some priveleged list? (Nothing against such, but it should be eplicit.)

1. If you are a professional editor, especially one familiar with Chicago style, or at least have some other special qualification (e.g., English instructor), then I'm especially interested in eliciting your help on the editorial read-behind. Please send me a private message so that I can tell you how to reach me outside this forum site.

3. I need a volunteer to do some preliminary work on the so-far pretty short bibiliography? Anyone? If no one knows Chicago style, then I can give some simple things to do via private message / email. Again, if someone can take this on, it will free up my time for moving more quickly into Part II and other parts. I will do the final style check on the bibliography.


I have experience, including academic though 50-60 years ago, in editing and book preperation, indexing, biblio, etc. 'Chicago style' I should brush up on the term, suspecting it's simply the official style we were trained in in graduate school in the area of bibliography?

Chris M

Dear Chris,

You are hired! The pay is exactly this: The devas' and buddhas' smiling down on you for the rest of your lifetimes!

Email me at MCTB2_Editing@outlook.com so that I can add you to my contacts.

Jenny
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Chris J Macie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 863 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:

You can find the first public draft of MCTB2  here [url=]https://daniel-ingram-c4x6.squarespace.com/config#/|/mctb2-draft in .pdf form.


Clicking that link (in Firefox) brings up another copy of the whole thread. Copy-paste the link into browser URL gets to "SquareSpace" -- have to be some kind of member here?

I.e. how to get that PDF?
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bernd the broter, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 380 Join Date: 6/13/12 Recent Posts
Chapter of 7 factors:
1)
p.56: It says 'Christopher Titmus', but should be 'Titmuss'.

2)
p.57
A useful phrase from one of these traditions is “cultivating space-like meditative equipoise.”
Why not also tell me which tradition it is? (Been wondering about that since reading MCTB1 the first time)

3)
p.61
"to make bit of" obviously, an "a" is missing

4)
p.73
"keeling position" should that read 'kneeling' ?
Jack Hatfield, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 99 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
I need some help in getting this draft of MCTB2. Nothing happens when I click on
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5643565. Then I cut and paste the URL. It asks me to
sign in. When I do using my Google+ account, it says I don''t have permission. I have tried a lot of things including using differrent browsers. Help.

Jack
Andreas, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 216 Join Date: 11/4/14 Recent Posts
Check the second post in this thread.
John S, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 3 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
Loving it so far; a couple corrections:
-On page 9, "Salzburg" should be "Salzberg"
-There seems to be a period missing at the end of page 37
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Eric M W, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 288 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
I like many of the changes to the first edition-- more structure, greater clarity. Very nice.

However, I also can't help but noticing that there seem to be two different styles or tones. There is the raw, opinionated, perhaps somewhat rambling tone of MCTB1, but there is now a more gentle, straightforward, and formal tone that is unique to this draft. They do not always seem to blend together well. Has anyone else picked up on this? Jenny, I think you and I pondered it over email at one point.

Both styles have merit-- the raw tone of MCTB1 felt like Daniel was talking to the reader, and I found it very inspiring and refreshing because it wasn't a run-of-the-mill dharma book. On the other hand, the more formal tone of the draft is more accessible, and perhaps less likely to alienate readers who are unfamiliar with dharma terminology or unaccustomed to harsher tones.

I should quickly mention that I've read MCTB1 an embarrassing number of times, so it is very likely that I am simply not accustomed to this more formal style in the context of MCTB2. 

Thoughts?
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Eric M W:
I like many of the changes to the first edition-- more structure, greater clarity. Very nice.

However, I also can't help but noticing that there seem to be two different styles or tones. There is the raw, opinionated, perhaps somewhat rambling tone of MCTB1, but there is now a more gentle, straightforward, and formal tone that is unique to this draft. They do not always seem to blend together well. Has anyone else picked up on this? Jenny, I think you and I pondered it over email at one point.

Both styles have merit-- the raw tone of MCTB1 felt like Daniel was talking to the reader, and I found it very inspiring and refreshing because it wasn't a run-of-the-mill dharma book. On the other hand, the more formal tone of the draft is more accessible, and perhaps less likely to alienate readers who are unfamiliar with dharma terminology or unaccustomed to harsher tones.

I should quickly mention that I've read MCTB1 an embarrassing number of times, so it is very likely that I am simply not accustomed to this more formal style in the context of MCTB2. 

Thoughts?

Hi, Eric. Well, buddy, remember you asked for it--my "thoughts." emoticon

First, let me clarify for you and everyone here that my goal, and I believe accomplishment, in this substantive and copy edit was to introduce and enhance structure and sentence-level clarity while remaining otherwise "hands off" in with regard to Daniel's “voice.”

However, when an editor makes such enhancements by, say, clarifying all pronoun antecedents and shifting clauses and phrases around to achieve end-emphasis in most sentences (put the new or most important information in the sentence last), what results is an extent of clarity and rhetorical finish that simply doesn't exist when people talk in person, with their real voices, in real time.

So the tradeoff here is "greater clarity" and "accessibility," which you like, over against "rambling" and occasional vagueness that is part of almost any human being's speaking voice. Making every sentence clear and rhetorically optimal, making every paragraph optimally developed, and making sections and the sequence thereof optimally logical, progressive toward a point of final emphasis, and signposted with many headings, are necessarily going to make the prose seem more “formal” and less chatty, more writerly and less like spontaneous chatting.

My own strong feeling is that more clarity, accessibility, and even formality and less vagueness, wasted words, and chattiness or “rambling” is a sound tradeoff. This dharma book is not a sitcom script, after all; it is not even a work of fiction; it is a 600-page serious didactic tome. The explanations of the dharma and the meditative instructions need to be as clear, orderly, and efficient as possible. This clarity and even rhetorical aplomb trumps retention of the opposite merely for the sake of “personality,” “ear,” or “voice.” This tradeoff is an editorial standard nearly universal for didactic, technical, and scholarly works.

For example, MCTB1 frequently uses "this" without a clear antecedent. I put a noun after almost every "this" in this draft, which is one of my standard edits in books I edit professionally, because doing so guarantees that the reader will keep moving forward through the content without having to backtrack to clarify what the antecedent might be. It is never desirable to make the reader backtrack. Doing so is asking the reader to work too hard. Backtracking distracts from the build, the development, the smooth swim forward through the content. MCTB1 frequently made me, as a reader, have to backtrack to figure out what Daniel's "this" was referring to. Often enough, even after I backtracked, I couldn’t figure out the antecedent, so my comprehension was impeded, and reading comprehension is Job 1. Now, if Daniel were sitting in front of me and actually talking, as he did when I met with him in person recently, the actual inflection and tone of his voice when saying “this,” along with his body language, might well clarify what he was talking about. If not, I could ask him. But the task at hand is not a talk; it is a work of writing. Works of writing are expected to be more careful, more polished. They will seem more “formal” precisely to the extent that they are clearer.

ThIs example of clarifying antecedents is just one among many standard editorial changes I made to increase clarity and accessibility in this draft. When I read this draft, I myself still “hear” Daniel’s “voice” throughout, but it is his writerly voice, the kind that prevails on the DhO when his posts are at their most articulate and eloquent.

Now, about there being two different voices or writing styles in MCTB2, I’ll say this: This sense of split voice was true even of MCTB1. It was MCTB1 that you and I discussed by email as having this weird problem, if it is a problem. Specifically, Part I of MCTB1 was to me and the reading group I was in mainly “soft” and “traditional,” whereas Part II launched right into modern, guttural “ranting,” with a very different writing style, one frequently both “rambling” and harsh. In short, this double voice originates with MCTB1, not this edit.

Notice that Daniel added much in the way of “softer” and more receptive styles of practice and articulations of the dharma to this draft. These content additions are 100% improvements over MCTB1 in my view as a practitioner with a relatively receptive, Thai Forest style of practice and little ever in the way of Mahasi-style rapid noting; maybe someday I will post parts of an assessment of this improvement that I sent Daniel recently. It explains how much more interesting, balanced, nuanced, sophisticated, and koan-like these additions make this book. In my view, this edition is the work of a master who has come fully into his own in the role of mature teacher of the deep, deep dharma. It is plainly exquisite.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the split voice you are picking up on in this Part I consists mainly in the little places where Daniel “slums” it linguistically. For example, he says, “You ain’t got squat,” which sounds both informal and a little “harsh.” He says, “You’ve been warned,” similarly. In a passage we removed to another, later part, he wrote something like, “All you scientific materialists can now release your constricted orifi.” For the most part, however, in Part I, as in MCTB1, he is formally eloquent. In this edition, he is frequently even poetic. This odd split is actually characteristic of Daniel’s voice, and I’ve observed this fact many times even on the DhO. He asserts propositions and meditative instructions formally, even using “thus,” a word I never use myself for sounding archaic (I use “so”); and then he turns around and slums it and jokes around, sometimes quirkily and crudely. This range, or contradiction, is eccentric, but to me it somehow works in Daniel and adds to his eccentric charm.

Do let me know if this is what you mean—these places. Other places? Examples?

All this said, what to do with Part II is going to be an interesting challenge. I want to support keeping Daniel’s emotional honesty and passion about changing the culture of meditation. However, recognizing that Daniel asserts repeatedly in this book the importance of a positive attitude and optimism, I’m wondering if some of the old harsh criticisms could transmuted to a positive vision of what everyone should and can do instead—a manifesto. I’m extremely likely to consolidate and contract much of the loose, rambling, repetitious content. The tone integration with the soft Part I is going to be an interesting challenge.

Thank you for the feedback and the conversation, Eric. (And let’s catch up in general off-line.)

Jenny
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I was very aware that Jenny's formalism and cleaning up of things changes the voice feel somewhat and was very ok with that.

There were places where for whatever reason I wanted to keep it a bit more raw and so reversed changes she made. There were plenty of other places where I think that they helped a lot, and so those were left as edited.

It is worth knowing, for those who don't yet have a sense of what was involved, that this was an extensive line-by-line edit, and each change, each word, each bit of phrasing, as well as things about structure and order and the like, has been exhaustively considered to a degree that is way beyond what I imagined would happen, but I am very happy with the final product so far.

Plenty of times I considered wanting to make Part I something more accessible, more structurally clear, more straightforward than what it was, such that it will be less likely to piss people off and more likely to establish them in good practice. I have even at points entertained creating a dharma book that was in the adult-education dharma-for-dummies mode, with little boxes and summaries on the side in the margins and review points.

That said, Part II is what it is, and there are reasons the voice there is as it is, and I think that more of the rant part that some, but certainly not all, appreciate, and it will be nearly impossible to cut it out of Part III as well.

Still, MCTB alienates a lot of people that can benefit from it, much to my dismay, and I think that the direction we are going in is a good one. MCTB1 will still be there for those who prefer it, and I can understand why some would resonate better with aspects of it.

Am I getting older? Yep. Is that ok and natural. Definitely.

**************************

As to questions of cycling: I don't know why it happens. I am not going to make any leaps of hand-waving into pseudoscience when that pseudoscience and attempts at real science it still in its primitive infancy.

As to questions of compartmentalization of the trainings when off retreat: when off retreat and at home in deep jhana, should I be wondering about how I might have had some more productive interaction at work? When at work, should I be noticing the fine microphenomenology of my sensate reality and mind-states when trying to simultaneously diagnose and treat patients, or, similarly, should I be trying to attain to deep jhanas when running around caring for the sick and injured? Clearly not.

I do go on and on about the fact that many skills cross trainings, and have a whole section on that, in that mindfulness is necessary for all, concentration necessary for all, etc., but for the depths I care about, the ability to shut down the one and attend to the other ways of working is of great benefit. It is no that insights can't pop up when doing hard jhana, in fact they often do, and it is not that our ultimate insights can't have profound impacts on things like how we are aware of human interactions and our emotions and the like, as they can, but, when training, those who can't realize the profound benefits of being able to shift gears and stick to a line of development will be substantially impaired regarding true technical mastery in comparison with those who can.

Also, for thse who want substantial new content, substantially new emphases, and the like, it is unlikely to occur. You can ask, and perhaps these things will show up in MCTB3, but, for now, most of the content is likely relatively fixed and done in the sections we are presenting for editing and comment, as, given how long this has taken already, we have to get back to getting this out.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
As to questions of cycling: I don't know why it happens. I am not going to make any leaps of hand-waving into pseudoscience when that pseudoscience and attempts at real science it still in its primitive infancy.
Not sure what 'pseudoscience' has to do with anything. I don't see what's wrong with acknowledging the glaring question or venturing a hypothesis that's clearly a hypothesis.

Again, all of the examples you gave are extreme cases.
I do go on and on about the fact that many skills cross trainings, and have a whole section on that, in that mindfulness is necessary for all, concentration necessary for all, etc., but for the depths I care about, the ability to shut down the one and attend to the other ways of working is of great benefit. It is no that insights can't pop up when doing hard jhana, in fact they often do, and it is not that our ultimate insights can't have profound impacts on things like how we are aware of human interactions and our emotions and the like, as they can, but, when training, those who can't realize the profound benefits of being able to shift gears and stick to a line of development will be substantially impaired regarding true technical mastery in comparison with those who can.
I honestly don't have enough experience to confirm what you're saying, but I'd guess it's not the case for everyone. Here is, for example, Wilber's take
The general idea of integral practice is clear enough: Pick a basic practice from each category, or from as many categories as pragmatically possible, and practice them concurrently. The more categories that are engaged, the more effective they all become (because they are all intimately related as aspects of one's own being). Practice them diligently, and coordinate your integral efforts to unfold the various potentials of the bodymind—until the bodymind itself unfolds in Emptiness, and the entire journey is a misty memory from a trip that never even occurred.

Saying "practice one thing at a given time" is completely different from emphasizing the "completely nonoverlapping scope" of the Three Trainings. I don't think it's necessary to divide the entire book into the Three Trainings just to emphasize this point about practice. You could just as easily put an emphatic appeal to do one practice at a time, as I see you've made practice sections.

So far, to me, it seems that the book isn't making it clear that the Three Trainings are imaginary, arbitrary categories that may be useful for some people. As with all imaginary categories, thinking in terms of them has its downsides when they get inevitably reified, that should be acknowledged. Like, in this case, possibly encouraging compartmentalization.

I realize that people have been giving similar criticisms for years, so it's unlikely mine will have any effect. At least, some people could read this and be able to think most critically about the books.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

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I truly don't get why you call those "extreme examples". For me they are ordinary examples.

What would be non-extreme examples? How do you integrate those practices and actually do them justice at the same time?

Also, as to cycling, I haven't a clue and I don't know anyone who does. There is simply no science that I know on this at all. Try to find papers that even mention the cycling of those beyond stream entry: best of luck with that. It is off of the radar screen of nearly all scientists, as they know about neither cycling nor real awakening. The few that actually know something about this are mostly friends of mine to some degree, and I have never heard any of them mention anything about knowing anything about this. I will ask them the next time I talk with them, just in case I missed something.

Further, the great compliations on meditation, the Visuddhimagga and the Vimuttimagga, break them down this way. Buddhist Meditation in Theory and Practice, Path to Deliverance, A Path with Heart, and numerous other classics do also. I could go on and on in this regard. It is not only traditional, but it also makes great sense and correlates well with the sequence people also tend to learn these things in, as well as forming a logical progression of support from one to the next, like a pyramid.

What are the obvious downsides? Practically, I know of none. Give solid examples to illustrate your point.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

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By 'extreme examples' I meant limiting cases or special cases that do fit the Three Trainings cleanly, not extreme in the ordinary sense. Sorry, I thought that was clear.

I gave examples of ordinary cases that don't fit cleanly into one of the Three Trainings in my other post. Another example is the people that get SE without making time for any sitting, just daily mindfulness.

I didn't say that science has figured it out, just
I think MCTB2 should at least acknowledge, if it's the case, that you don't know and it may be useful to figure it out, for science and practice.
I also think it's strange if no other spiritual tradition mention cycling or theories about cycling. I don't know if they do or don't as I've not studied this enough to be certain. The only other cyclical teaching I know of is astrology, but to the best of my knowledge it's useless.

That some books have used those categories isn't convincing, to me at least. What about the other 99% of spiritual books that don't?

To be clear, I'm not saying any possible downsides are intended outcomes in MCTB; you probably even warn against these downsides explictly. Still, from a pragmatic perspective the effect that the book has is what matters. That you warn against shadowsides in your presentation doesn't mean that people will heed the warnings. Maybe, then, a different presentation with different shadowsides and warnings should be considered. I recall you saying in that BATGAP interview something like "Whenever you have a focus you'll be doing some things well, and almost intrinsically you'll be doing other things not so well". It's clear to me that the same applies for any constructs we're using to frame our practice.

While I'm criticizing I may as well throw this out there.. you use the phrase 'technical mastery' or 'technical meditation mastery' often. I think that phrasing is misleading because 'technical mastery' depends on the techniques you're using. Obviously, there are techniques that you haven't mastered.
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Chris J Macie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

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re: Droll Dedekind (1/4/15 12:54 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.)
" I also think it's strange if no other spiritual tradition mention cycling or theories about cycling."

In the Visudhimagga, after the early stages outlining how to develop basic skills like virtue and concentration, and listing out (actually matrices – lists of lists )the areas, groups of topics to work in (aggregates, elements & bases, faculties and truths, characteristics, 12 & 24 factored schemes of conditioning, etc.)…

After all that, then when going through the actual 'stages of insight' (the Vism, and tradition in general prior to the 20th century, doesn't use the terms 'insight' or 'vipassana' that much, but rather 'understanding', 'knowledge and vision', 'purification of '…) – in these stages one notes repeated admonishions to, though at sucessively new levels, go back and review, redo the detailed examinations of the basic groups of phenomena from more refined perspectives.

If one takes the Vism. as something to be practiced, followed in detail, step-by-step, this would be an immense amount of work. (From what I hear from Shaila Catherine, who's gone through a lot of advanced training with Pa Auk Sayadaw, some of the Burmese traditions actually approximate that approach. Apparently, it can be done.)

Others (advanced monastics, even in Burmese traditions) believe that the Vism represents an encyclopedic survey of the territory; that in practice one picks and chooses the practices that suit the individual, or according to what one's teacher uses.

After all that explanation –bottom-line: the Visudhimagga tradition certainly uses some sort of cyclic review technique.

Here's a quotation from Shaila Catherine's book (Wisdom Wide and Deep), near the end of the penultimate chapter '18. Release from the Bonds: Ten Fetters, Four Stages of Enlightenment, and Sixteen Knowledges':
["afteran authentic cessation experience"] "By contemplating the impermanent, suffering, and not-self characteristics again and again, the momentum of dispassion will gradually increase until it draws the mind through the same sequence of insight knowledges. Although they will begenerally the same insights into [3 characteristics], dispassion will deepen and the path moment purifies the mind at a deeper level."
"Similarly, when aspiring for thethird and fourth stages…, deeper insight [into 3 chars.] will heighten dispassion and propel the mind yet again through the sequence of knowledges,,,"

(Note Shaila's book represents Pa Auk Sayadaw's training and practice method, Visudhimagga based, and was reviewed in depth and okay-ed by the Sayadaw and his staff.)

Checking back in MCTB1 (PDF version, using Acrobat Reader 'find' function), Daniel uses the word 'cycle' frequently: (1) in connection with micro-cycles of sensing, and various levels of phases in particular practice techniques; (2) as synonym for 'stage' of practice, s/t for 'path'; and (3) under the last stage '16. Review' (pp.242ff) and in '29. BEYOND FIRST PATH (“WHAT NEXT?”)' (pp.285ff) in ways very much like what Shaila describes (above quotations). Not surprising, as both are presenting quintessential hardcore Theravadan Buddhism.

"What about the other 99% of spiritual books that don't?"
(If Droll Dedekind is here still referring to 'cycling') If he means 99% of all the books one can find on Amazon today, given the explosion of Western variants and the current raging 'mindfulness' fad, that may be correct. But 99% (well, at least some relatively high percentage) of all that is popularising, me-too stuff, or simple exploitation. On the other hand, if you take the texts, largely Asian, from prior to the 20th century, my hunch is that one would find some kind of 'cycling', re-iterative cultivation, to be relatively common.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 120 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
Perhaps there is a remote analogy in Old Testaments Jacobs ladder on which angels are both ascending and DESCENDING to and from heaven. 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_Ladder
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chris ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 52 Join Date: 5/31/12 Recent Posts
Chris J Macie:
re: Droll Dedekind (1/4/15 12:54 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.)
" I also think it's strange if no other spiritual tradition mention cycling or theories about cycling."

In the Visudhimagga, after the early stages outlining how to develop basic skills like virtue and concentration, and listing out (actually matrices – lists of lists )the areas, groups of topics to work in (aggregates, elements & bases, faculties and truths, characteristics, 12 & 24 factored schemes of conditioning, etc.)…

After all that, then when going through the actual 'stages of insight' (the Vism, and tradition in general prior to the 20th century, doesn't use the terms 'insight' or 'vipassana' that much, but rather 'understanding', 'knowledge and vision', 'purification of '…) – in these stages one notes repeated admonishions to, though at sucessively new levels, go back and review, redo the detailed examinations of the basic groups of phenomena from more refined perspectives.

If one takes the Vism. as something to be practiced, followed in detail, step-by-step, this would be an immense amount of work. (From what I hear from Shaila Catherine, who's gone through a lot of advanced training with Pa Auk Sayadaw, some of the Burmese traditions actually approximate that approach. Apparently, it can be done.)

Others (advanced monastics, even in Burmese traditions) believe that the Vism represents an encyclopedic survey of the territory; that in practice one picks and chooses the practices that suit the individual, or according to what one's teacher uses.

After all that explanation –bottom-line: the Visudhimagga tradition certainly uses some sort of cyclic review technique.

Here's a quotation from Shaila Catherine's book (Wisdom Wide and Deep), near the end of the penultimate chapter '18. Release from the Bonds: Ten Fetters, Four Stages of Enlightenment, and Sixteen Knowledges':
["afteran authentic cessation experience"] "By contemplating the impermanent, suffering, and not-self characteristics again and again, the momentum of dispassion will gradually increase until it draws the mind through the same sequence of insight knowledges. Although they will begenerally the same insights into [3 characteristics], dispassion will deepen and the path moment purifies the mind at a deeper level."
"Similarly, when aspiring for thethird and fourth stages…, deeper insight [into 3 chars.] will heighten dispassion and propel the mind yet again through the sequence of knowledges,,,"

(Note Shaila's book represents Pa Auk Sayadaw's training and practice method, Visudhimagga based, and was reviewed in depth and okay-ed by the Sayadaw and his staff.)

Checking back in MCTB1 (PDF version, using Acrobat Reader 'find' function), Daniel uses the word 'cycle' frequently: (1) in connection with micro-cycles of sensing, and various levels of phases in particular practice techniques; (2) as synonym for 'stage' of practice, s/t for 'path'; and (3) under the last stage '16. Review' (pp.242ff) and in '29. BEYOND FIRST PATH (“WHAT NEXT?”)' (pp.285ff) in ways very much like what Shaila describes (above quotations). Not surprising, as both are presenting quintessential hardcore Theravadan Buddhism.

"What about the other 99% of spiritual books that don't?"
(If Droll Dedekind is here still referring to 'cycling') If he means 99% of all the books one can find on Amazon today, given the explosion of Western variants and the current raging 'mindfulness' fad, that may be correct. But 99% (well, at least some relatively high percentage) of all that is popularising, me-too stuff, or simple exploitation. On the other hand, if you take the texts, largely Asian, from prior to the 20th century, my hunch is that one would find some kind of 'cycling', re-iterative cultivation, to be relatively common.



Great post Chris, thanks,

My impression from Shaila Catherine's book was that cycling is something that happens when a practitioner chooses to go back and review previous stages. My impression from reading Daniel's text is that cycling just happens to you.

So, my question is, does post-1st path cycling happen on its own, or does one have some control over it, can you suspend it for awhile? While out in the real world, at work for example, can one suspend the momentum of cycling while you have to do an important task?  Does the answer depend on the techniques or methods that a person used to get to First Path?
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
[quote=Droll Dedekind
I also think it's strange if no other spiritual tradition mention cycling or theories about cycling. I don't know if they do or don't as I've not studied this enough to be certain. The only other cyclical teaching I know of is astrology, but to the best of my knowledge it's useless.
]
To be fair, every spiritual tradition that I know of (or very nearly every one) expresses clearly that the path is marked by phases that are positive, negative and neutral. It seems like a common thing in that general sense and why wouldn't it be as we are all human? That doesn't mean it can't also be 'good in the beginning, in the middle and in the end'-- it's only gonna be a problem if we are secretly hoping for neverending perfect experiences. That said I agree the particular form that cycling through the nanas takes is pretty unique, as are the nanas themselves, and almost CERTAINLY partly fabricated by a particular approach. But despite this if you look into just multiple Buddhist versions of the path (Therevada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Chan) they all point to
1) the dangers of mistaking mind-blowing positive/nondual experiences for awakening
2) the fact that part of the path is about seeing suffering clearly, 'purification', which is not necessarily pleasent (lol)
3) the possibility of simply seeing the nature of things without having a strong reaction, without personalizing it as in 1 and 2, and the value of this way of experiencing things--
and they, short of their often way far future hypothetical-to-us endpoints, seem to point to the repetative nature of these possibilities, as something that practitioners will revisit on (generally) subtler and subtler levels.  At least, that generally has been my impression.

ETA: sorry, I can't get the menu bar to offer me the option to see the missing bits to fix the quotes on every browser, including the one I'm on now, so I can't fix it.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 120 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
Dear Daniel,

could you please insert an example sequence of what the typical noting should look like? I have been meditating for one year 2-6 hours a day but now I found that I did it wrong. I meditated with open eyes facing a wall. I counted breaths from one to ten, concentrating on the feeling of the breath in the nostrils and when a thought appeared I noticed it like: seeing, thinking, walking, seeing, skating, intending, seeing (in Czech of course emoticon) and immediately returned to counting and the feeling in the nostrils. But the thoughts didn't appeared fast, only say one in 5 seconds. Yesterday I started to try to name as fast as possible, I stopped counting the breaths, I note only "feeling" when returning to the feeling in the nostrils and I added all the possible signals that come from the body. So now the sequence looks like: feeling, feeling, feeling (feeling in the nostrils), pain, itching, urge, sick, seeing (real if the wall has visual patterns or imagined from past experiences), hearing (real or imagined or from past experiences), walking, walking, reading, thinking, pain, erection, pleasant, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling (feeling in the nostrils), cutting, shaving, feeling, feeling, feeling (feeling in the nostrils). Now I can note about three phenomena in a second. Do I do it now better? Thank you very much in advance for your kind answer.

Aleš
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Jenny:


So the tradeoff here is "greater clarity" and "accessibility," which you like, over against "rambling" and occasional vagueness that is part of almost any human being's speaking voice. Making every sentence clear and rhetorically optimal, making every paragraph optimally developed, and making sections and the sequence thereof optimally logical, progressive toward a point of final emphasis, and signposted with many headings, are necessarily going to make the prose seem more “formal” and less chatty, more writerly and less like spontaneous chatting.


It's amazing how much easier the new edition is to read! It just flows so nicely and it's very clear. Thank you, Jenny, you are doing a great job with my favorite book emoticon


My own strong feeling is that more clarity, accessibility, and even formality and less vagueness, wasted words, and chattiness or “rambling” is a sound tradeoff. This dharma book is not a sitcom script, after all; it is not even a work of fiction; it is a 600-page serious didactic tome. The explanations of the dharma and the meditative instructions need to be as clear, orderly, and efficient as possible. This clarity and even rhetorical aplomb trumps retention of the opposite merely for the sake of “personality,” “ear,” or “voice.” This tradeoff is an editorial standard nearly universal for didactic, technical, and scholarly works.


To me it still reads as informal because of the way Daniel puts himself into the content of the book. It's just better written and organized now. I don't just want the dharma, I want Daniel's take on things.


For example, MCTB1 frequently uses "this" without a clear antecedent. I put a noun after almost every "this" in this draft, which is one of my standard edits in books I edit professionally, because doing so guarantees that the reader will keep moving forward through the content without having to backtrack to clarify what the antecedent might be. It is never desirable to make the reader backtrack. Doing so is asking the reader to work too hard. Backtracking distracts from the build, the development, the smooth swim forward through the content. MCTB1 frequently made me, as a reader, have to backtrack to figure out what Daniel's "this" was referring to. Often enough, even after I backtracked, I couldn’t figure out the antecedent, so my comprehension was impeded, and reading comprehension is Job 1.


The one place in MCTB 2 where I had to backtrack, which stood out because it was the only such example, page 25 a third of the way down:

MCTB2:

What the sensations are doesn’t matter one bit from the perspective of noting practice. What is important is that you know what they are. The difference between these two perspectives should be clearly understood. This practice is directly related to koan practices, which ask “What is it?”



Notice that Daniel added much in the way of “softer” and more receptive styles of practice and articulations of the dharma to this draft. These content additions are 100% improvements over MCTB1 in my view as a practitioner with a relatively receptive, Thai Forest style of practice and little ever in the way of Mahasi-style rapid noting; maybe someday I will post parts of an assessment of this improvement that I sent Daniel recently. It explains how much more interesting, balanced, nuanced, sophisticated, and koan-like these additions make this book. In my view, this edition is the work of a master who has come fully into his own in the role of mature teacher of the deep, deep dharma. It is plainly exquisite.


I would love to read your assessment - please post it on here! It should be an introduction to the book!
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
J C:
I would love to read your assessment - please post it on here! It should be an introduction to the book!

I will get around to posting parts of what I wrote. Some books do contain an Editor's Preface or an Editor's Introduction. Something like that that perhaps could go in the back matter, even. Usually, a Foreword is written by some esteemed person in the field the author occupies, so that would not be I. That is usually a bit of endorsement for marketing. 

It is Daniel's book, so if I were to write a piece for, say, the front matter, it would address what had changed between MCTB1 and MCTB2, and I wouldn't want that to be so much about the nitty-gritty of editing as about a reading of substance. Obviously, it would have to be exceedingly pleasing to Daniel to be included.

One thing I have thought of since you said this, though, is how it may be interesting and productive to have the voice of a woman practitioner up front, considering how few women are here, and the endorsement of a "middle paths" practitioner, considering that Daniel stated to me that he aims most of the book at people "stuck in the middle paths." It is something to think about. I could always be working on this little essay in the background and then see what Daniel thinks of it. It would need to be relatively brief, since the book is already ridiculously long, and I'm not famous for brevity. We'll see. I'll post something soonish.

Thanks for the vote of confidence.
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Jenny, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Dear J C:

I seem to be unable to reach you through the private messaging here. Could you please email me at MCTB2_Editing@outlook.com?

Dear Everyone Else:

I've made all the corrections to Part 1 given to date. If you have others not mentioned on this thread, then I would be grateful, and I'm sure Daniel would, too, if you would email me your list. 

Thanks!
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Eric M W, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 288 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
Jenny,

It is true that the way we talk in person is very different from trying to communicate via writing. MCTB1 was unique, at least for me, because it felt like Daniel was sitting there talking with you (or perhaps preaching at you emoticon ). This is not common, especially for complex Dharma books, but it was a refreshing break from the flowery, generic language of most of the other Dharma books I had read at the time.

At the same time, there wasn't much structure, and I found myself constantly back-tracking or consulting the glossary. So, structure was lacking, and this resulted in a lack of overall clarity in some instances. It didn't help that I was totally unfamiliar with terms like jhana and nana. The greater structure and clarity of the new draft are very welcome.

As to specific examples of the split-voice, I will have to thumb back through to find some. I'm rather short on time these days. As I said previously, I've read MCTB1 a ridiculous number of times, so the new "formal" tone automatically stands out to me. I think I simply need to adjust to this new style, and I suspect someone who has never read MCTB1 would not even notice any kind of split voice in the same way that I'm noticing it.

And yes, we should catch up sometime emoticon
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Eric M W:
Jenny,

It is true that the way we talk in person is very different from trying to communicate via writing. MCTB1 was unique, at least for me, because it felt like Daniel was sitting there talking with you (or perhaps preaching at you emoticon ). This is not common, especially for complex Dharma books, but it was a refreshing break from the flowery, generic language of most of the other Dharma books I had read at the time.

At the same time, there wasn't much structure, and I found myself constantly back-tracking or consulting the glossary. So, structure was lacking, and this resulted in a lack of overall clarity in some instances. It didn't help that I was totally unfamiliar with terms like jhana and nana. The greater structure and clarity of the new draft are very welcome.

As to specific examples of the split-voice, I will have to thumb back through to find some. I'm rather short on time these days. As I said previously, I've read MCTB1 a ridiculous number of times, so the new "formal" tone automatically stands out to me. I think I simply need to adjust to this new style, and I suspect someone who has never read MCTB1 would not even notice any kind of split voice in the same way that I'm noticing it.

And yes, we should catch up sometime emoticon

Eric (and, for that matter, Daniel),

No change in "tone" between MCTB1 and MCTB2 Part 1 appears as a result of editing. Tone has a specific meaning in critiques of writing--namely, it is the mood and emotional charge that the author brings to bear on his consideration of the subject matter. I didn't change Daniel's mood toward his subject in Part I.

The only change in tone I see between MCTB1 and MCTB2 for Part 1 is what Daniel himself brought to the new draft--basically, some letting up on the technical-feeling and  relentless insistence on rapid noting and powering out because Western Buddhists are a bunch of lazy slobs, and a new, gentler-feeling attention to softer styles of practice, surrender, opening, receptivity, intuition, and so on. These are content and tonal changes that Daniel made before I ever encountered the draft. Just so you know.

I think what you are calling "tone" is in linguistics really more properly called register. Register has nothing to do with the emotional component of the author's voice; instead it simply has to do with how "formal" or how "informal" the language itself feels. A more formal register is going to happen anytime sentences are tightened up, word choices are made more specific than "things" and "stuff," and sequencing is optimized at all levels of writing, from chapter structure down to the order of clauses in each sentence.

As Dan indicates, all structure, right down to the structure of every individual sentence, received painstaking attention, with the goal of maximizing clarity, opitimizing opportunities for rhetorical end-emphasis, and reducing wordiness (ie, chattiness). These are unmitigated improvements in writing as writing. To the extent that writing is this carefully crafted for clarity, economy, and calculated emphasis, it will come off as formal. In other words, to the extent that the writing is effective, it won't be as if Daniel is sitting with you in the local college bar, shooting the shit with you. Sorry for that loss of intimacy, but clarity is Goal 1 here.

I think that Daniel and I are in agreement that getting his teaching of the dharma out there as accessibly as possible to as many people as practical trumps people's delight in his personality, as charming as that personality is, and I agree that it is indeed charming, by the way.

I'll come clean here and say that, in my many readings of MCTB1, I wished that Daniel would background his references to "I" a bit more, for many rhetorical reasons. I found the foregrounding of his chatty/rambling voice, together with his sometimes oddly suddenly emergent focus on his own personality, strengths, and faults, at best a distraction from his teaching of the subject matter. In editing, I've often enough deliberately depersonalized his presentations to reduce these distractions and put the dharma he's trying to teach, along with you the reader and practitioner, front and center. 

JC, I'm glad that you are enjoying the read. I will make a note to myself to eventually post select parts of a 9-page letter that I wrote Daniel about this edition, for he himself stated to me that parts of that letter should be posted out somewhere. It was occasioned by our ongoing work on his memoir-esque new addition to the book, the part that covers much of his personal practice history. Much of it had to do with the issue of people's (including my own) projections onto Daniel. I'll have to think about which parts to post and with what recontextualization, and I'd want to make sure first that Daniel would be cool with whatever I were to make public, for the letter was part of come recurrent private conversations between us on matters of projection, clinging to teachers, cults of personality, and the like. Someone should say what I said aloud here, though, I feel.

This just in--I've decided, in consultation with Daniel, to move the current Part II to later in the book, to be combined with the path models. So the next part you all will see will be a part consisting of the jhana states and the progress of insight--what would be the primary next concerns of one wanting to attain stream entry (first path). This arrangement will make the parts much less uneven in length (which is an editorial concern), more properly chronological with regard to what a practicitioner is likely to need to read first and then next and then next, and less likely to piss off sensitive readers before they at least have all the basic knowledge needed to land stream entry.

I've long felt, too, that the critique of contemporary Western meditation culture has a lot to do with the bullshit in the package models. So it makes sense, to me, that Daniel's critique of current culture and his critique of popular models of enlightenment would come together in the same book part. Makes perfect sense to me.

EDITED x 4 (5?)

Jenny
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Jenny, where do I send my list of errors in Part 1?
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: MCTB2 Part I First Public Draft

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
J C:
Jenny, where do I send my list of errors in Part 1?


J C and all others wanting to send me editorial corrections for input into the master,

Please send them to MCTB2_Editing@outlook.com.

Please wait till you have finished reading all of Part I, and then send me a compiled list of all corrections so that I don't have to track possibly hundreds of one-off inputs.

Thanks!

Jenny

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