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Comments on Shinzen's tip

Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 7:50 AM
Comments on Shinzen Young's tip for

The Quickest Way to Enlightenment”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYSSf71Vo7w


Because this video presentation by Mr. Shinzen Young, a pioneering buddhist
meditation teacher, is misleading I wish on my part to clarify these
points made. I understand my point of view is critical but I wish
that with this presentation of mine I can shed light on this topic of
enlightenment of which there are so many misleading conceptions about
in general. If you are not familiar with who I am, please go to Open
Heart.fi-website and see the information about Guidance to Awakening
and my personal bio.

In the video Shinzen Young presents that ”strong determination
sitting” is the quickest way to enlightenment. Considering his long
history in rinzai-style of Japanese zen buddhism, it is not a
surprise that this is his recommendation. His practical advice for
attaining enlightenment is to sit in a determined fashion for lengthy
periods of time, all the way from an hour to several days in a row,
while enduring all the physical pain and mental-emotional confusion
that comes along by doing that. Having personally experienced and endured the hard Japanese rinzai zen
training and having made observations of many zen practitioners, I'd
say that there are a lot of useful and beneficial factors in the zen
method. However, by no means I consider this school, rinzai zen or
any Japanese zen sect for that matter, to be lucrative in it's
ability and means to help it's practitioners to become awakened or
enlightened, (not to even mention the levels of attainment after the
initial awakening, as enlightenment has been defined here). So my
personal opinion of Young's advice of determined sitting to be the
quickest way to get enlightened is that it is very misleading. Based
on my own experience and careful study of many years, I'd say that
this advice is not sound at all.

In an interview that Young gave to Buddhist Geeks in 2010, he was asked,

BG: ”How common is that dramatic, sudden experience of enlightenment as
compared to the more gradual and even integration?”

Shinzen Young: ”The sudden epiphany that’s described in many books about
enlightenment, that has definitely happened to some of my students.
And when it happens, it’s similar to what is described in those
books*. How frequently does it happen? I don’t know. I don’t keep
statistics, but maybe a couple times a year.”

*Visuddhimagga and Three Pillars of Zen were mentioned earlier in the interview

With all respect to Mr. Young, on a yearly basis, a couple of students
getting awakened, is by no means a number of significance. I assume a
”couple” would perhaps mean something like 2-4 in number. As
Young in his videos speaks a lot about awakening and enlightenment
and because surely rinzai zen is majorly concerned about it, I assume
that his work as a meditation and spiritual teacher strongly aims to
bring his students to this perceptional shift. However, if ”strong
determination sitting” is the ”quickest way to enlightenment”
and assumably then also the most or at least very proficient one, and
if even then the yearly result is merely a couple of cases, I find
this system of training to be quite questionable. However, if this
result seen from the point of view of the rinzai zen school or other
buddhist schools for that matter, is high and successful, then I wish
to congratulate them. However, the modern standard of seekers getting
enlightened and hence ending their search, is getting way higher
compared to the ancient and still contemporary old methods such as
the one offered by zen. Here I wish to remind that I find some
aspects of the Japanese zen also very uself and beneficial. Here my
criticism towards zen doesn't concern it's Korean and Chinese
versions as I do not have enough knowledge of them.

Let's see what the statistics of awakenings from other sources say. First,
according to the founder Elena Nezhinsky, LU during the first three
years when the forum has been active, produced a round number of 1000
awakenings (out of 1055 cases, 95%). This result was produced by many
guides working together. This number, almost one awakening per day
for three consecutive years, would not have been possible for one
teacher. A second example is an anonymous professional mind training
teacher of 20 years of active teaching history, whose yearly
awakening rate is roughly 9 cases (175 in total over 20 years).
Third, personally as a teacher offering guidance to awakening, I have
verified 40 awakenings in less than two years with a success rate of
95% (2 persons did not awaken during their first dialogue).

In all these three examples the method to directly point to the awakened
nature of man, beyond the self-centered thinking patterns, has been
skillful ways of theoretical analysis or ”mapping” and practical
instructions, given either live or through online dialogue, which
then has been empirically studied by the recipient with the outcome
of seeing through the illusory nature of the I-thought. In my
understanding the key here has been one-on-one exchange based on a
sufficient understanding of the problem itself, the biased sense of
me-ness, together with effective means to facilitate this theoretical
understanding.

In my analysis there are four main problems in various teachings trying
to help their followers awakened but not being able to do so. These
factors may be partial impediments, serious hindrances which waste
time and energy of the practitioner or complete obstacles which are
dead ends in the context of awakening:

1.theoretical explanation not being able to explain what awakening
exactly is and what the anatomy of it is,
2. method in general not having particular technology for awakening,
3. technique aimed at generating awakening in particular, being superficial or
only vaguely relevant and
4. no guidance from an awakened specialist available.

A seeker would do wise to find out how these questions are answered by
the concerned method and it's specialist. After all, these are
reasonable questions. Mind training should never be based on a
belief.

The reason why I am so concerned about people getting awakened without
having to engage in senseless method's carrying loads of cultural and
historical baggage, is obvious. Awakening is the first permanent
level of spiritual attainment which significantly transforms the
persons mind, view and way of life. The reason why I express this
critique of misleading views such as the one that ”strong
determination sitting” through pain and emotional despair being the
most effective and quickest way to get enlightened, is that in our
modern time the requirements of mind training/spiritual instructions
are getting way more clearer and effective than most of the ancient
traditions are able to offer. My critique towards ”strong
determination sitting” here looked in the context of sudden
awakening is based on over 11 000 hours of personal experience. That
was plenty of emotional and mental confusion, knee pain and all
that... but no awakening.

The interview conducted by Buddhist Geeks, shows that Young uses the term
”enlightenment” to refer to a dramatic shift that is sudden and
not gradual. If this is a complete definition of ”enlightenment”
by him, then it is not different than what I have briefly described
above and in the materials I have provided at the Open Heart-website
(freely available). On the other hand, if his definition of
”enlightenment” varies and could also include the meaning of
”gradual enlightenment”, which I term ”gradual purification of
the mind”, meaning a transformation of mind taking place during a
longer time span, even then ”strong determination sitting” would
not even nearly be my first choice as a method to pursue
enlightenment in the gradual sense with the outcome of karmic purity
in the body.

Here, it is relevant to say that Young's zen master of 30 years, the late
Joshu Sasaki Roshi, who passed at the age of 107 and practiced rinzai
zen that emphasizes ”strong determination sitting” for 94 (!)
years as a monastic monk, managed not to embody the mind of
enlightenment. He had a reputation of being a sexual abuser of his
female students. These abusing actions signify that such a person has
big blind spots in his subconscious mind and therefore his gradual
enlightenment process is not finished. Sex is not the issue here but
abusal is. This means that the recognition of the natural awareness
state is not thorough enough in his bodymind. It could also signify
that the person concerned is ethically perverted which in turn would
mean that there is something greatly wrong in his recognition of the
natural awareness state as the awake awareness is where the ethics
originate from. There are many similar or even identical abuse cases
of other zen, other buddhist, hindu or christian teachers around the
world and for sure, they will keep happening. In my opinion, The
title of a ”master” is too lightly used today, be it zen master
or something else. Anyway.

The point of this article is that there are much more efficient methods
of awakening and enlightenment (in both the meanings as mentioned
above) than the ”time tested” old ones where you just have to
”stick with it” or ”push through it”.

I wish nothing but the best to Mr. Shinzen Young in all possible ways.
This article and criticism in it, is directed to what teachings such
as his teach, not towards his person.

As a colleague teacher, a fellow human being and a spiritual
practitioner, I felt the need to express this criticism for the
actual benefit and liberation of all beings. I understand I have said
many things that might not be pleasant for people to hear. I hope you
have read this article with analytical mind yourself and find
something useful from it.

Thank you for reading,

Baba Kim Katami, 21.1.2016

Open Heart,
www.openheart.fi



RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 8:46 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
What an interesting coincidence, I was just watching a video on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cub6kY0oHZc) and this guy was talking about this Shinzen Young's fastest way to enlightenment, the "strong determination sitting". This idea inspired me to try something new: spend a whole day a week (sunday) meditating, in addition to 1-2 hours of meditation during the week. I came here to make a post, what people think about this idea and I've seen your post about this strong determination sitting.

By the way, I can't find on your website the personal bio, where is it?

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 9:12 AM as a reply to Michał G..
Hello Michal,

Strong determination sitting is not altogether useless. I just critisized this method in relation to enlightenment. By all means try out what you were going to do.

My bio is there, under Teachers-menu: http://www.en.openheart.fi/33

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 3:23 PM as a reply to Michał G..
Michał G.:
This idea inspired me to try something new: spend a whole day a week (sunday) meditating, in addition to 1-2 hours of meditation during the week. I came here to make a post, what people think about this idea


Michał, if you want a story of long sits to inspire you, I humbly recommend a book I edited, Freedom! by Ozay Rinpoche:

http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Escaping-prison-Ozay-Rinpoche-ebook/dp/B00ZL3TEZ8

Chapter 8, if I remember, describes four-hour sits every day while the author was in prison and the amazing results he derived from these long sits.

Having said that, I don't believe that meditation is the only way to flush stored pain out of your system. It can also be done by people with no meditation practice at all. Here is a passage I have quoted before from Jed McKenna:

"The main feature of both of these processes, spiritual awakening and physical stomach flu, is the violent and indiscriminate evacuation of all contents; physical in one case, mental and emotional in the other. By indiscriminate, I mean no picking and choosing; if it can go, it does go. Upheaval, downheaval, every-which-way-heaval. Emergency purge. Blow all tanks.

"Both processes come in waves, cycles of agony and relief. You finish one bout of violent retching and for a little while you feel okay, you think maybe it's over, but then it starts again. You feel that first twinge of not-rightness, that first subtle rumbling that tells you all is not well, and you know what you're in for and there's nothing you can do but ride it out. It builds from bad to worse to unbearable and then explodes out in all directions, leaving you weak and trembling, unable to endure any more. Then there's that brief period of respite and the glimmer of hope that it's finally over, then you feel that twinge and the whole cycle starts again. On and on it goes, wave after wave, far past the point where you're sure there's nothing else to come out. But there is.

"Didn't your other spiritual teachers explain about this part? The year or two of gut-wrenching expurgation?" 

--Jed McKenna, Spiritual Warfare.

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 5:53 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Hello Kim,

I would not consider Elena Nezhinsky's standard for awakening to be comparable to what Shinzen Young calls enlightenment.  Namely, I consider myself awakened by Elena's standards but not enlightened by Shinzen's.

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 7:39 PM as a reply to neko.
I cant remember where the quote is, but I remember Shinzen saying when he talks of 'enlightenment' he is referring to the 1st stage of awakening, stream entry, not arahat. And I think there are different degrees of awakening going on. The Culadasa quote below neko cited in another thread I think gets to the heart of it. The more unifed your mind, the more transformative the enlightenment occurence and then that conditions what you are selling/sharing with others. Sudden awakenings may occur for some who have unifed their minds to different degrees. Other yogis may require the hard slog and gradual progression to unify the mind. Others may have a sudden awakening but it doesnt do much 'damage' or partial 'damage' (Damage in a positive sense). Others may have a gradual progression but at the moment of awakening, it may be partial due to a partially unifed mind.  

I think the brilliant quote below explains a lot of what we see with all these different viewpoints. Teachers may be speaking from their own experience of their own awakening which may have been partially, or fully or not at all influenced by a unifed mind. And each will have a different path to these possibilites concerning  unifying mind pre-awakening. So we have all these disagreements and "My enlightenment is better than yours" stances because of the many possible outcomes. "My path is quicker and more efficient  than yours!". But what is the end result one is spruiking? Is it one born from a partially (infinite degrees of partial?), not much at all, or completely unifed mind when the awakening moment occurs? How transformed is the mind for what you are trying to sell as a 'better' path or approach or technique or this or that? How unifed are the minds of the LU folk when they have their insights? How unifed are the minds of the pragmatic dharma folk doing the noting technique at the moment of cessation? I've read many varying degrees of transformation post "awakening" over the past 6 years here which makes me fully stand behind Culadasa's view below. We are seeing so many differences. 

"My path is better than your path" is just a symptom of this.

Edited a few times.




"The Mind-System model and unification process help us understand one of the most profound Insight experiences, the cessation event. A cessation event is where unconscious sub-minds remain tuned in and receptive to the contents of consciousness, while at the same time, none of them project any content into consciousness. Then, consciousness ceases—completely. During that period, at the level of consciousness there is a complete cessation of mental fabrications of any kind—of the illusory, mind-generated world that otherwise dominates every conscious moment. This, of course, also entails a complete cessation of craving, intention, and suffering. The only information that tuned in sub-minds receive during this event is the fact of a total absence.

What makes this the most powerful of all Insight experiences is what happens in the last few moments of consciousness leading up to the cessation. First, an object arises in consciousness that would normally produce craving. It can be almost anything. 
However, what happens next is quite unusual: the mind doesn’t respond with the habitual craving and clinging. Rather, it fully understands the object from the perspective of Insight: as a mental construct, completely “empty” of any real substance, impermanent, and a cause of suffering. This profound realization leads to the next and final moment of complete equanimity, in which the shared intention of all the unified sub-minds is to not respond. Because nothing is projected into consciousness, the cessation event arises. With cessation, the tuned-in sub-minds simultaneously realize that everything appearing in consciousness is simply the product of their own activity. In other words, they realize that the input they’re accustomed to receiving is simply a result of their own fabricating activities. This has a dramatic effect. The sub-minds of the discriminating mind have the Insight that everything ever known, including the Self, was nothing but a fabrication of the mind itself. The sub-minds of the sensory mind have a slightly different Insight: the only kind of information that ever appears in the mind that isn’t purely mind-generated is the input coming to them directly from the sense organs.

If the sub-minds are receptive but there’s nothing to receive, can a cessation event be consciously recalled afterward? It all depends on the nature of the shared intention before the cessation occurred. If the intention of all the tuned in sub-minds was to observe objects of consciousness, as with popular “noting” practices, all that’s subsequently recalled is an absence, a gap. After all, if every object of consciousness ceases, and there’s no intention for the sub-minds to observe anything else, then nothing gets imprinted in memory. However, if the intention was to be metacognitively aware of the state and activities of the mind, we would remember having been fully conscious, but not conscious of anything. We would recall having a pure consciousness experience(PCE), or an experience of consciousness without an object (CWO).

To be clear, there is no actual “experience” of “consciousness without an object” during the cessation event, nor could there possibly be. That experience, like any other, is a construct of the mind, and in this case is generated after the cessation event has already ended. How the memory of a cessation event is interpreted retrospectively takes many forms, depending on the views and beliefs held by the person whose mind is doing the interpreting. Thus, the cessation event itself is not a mental construct, but the subsequent interpretations are entirely constructed.

Regardless of what does or doesn’t imprint in memory, every sub-mind tuned in to consciousness during cessation must assimilate the event into its own representation of reality. As with any Insight experience, the new information forces a reprogramming of how all future experiences are interpreted and responded to. Realizing that all phenomenal experience, including the Self, are mere mental constructs, and therefore “empty” of any real substance, radically transforms how the mind functions. We understand, more clearly than ever before, craving and suffering as the grasping after mere mental constructs—and the more sub-minds are tuned in during the event, the stronger that understanding will be. Of course, it’s not that hard to acquire a conceptual grasp of these truths. Many have done so. But only Insight can establish this understanding at a deep, intuitive level.

The transformative power of a cessation event depends on how unified the mind was. Unification determines the overall size of the “audience” of sub-minds receptive to events in consciousness. Only the parts of the mind-system that were tuned in during the cessation are affected. If the mind were completely unified, then every sub-mind within the mind system would be affected simultaneously, and there would be a complete Awakening of the entire mind-system. [Footnote: nirodha-samāpatti]

However, if the mind was only partially unified, there are two possibilities: no transformation, or incomplete transformation. This is because a certain degree of unification is needed during the event to reach enough sub-minds to make any tangible, lasting difference to the whole mind-system. With too little unification, a person may have a very memorable peak experience, but with little or no lasting effect. However, if the critical threshold is reached, the second possibility is an incomplete transformation of the mind-system, limited to those sub-minds that happened to be tuned in at the time. Complete transformation must await subsequent cessations or other Insight experiences that have a similar impact on the remaining parts of the mind-system. This incremental process of transformation explains why Awakening is traditionally described as occurring in a series of stages."
Culadasa, The Mind Illuminated.
Nick

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/22/16 7:05 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks Nick for Culadasa's quote. A great explanation!! I'll buy his book. Thanks again!!!

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 10:09 PM as a reply to neko.
Hi neko,

If it isn't too much trouble, could you expand on this a bit, maybe compare where you see Shinzen and Elena's standards differing and where they are the same? Thanx.

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/22/16 2:25 AM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi neko,

If it isn't too much trouble, could you expand on this a bit, maybe compare where you see Shinzen and Elena's standards differing and where they are the same? Thanx.


Sure, you can find my analysis about Gateless Gatecrashers here:


http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5776200#_19_message_5777937

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/22/16 12:51 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Hello Kim,

I would not consider Elena Nezhinsky's standard for awakening to be comparable to what Shinzen Young calls enlightenment.  Namely, I consider myself awakened by Elena's standards but not enlightened by Shinzen's.

Hi Neko,

Personally I am not involved with LU but I was once accepted as a guide there (though never gave any guidings there) and therefore I got an access to their Facebook-groups for guides and other materials. So naturally I looked around and checked what it's all about. But whether if I have extensive, really in-depth knowledge about them, I don't. I have just an overall impression of them.

I have a couple of friends who awakened through LU. And those cases I would also pass as valid stream entries. It seems Elena herself is also awakened. I emailed her to ask about the statistics of LU and she gave me those numbers. I didn't give it much more thought than that. Considering the volume of awakenings verified by them by what seems a group of guides of varying levels of understanding, yes, it is probable that not all of those 1000 people, perhaps even a significant group of them wouldn't pass my tests of awakening or Shinzen's.

In overall, maybe I shouldn't have even mentioned LU in the text. On the other hand, I think it is worth mentioning even if not all of those 1000 LU-awakened people wouldn't pass my requirements or Shinzen's. In the cases of my two friends there is no question about it. A couple of years ago LU had a FB-group for guides in which there was a requirement for 3 other guides, together with the actual guide doing the guiding, to give their verification if it had happened or not.

In the quote from BG-interview he defined what Shinzen means with enlightenment.
Nikolai .:
I cant remember where the quote is, but I
remember Shinzen saying when he talks of 'enlightenment' he is
referring to the 1st stage of awakening, stream entry, not arahat
...The
more unifed your mind, the more transformative the enlightenment
occurence and then that conditions what you are selling/sharing with
others. Sudden awakenings may occur for some who have unifed their minds
to different degrees. Other yogis may require the hard slog and gradual
progression to unify the mind. Others may have a sudden awakening but it doesnt do much 'damage' or partial 'damage' (Damage in a positive sense). Others may have a gradual progression but at the moment of awakening, it may be partial due to a partially unifed mind.  

Teachers may be speaking from their own
experience of their own awakening which may have been partially, or
fully or not at all influenced by a unifed mind. And each will have a
different path to these possibilites concerning  unifying mind
pre-awakening. So we have all these disagreements and "My enlightenment
is better than yours" stances because of the many possible outcomes. "My
path is quicker and more efficient  than yours!". But what is the end
result one is spruiking? Is it one born from a partially (infinite
degrees of partial?), not much at all, or completely unifed mind when
the awakening moment occurs? How transformed is the mind for what you
are trying to sell as a 'better' path or approach or technique or this
or that? How unifed are the minds of the LU folk when they have their
insights? How unifed are the minds of the pragmatic dharma folk doing
the noting technique at the moment of cessation? I've read many varying
degrees of transformation post "awakening" over the past 6 years here
which makes me fully stand behind Culadasa's view below. We are seeing
so many differences. 

"My path is better than your path" is just a symptom of this.

Edited a few times.

Nick

Hi Nick,

Nick's post got me thinking of specific areas of the conditioned human mind
where awakening/stream entry/enlightenment and the pre-awakening and post-awakening
purification of the mind takes place. I have divided this into two main categories:

1. me, the subject
2. any mental and emotional content, many objects stored and arising from the subconscious mind

Here, obviously, we are dealing with the first category, the sense of me. Now. In my work there have been a few cases where I've kept people digging deeper even after their awakening, even though is not what I usually do. These people were spurred on by their breakthrough and motivated to continue, so I had few of them continue for a few extra days. And they did well. But  by no means were able to finish the second category, the purification of the mind, in that period of time with this method that is designed to shoot down the sense of me, and that's all. So, personally as a teacher I am not concerned whether the guidance process has any other effect, or that it makes any other damage, than fully see through the sense of subject-entity.

I watched a video of Francis Bennett and Adyashanti having a chat about the further process of mind purification (nr. 2) after (or before) awakening (nr 1). At first I was kind of puzzled because they made obvious points... Of course, such a further process exists... Why do they make such a big deal out of it... Then I figured that many satsang-teachers say the sudden awakening is all there is. So these gentlemen were having the chat to correct this view. Which is nice.

So I think that when we start speaking of which method is really the bestest spiritual path, we have to be exact in defining which category of processing (1. or 2. or both) the method is concerned with. I never made the claim that the two part formula is "a fix-all" thing because it isn't but it works like magic in regards to shooting down the illusion of the self in the place of subject. In the method that I am involved with, we have a whole tantric method to facilitate the pre- and/or post-awakening mind purification (2.) which also works like magic, ha.

svmonk:
Baba,

Well, according to the tradition, strong determination sitting worked for the Buddha. Of
course, he already had a few years of full time jhana practice under his
belt with the Jains, something that is pretty rare today. And I've also
seen a couple of enlightenment stories by contemporary Thervadan monks
in which enlightenment occured through strong determination sitting.
That said, I agree that it probably won't work for everyone.

Actually,
I've practiced with Shinzen and I think the most powerful practice he
teachs is Noting Gone. The idea is to apply the Mahasi noting practice
to when some sensation/thought disappears. Airplane noise is a good
place to start.

  

Svmonk,

Well sure, that's what they say in the tradtition, haha. I am sure Shinzen has many good techniques to share but sincerely... with the result he is having I don't get why he has said that this method is the best for stream entry. Maybe it's best for someone who has tremendous faith in the tradition but that's another story...
Pablo M+H:
Thanks Nick for Culadasa's quote. A great explanation!! I'll buy his book. Thanks again!!!
Yeah, thanks for that wonderfully enlightening quote. It seems Culadasa's name is like the new black on this forum. It's every where.


Baba

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/22/16 8:47 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I agree with Culudasa as well. For awakening to occur one needs samadhi + insight.  Insight without samadhi is a mere superficial awakening, akin to theoretical knowledge because the mind is not unified with samadhi, and therefore all the subminds don't have access to this insight.  Direct pointing practictioners who have  not  reached states of deep concentration (which you reach the quickest through Shinzen's determined sitting) piror to insight simply aren't really awakened. A nice facsimile perhaps, but not the penetrative awaking that occurs with a mind in samadhi.

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/21/16 9:56 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Baba,

Well, according to the tradition, strong determination sitting worked for the Buddha. Of course, he already had a few years of full time jhana practice under his belt with the Jains, something that is pretty rare today. And I've also seen a couple of enlightenment stories by contemporary Thervadan monks in which enlightenment occured through strong determination sitting. That said, I agree that it probably won't work for everyone.

Actually, I've practiced with Shinzen and I think the most powerful practice he teachs is Noting Gone. The idea is to apply the Mahasi noting practice to when some sensation/thought disappears. Airplane noise is a good place to start.

  

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/22/16 4:38 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
With all respect to both the Teachers.. though 

But here I have to agree with some others... 
My take is also that Elena Nezhinsky is different to Shinzen by far... 
two are totally different.. 
not all experiences are the same and for me any experience from awareness is "not the ultimate reality" no matter what anyone says.. 

if a "I" there to experience it... then it cannot certainly be anything but an illusion.. 






RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/27/16 9:55 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Hi, Kim.

I don't know Shinzen's work that well, but judging from what I know about him and what you posted, it seems to me that you're misunderstanding him.

First, I've seen him talk about the definition of enlightenment and he does state that usually what is meant by that is Stream Entry, but even that he says some people set higher bars and some lower for SE. I haven't heard him talk about his standard other than it including some form of no-self.

Second, in the quote from the BG interview, it seems he is only referring to the sudden experience. I think he's neither defining elightenment as sudden nor saying that a couple of his students gets enlightened. What I think he's saying is simply that a couple of his students gets the sudden experience, but that doesn't say anything about the gradually enlightened ones.

Third, even though he might think the "strong determination sitting" is the fastest way to enlightenment, that doesn't mean that's his approach with his students, at least not his main approach or his most common approach. From what I've seen him speaking, his approach is much more adequate for western life, including "simple" formal practice, informal practice during the day and mini home retreats by phone.

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/27/16 11:39 AM as a reply to Rodrigo C.
Rodrigo C:
Hi, Kim.

I don't know Shinzen's work that well, but judging from what I know about him and what you posted, it seems to me that you're misunderstanding him.

First, I've seen him talk about the definition of enlightenment and he does state that usually what is meant by that is Stream Entry, but even that he says some people set higher bars and some lower for SE. I haven't heard him talk about his standard other than it including some form of no-self.

Second, in the quote from the BG interview, it seems he is only referring to the sudden experience. I think he's neither defining elightenment as sudden nor saying that a couple of his students gets enlightened. What I think he's saying is simply that a couple of his students gets the sudden experience, but that doesn't say anything about the gradually enlightened ones.

Third, even though he might think the "strong determination sitting" is the fastest way to enlightenment, that doesn't mean that's his approach with his students, at least not his main approach or his most common approach. From what I've seen him speaking, his approach is much more adequate for western life, including "simple" formal practice, informal practice during the day and mini home retreats by phone.

Rodrigo,

I'd be interested to hear what these higher or lower standards for stream entry are. Personally in my work, there is only one standard for it, as I have explained here many times.

Gradual enlightenment (vs. sudden awakening) refers to purification of the mind or better karmic purification, cleaning of the subconscious mind. Recently I've written a lot solely on the topic of sudden awakening, trying to get a picture what others say about it and how they manage or don't to get people awakened. So just to underline, this text concerns awakening as in "sudden awakening" or sudden enlightenment which is a permanent shift of perception and not momentary experience. I have already written a lot on the gradual part but I'll deal with that topic more extensively later. I am sure that Shinzen's students who practice vipassana are doing OK in regards to gradual enlightenment, and good for them, even though even Shinzen's main zen teacher was never able to finish his task of mind purification, that is, was not able finish gradual enlightenment.

Again, this text of mine is solely concerned with the awakening/stream entry bit and nothing else.

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/27/16 12:41 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:

even though even Shinzen's main zen teacher was never able to finish his task of mind purification, that is, was not able finish gradual enlightenment.


I have been thinking about Sasaki roshi as an example lately, myself.  So, in your opinion, a teacher who is capable of abuse of students has not completely finished their insight training?  In other words, at the highest levels of enlightenment, conduct is necessarily and automatically purified?  This has been my thinking, as of late: that there are levels of attainment in which things like emotion and motivation to act do get 'integrated', but that these are waaay down the line.  

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/27/16 2:42 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
Kim Katami:

even though even Shinzen's main zen teacher was never able to finish his task of mind purification, that is, was not able finish gradual enlightenment.


I have been thinking about Joshu Sasaki Roshi as an example lately, myself. So, in your opinion, a teacher who is capable of (sexual) abuse of students has not completely finished their insight training? In other words, at the highest levels of enlightenment, conduct is necessarily and automatically purified? This has been my thinking, as of late: that there are levels of attainment in which things like emotion and motivation to act do get 'integrated', but that these are waaay down the line.  


Hi Noah,

This is a wonderful topic. Not often talked about. I have also not talked about this because sexuality is a big taboo.

To me it looks like this. There is nothing wrong with teachers having sex with students if this is done in mutual understanding, agreement and openness of all the parties concerned: teacher, student and possibly teacher's spouse and student's spouse.

However, this is usually never the case. Teachers are not able to see their and other's sexuality in this light because they obviously have blind spots in their sex impulse and emotions, possibly feelings of guilt or something else attached to it, that hey have dissociated from in their minds. So sexuality to them is a blind spot. I think cultural and religious upbringing has a lot to do with this. The world is a pretty supressed place when it comes to sexuality. There are so many problems created by this. In the mind training/spiritual scene there are also powerful taboos such as awakening/enlightenment and human sexuality. But anyway.

When a respected, possibly charismatic dharma teacher with energetic presence, seduces his or her student, and if the teacher does not explain his or her view of what is going on, the student is mislead. This creates the karmic backflow that will follow. By karmic backflow I mean deep stress, trauma and loss of faith towards the dharma. A dharma teacher or a guru has a special place in the student's mind and heart. Sexual abuse is one of the worst things to betray the trust of the student.

Evidence of this karmic backflow is seen from several public testimonies that we have seen in the media by people, usually women, who were abused sexually by their male gurus. We can find these examples from every tradition and religion. Joshu Sasaki is one of them. These testimonials say that the relationship was not equal between the two parties. The other party, the student or students, were abused. In case this had been done in openness and clarity, being aware and awake, the outcome and the testimonies would have had a different tone altogether. There would be no grudge, no need for healing. But we never hear the students say that "Oh yes, we had wonderful and intimate time together with my teacher. Sex with him or her, gave me a new perspective of who I am, who my teacher is and what sexual awareness is". I have never heard anyone say that. We keep hearing that someone got hurt bad and that it has taken many years or decades for them to heal and re-gain their faith towards the dharma. I am sure many of these abused people left their dharma practice for good. That's one of the real bad mistakes a dharma teacher can do. Karmically speaking, that's when the shit really hits the fan for him (or her).

If we speculate that Shakyamuni Buddha, this mahasiddha who started buddha dharma, would have had sexual encounters with his students I am sure that it wouldn't have been in avoidance of the sangha knowing it or in secrecy in any way from the concerned parties. It doesn't make any sense that there'd be a living buddha, a true master, who has this immense clarity of mind and awareness when he teaches and is a stainless and pure celibate monk among people but that when he goes to this quarters after his talk and takes his robe off, there's a well known Bollywood actress giving him a blowjay at the same time when he watches TV. For a real mahasiddha this would never happen, as it did to a famous guru in India a few years back (while a hidden camera was filming).

When one has really meditated and recognised the awake awareness in bone and marrow, the clarity of mind comes together with natural ethics that you don't need to carry in your mind or recall anymore. When the conscious recognition is thorough, ethical behaviour becomes natural. You can't hurt or purposefully mislead others at that point. This is because the bodymind, including the sex impulse, is permeated with this open awareness imbued with the spirit of compassion, selfless love, nonviolence, truthfulness and freedom. At this point it is impossible to purposefully harm or mislead others, be it through sexual abuse or other forms of abuse. But most teachers or gurus are not there yet and so, they create harm to many. This is very very unfortunate for all the parties and the dharma culture in overall. The karmic reverberations extend to so many directions.

But yeah, sex and sexuality are taboos in the world. When writing this, I consider not publishing this text because being a spiritual teacher myself  and talking about these things publicly, I might be be labeled as some weird sex guru, **simply because I am talking about these things** which are never talked about.

But that's the whole problem, isn't it? We are not taught about sexuality, about us ourselves as sexual beings. Instead the world culture makes us feel awkward and strange about our sexuality. "Forbidden fruit", you know. "Don't, don't don't. Put a lid on it. Pure mind vs. Dirty mind. Heaven vs. Hell" et cetera. I am sure this supression still practiced by many religions has done much more harm than good during the known history.

But anyway. My main point is that it is not the actual act of sex that is the problem in these abuse cases. It is the mind and conditions imprinted in it, as it always is.

Cheers,
Baba

Open Heart,
www.openheart.fi

RE: Comments on Shinzen's tip
Answer
1/28/16 3:23 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
Kim Katami:

even though even Shinzen's main zen teacher was never able to finish his task of mind purification, that is, was not able finish gradual enlightenment.


I have been thinking about Sasaki roshi as an example lately, myself.  So, in your opinion, a teacher who is capable of abuse of students has not completely finished their insight training?  In other words, at the highest levels of enlightenment, conduct is necessarily and automatically purified?  This has been my thinking, as of late: that there are levels of attainment in which things like emotion and motivation to act do get 'integrated', but that these are waaay down the line.  

I don't think people like Daniel or Shinzen could be clearer about how that is a fallacy.

https://youtu.be/9PB0YKPBn0w is Shinzen's take on it in one talk. It reminds me of MCTB (the trade-offs between investing in meditation and other techniques).

This idea of "automatic purification" seems very much like wishful thinking. The myth of a perfect enlightenment can be used to avoid doing the hard work of acting in the world.