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IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight

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Just found this recent series of dharma talks given at IMS, on the progress of insight. Covers all the territory upto High Equanimity, warning about the corruptions of insight, what you can expect in the Dark Night, etc.


Talk 1: Mind&Body, Cause&effect, 3Cs:
http://imsfr.dharmaseed.org/teacher/315/talk/29000/

Talk 2: A&P:
http://imsfr.dharmaseed.org/teacher/315/talk/29033/

Talk 3: Dukkha nanas and Equanimity:
http://imsfr.dharmaseed.org/teacher/315/talk/29093/


Does this mean that mushroom culture is getting less mushroomy?

(I would recommend listening to the talks at 1.4x speed, the teacher does have the mainstream American buddhist habit of speaking S-L-O-W)

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/11/15 9:22 PM as a reply to Oochdd.
Why is she whispering?

Because shes enlightened. 

:p

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/13/15 11:46 AM as a reply to Noah.
Yeah, the other thing that always perplexes me is that during Q&A sessions people also suddenly ask questions Very . Slowly . In . Order . To . Show . How . Very . Thoughful . And . Spiritual. They. Are. 

These same people at an academic conference would probably just rattle off their question.

But I did really enjoy this series of talks, actually got a couple of new perspectives on the nana's while listening to it. And I think it is very encouraging to see this now actually being taught at a mainstream retreat center. 

It is interesting though how she also lists what kind of instructions the teacher might give you in each of the stages (without actually talking about the maps), that come out sounding pretty generic and useless. 

And in the end she does weasel out by not talking about stream entry, and telling people that they could spend a lifetime just trying to get to high EQ and it would still be a life well spent. 

But overall, I'd highly recommend them to someone who is not yet familiar with the maps. Especially the kind of people that may not resonate with Daniel's particular style of argument. 

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/13/15 9:47 PM as a reply to Oochdd.
I agree with all the above.  Lol at the end of the talks.  She calls SE "secret sauce."

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/13/15 11:32 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
I agree with all the above.  Lol at the end of the talks.  She calls SE "secret sauce."

Haha, okay , I only listened to the last three minutes, and she really did say secret sauce!

Then the mind wonders, why is does there seem to be a holding back, the saying that one may only get to High EQ, and that if that is all , that is okay?  Then the mind wonders, why plant that seed in someone's mind?  What wisdom do they know, or not know , to teach this way?  Would this lead only to a self fulfilling prophecy of getting stuck at High EQ?  From what I have seen these mental seeds can be very beneficial and also very dangerous.

 Why not inform someone like this.

Hey, follow the practice, you will eventually get to High EQ, then let it all go, and the mind will find the stillpoint, then just stop, completely.  And keep trying that over and over.

And then the mind wonders, Was that what Jiddu Krishnamurti was always pointing to?  In other words, forget the rigamarole, just stop, cease, cessation.

But, then the mind wonders, it may be that we need a path to get to High Eq, to allow us to creep ever closer to the edge of time, and then , only then can we slip into the stillpoint where time stands still.

Saucy secrets , indeed.

Or maybe I am just being Psilly...

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/13/15 11:46 PM as a reply to Oochdd.
It is not that they don't ever talk about the stages of insight, just not often and not strongly enough for my tastes. Still, it is great that you posted the links. There is this prevailing culture at IMS that has existed for decades in which they largely consider this information taboo, but that is an average, and that curve has long tails and this definitely varies by teacher and meditator.

I remember being at Gaia House in 1999 on work retreat, and they had a tape library of dharma talks that staff could listen to of dharma talks, one of which was by Joseph Goldstein from the Dharma Seed tape library and it discussed the stages of insight. It was probably from the early 90's, I would guess, but can't remember the date on it. Someone had written "Boring!" on it, which I found really disappointing, as it wasn't that bad, though the stages of insight are a fascinating topic and his treatment was a bit bland, but part of that is just his mellow style. I suspect that an anti-stage perspective from a mix of Zen and Vedanta and the top teachers had permeated down to create a culture below that then reacted negatively when they did get all progressive and empowering and actually talk about these things, thus creating disincentive for them to do so again. Teaching meditation is a tough job, and the stages of insight as a set of concepts clearly can cause some  troubles, as noted here on the DhO.

Still, it is great to hear that more people are talking about this, particularly up there. I do long for the day when statements like that would be ridiculous, as OF COURSE they would be talking about what happens when people practice insight meditation!

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 9:59 AM as a reply to Oochdd.
Don't fall into the trap of declaring all Western Insight practices to be 'mushroom culture.' My experience having done four retreats in this tradition in the last two years is that you'll get a very mixed bag of practitioners, with some having virtually no meditation experience to those who have done multiple month long retreats, to former monastics. In such an environment, how do you design a public talk for the majority of the retreatants?

In my one-on-one interviews with the teachers, I've been able to go as deep into aspects of dharma as I wanted to. In the group interviews, yes, you'll hear aspects of mushroom dharma from the less experienced or those in some deep pain. I have a lot of compassion for them, and also for the teachers, who have to provide a skillful and safe path forward.

Every retreat I've attended has talked about the possibility of release, whether they reference the progress of insight map or another. It might not be couched in very explicit terms, but if you have any idea of how to practice, it's often all there. If you want someone to hold your hand and explain the map to you as if it's the first time you've heard of such a thing... I dunno, I personally found these talks by Winnie boring.

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 11:09 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Then the mind wonders, why is does there seem to be a holding back, the saying that one may only get to High EQ, and that if that is all , that is okay?  Then the mind wonders, why plant that seed in someone's mind?  What wisdom do they know, or not know , to teach this way?  Would this lead only to a self fulfilling prophecy of getting stuck at High EQ?  From what I have seen these mental seeds can be very beneficial and also very dangerous.
Is the teachings taught in a hold back information and keep one in the dark kind of way because, 

There should be a solid foundation built first?

The path is considered to be gradual, and therefore, why teach the whole of the path?

The whole of the path is not understood?

Cessation of Dukkha is not considered the end of the Path, or is not considered to be a reality to be seen here and now, and thus not offered from the get go?

Is it my own misunderstanding of the approach to teaching, as I am not a teacher, and have a predisosition to the withholding of information, and an aversion to people withholding secrets?

Is the withholding of information wise, unwise, or contingent upon various situations?

Are there teachers teaching who have not yet completed Path Stages, thus can not teach Path Stages, and if so, what exactly are they teaching?

Does this or not really revolve around the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha?  If this is not the Primary goal, then what is, exactly?  Does any human have time to not get to this core?  From what I see, time is running out , for all of humanity, globally, but that may just be me getting along in years.

Is it not time for humanity to push the envelope and get on past our instinctual reactionary nature?  Or do we need that next World War, again, to see what happens when the consciousness of humanity stagnates, or worse, regresses....

Just throwing thoughts out there, hoping one day all of the teachings and traditions would merge, but , it just seems that the reality is that the number of people practicing the Path, as a percentage of the World Population, is tiny, very , very tiny.

I wonder whether to post this or not, but keeping thoughts silent and to myself does not seem to help humanity much.  It is just that I mean absolutley no offense to any teachers out there in the world.  Especially Winnie, I am grateful that she has given of herself to provide such talks.  Thank you.

I just have some questions and ponderings.  This might stir investigation as to exactly what sparks the Path Moment phenomenon, what sets it up, maybe that would be beneficial?  But, isn't that information already provided? Isn't it just the doing that matters?

Maybe all we can do is set up the conditions, and be patiently impatient, i.e. Patience coupled with samvega, a patient sense of urgency.  Paradox after paradox ....   emoticon


Psi

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 12:20 PM as a reply to Psi.
Reply to Psi, 


I am so dumb, the IMS never really says it teaches the Buddha's teachings, just the meditations that are in the context of the Buddha's teachings, I was dumb in confusing the two different approaches.  One being the teaching of methods, and one being the teaching of cessation of suffering.
I really do not know why I can not seem to think before I post sometimes, duh... and doink.

emoticon

Sigh

Noting, learning, and moving on, emoticon

Psi

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 2:23 PM as a reply to Oochdd.
After practicing in Thailand for a while now, I feel that I hear the mentioning of the progress of insight very rarely as well (about as often as I heard about it at IMS or related centers).  The dark night stages are also rarely mentioned.  But then I sense that the teachers know about these stages very well (and would ask students to adjust their sitting or walking time accordingly), but they do not emphasize them because they might not want students to get attached to these stages.  At least, there would be no excuses for not trying to be present and trying your best at any moments.  Just a positive view from me about these mushroom culture at least.  Of course, I really appreciate knowing about these stages in detail, as it prevents me from freaking out.

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 7:05 PM as a reply to Julie V.
Julie V:
After practicing in Thailand for a while now, I feel that I hear the mentioning of the progress of insight very rarely as well (about as often as I heard about it at IMS or related centers).  The dark night stages are also rarely mentioned.  But then I sense that the teachers know about these stages very well (and would ask students to adjust their sitting or walking time accordingly), but they do not emphasize them because they might not want students to get attached to these stages.  At least, there would be no excuses for not trying to be present and trying your best at any moments.  Just a positive view from me about these mushroom culture at least.  Of course, I really appreciate knowing about these stages in detail, as it prevents me from freaking out.

It may be that Thai Buddhist lineages just don't seem to be as interested in the Abhdhamma / Commentarial / Visudhimagga type aspects of tradition. Not that Thai practitioners are not aware of them. I asked Than-Geoff (Thanisarro Bhikkhu) once about Visudhimagga, as I was reading it then; he said not to read that, but just read the Suttanta.

Burmese lineages, on the other hand, seem to specialize in those areas. A Western monk who lives mostly in Burma told me that monks in Burma have to memorize the Abhidhammamattha-Sangaha (a 12th-century distillation of Abdhidhamma ideas), and kids in ordinary schools similarly memorize, for instance, the list of 24 types of conditionality (as in the Patthana -- 7th book of Abhidhamma).

Maybe Thai 'forest' traditions have to get along with not using big libraries for scholastic pursuits? While Burmese Buddhism apparently higher degree of social-political integration goes along with a more formal, scholastic leaning? 

Just speculation -- but there are clearly some cultural differences, which probably shouldn't be interpreted off-hand as serious doctrinal conflict.

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 7:54 PM as a reply to Julie V.
@Julie V.: Nice to read you again! =]

@Chris J. Macie: I continue to appreciate your throughness and look forward to your posts 

@Psi <sigh>, funny guy =]

@ Richard Zen: When's the next book review?

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 9:03 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
It's true that Thai forest tradition does not emphasize these progress of insights and rarely talked about it.  However, I'm actually also talking about Mahasi style traditions being offered at the center I went to in Thailand.  Yes, they talked about how things can be wonderful and then seemed to get worse after that (without using the A&P and dark night language) just to warn the students, I suppose.  But usually no further details are being mentioned either.

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 9:05 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
@Julie V.: Nice to read you again! =]

@Chris J. Macie: I continue to appreciate your throughness and look forward to your posts 

@Psi <sigh>, funny guy =]

@ Richard Zen: When's the next book review?

You made me smile, Katy emoticon  I haven't been on this board for a while, and for some reasons, I was thinking of coming here yesterday and could not resist to post something.

RE: IMS Dharma Talks on the Progress of Insight
Answer
9/14/15 9:58 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Reply to Psi, 
Hi, uh, I'm back...

Okay, listened to the full last two talks.  Not bad really, more information could be gathered through reading about Progress of Insight than these talks , however. But not a bad presentation overall, kind of an introduction.

At the end Winnie does say that High Equanimity is the state in which the mind actually can open into the unconditioned.  But then says that is the secret sauce.

se·cret sauce noun
  1. a special feature or technique kept secret by an organization and regarded as being the chief factor in its success.

As a sidenote, I could not find that IMS teaches or talks about Samma Samadhi, or Samma Vayama , though they may.  

Their emphasis, from the website,  seemed to be Mindfulness and Loving Kindness.  Though that may just be on the surface.  

But, I will probably never know, as far as I can tell I would never be able to afford the place, or afford the time off to go there anyway, much less travel expenses.  And, probably would not go if the society could or would not expound upon the entire teaching of the Buddha, all in one Retreat, explaining the Path all the way to Nibbana.  What would be the point?  

That is what a Sutta does, point A to point B, simple, systematic, and laid out for all to see, open handed.

But, it all is what it is, all this will evolve and change anyway. emoticon

May all experience Nibbana

Psi