Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

Darrell, modified 5 Years ago.

Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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I'd mentioned this in another thread, and seemingly ruffled some feathers. Maybe not. In either case, I couldn't recall exactly the places I'd come across the idea that the dark night stage wasn't something that had to be experienced/traversed, what have you. One person even demanded names of those who dare make such a claim. Well, I came across this by accident on youtube. Subsequently, I've seen the same ideas expressed elsewhere. So here's at least one name. With little effort, more can be found for those willing to search. Do what thou will with this, or do whatever keepeth thou from wilting. Whichever you prefer.

Here he is, your friend and mine, Culadasa John Yates

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5He0q5u5yY
Derek, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

Posts: 326 Join Date: 7/21/10 Recent Posts
I haven't watched your video, but the dark night is also the subject of Appendix F of Culadasa's book, as was mentioned recently on AN.

Culadasa says in Appendix F that insufficient samatha meditation is what leads to the awful dark nights. People with a samatha practice have a much easier time of it.
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Pablo M+H, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Derek:
Culadasa says in Appendix F that insufficient samatha meditation is what leads to the awful dark nights. People with a samatha practice have a much easier time of it.

Yep, but you get Culadasa's samatha at the expense of tension. That's my experience with his method. Some may find beneficial to trade Dark Night for tension. Not may case. There's another option, which overrides both DN and tension, Thanissaro Bhikku's and Bhante Vimalaramsi's methods, though at the expense of shallower jhanas, "jhana lite" as Culadasa's terminology.  You may last a long time in middle-high equanimity before reaching stream entry, as at least (that's what) Vimalaramsi's students report. There's always a trade-off.

(edited several times)

 
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Let us see what we agree on:

1. Everyone agrees that, with dry insight, "bad territory" is a guarantee.

2. Everyone agrees that if you get in "bad territory" samatha helps.

3. Everyone agrees that with wet vipassana the bad territory hurts less.

4. Everyone agrees that Tibetans do mostly wet vipassana and Theravadins do mostly dry vipassana.

5. Everyone agrees that even if you do wet vipassana, there is no guarantee that you will avoid the "bad territory" entirely.

The area of disagreement seems to be:

-> What is the likelyhood that, by doing wet vipassana, a practitioner will avoid the "bad territory" entirely?

I am pretty sure that if we put numbers to this question the area of disagreement would shrink down considerably.

I think that the Tibetans know perfectly well about the "bad territory". They just call it a different name, deal with it differently, and prefer to see it through the lens of "part of human life" as opposed to "stuff that is brought up by practice".
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Notice that in the video linked above Culadasa says "It is possible to avoid the Dark Night" and not "You are guaranteed to avoid the Dark Night".
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Psi, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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neko:
Let us see what we agree on:


4. Everyone agrees that Tibetans do mostly wet vipassana and Theravadins do mostly dry vipassana.
No, Theravadin is based upon the Pali Canon.  It starts with the Four Noble Truths, then expounds with the Noble Eightfold Path.  

Vipassana , defined, means clear seeing, which is also actually misunderstood, it is clear sensing, of all six senses.

So, to experience Vipassana, one would have a clear and equanimous mind.  If one had an unstable and discursive mind they would not be experiencing Vipassana.

I would go further that the core of dukkha is the I-making and conceit -making, and that if one thinks that they are experiencing Vipassana while experiencing misery, disgust, fear, then they are, at those stages stuck in the delusion that the phenomenon is more than just a pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral sensation. And, further, have taken the sensations to be me, my, or mine.  Which is a form of delusion.  A delusion being defined as a belief not based upon facts or evidence.

That being said, there is a process that unfolds, there is a path to Vipassana, that goes through stages and the Progress of Insight, when the mind is not equanimous.

If the mind has been trained in equanimity, and is abiding in equanimity, then the dark night delusions do not arise.  As I see it one would start out at stage eleven, as seen in the Progress of Insight.

I suppose either method, wet or dry, one gets to equanimity.  And if one trains and maintains equanimity, and one accumulates wisdom, and keeps practicing, the Dark Night phenomenon lose their power, and footholds, over time, become abandoned to an ever increasing degree.  There becomes a new and improved path for the mind.

But, to sum up,

No, I do not think Theravada has much of anything to do with what is considered as dry Vipassana, as a method , all by itself.

But, Vipassana is not a method, by definition.

Psi

P.S. I reserve the right to have an open mind and to have other thoughts arise.  emoticon
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Psi:


Theravadin is based upon the Pali Canon.  It starts with the Four Noble Truths, then expounds with the Noble Eightfold Path.  

I agree. There is, however, a difference between what the Pali Canon says and the way meditation is practiced in the most mainstream Theravadin circles. Mahasi noting and U Ba Khin body scanning are both pretty dry, for example. It is the hallmark of the so-called "vipassana revolution". Fair enough, I should have specified that this is what I was referring to.
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Noah, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Neko:

Fair enough, I should have specified that this is what I was referring to.


You could specify "Burmese lineages" if you wanted to be specific.
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Noah:
Neko:

Fair enough, I should have specified that this is what I was referring to.


You could specify "Burmese lineages" if you wanted to be specific.

Pretty sure someone would have dug up some Burmese lineage that actually... emoticon 
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Psi, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Psi:
P.S. I reserve the right to have an open mind and to have other thoughts arise.  emoticon
As far as The Progress of Insight and the Stages go, there are also biological and medical phenomeon that can not be dealt with solely through Insight.

For example, a Vitamin D deficiency.  One can meditate and contemplate all they want, but, I do not believe it will relieve the suffering caused by a Vitamin D deficiency.  

So, I am saying, in addition, there is always time for Wisdom, and Medicine.  Or a mixture.  

Psi
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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neko:
I think that the Tibetans know perfectly well about the "bad territory". They just call it a different name, deal with it differently, and prefer to see it through the lens of "part of human life" as opposed to "stuff that is brought up by practice".
The Ng öndro is well known as a practice that stirs up all of your crap in addition to having the entire path built into it.

...it works. emoticon
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Stirling Campbell:
neko:
I think that the Tibetans know perfectly well about the "bad territory". They just call it a different name, deal with it differently, and prefer to see it through the lens of "part of human life" as opposed to "stuff that is brought up by practice".
The Ng öndro is well known as a practice that stirs up all of your crap in addition to having the entire path built into it.

...it works. emoticon
Good to know! I'll put it on my "not to do" list. emoticon
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

Posts: 602 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
neko:
Stirling Campbell:
neko:
I think that the Tibetans know perfectly well about the "bad territory". They just call it a different name, deal with it differently, and prefer to see it through the lens of "part of human life" as opposed to "stuff that is brought up by practice".
The Ng öndro is well known as a practice that stirs up all of your crap in addition to having the entire path built into it.

...it works. emoticon
Good to know! I'll put it on my "not to do" list. emoticon
I *cautiously* feel like I cleared a bundle with that exercise. I get why they do it - can't say I enjoyed it - but the outcome was worth it. My wife might disagree. emoticon

neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Stirling Campbell:
I *cautiously* feel like I cleared a bundle with that exercise. I get why they do it - can't say I enjoyed it - but the outcome was worth it. My wife might disagree. emoticon





Ok, you've convinced me. I will move it to my "after-5th-path to-do list" emoticon
Pål, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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How/Why do you think Ngöndrö works the way it does?
If this is OT, please answer it in my thread on esoteric symbol work emoticon
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Pål:
How/Why do you think Ngöndrö works the way it does?
If this is OT, please answer it in my thread on esoteric symbol work emoticon

The easist answer I came across is in Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse's "Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Prelimary Practices". I mean, even the title and the blurb on the back is a warning!

One example I can readily recall is about how the Vajrasattva/Guru Yoga practice in it ripens karma. That, of course, works out bad AND good... but often bad - as we obviously have a lot to purify, or we'd be enlightened already. 

Speaking for myself, I had one of the most personally turbulent episodes I have ever had working on grasping around my late father's death. Probably some of my deepest, oldest, most eldritch karma was tied tightly around my expectations there, unbeknownst to me (but obvious now). I am relatively sure that letting go in that case helped tremendously in attaining Sotapanna.
Pål, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Interesting! I've heard the same being said about western Magick, as an explanation for the Dark Night of the Soul, which in their tradition is something entirely different from MCTB DN as I perceive it. They go through all kinds of horrible coincidences at that stage and many others. The way I read the suttas though, the Buddha seems to be opposed to the Jain idea of having to "burn off" karma to get enlightened. I can't remember the exact places though. Maybe tantra/magick and suttaic buddhism have different goals.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Just making stuff up here (I am home with the flu emoticon so I may change my mind later), but it seems to me that you don't really end up processing anything in a Dark Night phase unless you consciously "let go" of your obscurations. That renunciation is the ticket. Probably. 
Pål, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Maybe actually processing is a key to not getting stuck there.
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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neko:
Let us see what we agree on:

1. Everyone agrees that
NOPE.
Everyone does not agree on ANYTHING....

Although certain types around here seem to endless repeat certain statements until people take them at face value.

How unfortunate

~D
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Dream Walker:
neko:
Let us see what we agree on:

1. Everyone agrees that
NOPE.
Everyone does not agree on ANYTHING....

Although certain types around here seem to endless repeat certain statements until people take them at face value.

How unfortunate

~D

Feeling snarky today? emoticon

When it wears off, could you take the time to reply in a little bit more detail to what I have written. Please do not take it literally, but try to see what I actually meant. I would be very grateful if you felt like sharing your opinion. In particular, which of the statements I have made do you agree with, and which ones do you not agree with? Which of those statements do you think are most likely to be incorrect, and why?

Thanks! emoticon
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

Posts: 1355 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
neko:
Dream Walker:
neko:
Let us see what we agree on:

1. Everyone agrees that
NOPE.
Everyone does not agree on ANYTHING....

Although certain types around here seem to endless repeat certain statements until people take them at face value.

How unfortunate

~D

Feeling snarky today? emoticon

When it wears off, could you take the time to reply in a little bit more detail to what I have written. Please do not take it literally, but try to see what I actually meant. I would be very grateful if you felt like sharing your opinion. In particular, which of the statements I have made do you agree with, and which ones do you not agree with? Which of those statements do you think are most likely to be incorrect, and why?

Thanks! emoticon

Ok, I will. But I cannot promise to not be entirely nonsnarky. emoticon

neko:
Let us see what we agree on:

1. Everyone agrees that, with dry insight, "bad territory" is a guarantee.
1a dry insight - Please define dry insight and explain how one accomplishes this. How is this measured? are there Vipassana jhanas? and if so how do these work?
1b "bad territory" - could you explain what this is? Is it every Nana except 4 and 11? Are we excluding sub nanas to make this simple?
neko:

2. Everyone agrees thatif you get in "bad territory" samatha helps.
2 What is it that you consider samatha, is it only one thing? does everyone agree to what constitutes samatha/jhana? What kind or part of samatha is the part that helps? Can you explain how this helps?

neko:

3. Everyone agrees thatwith wet vipassana the bad territory hurts less.
3 How do you get your vpassana wet? What practise are you talking about? How does one measure how wet it is? How does one measure the less hurting per peson, is this consistant for all people? If it is subjective then how can you be sure the advice will work and to what extent?

neko:

4. Everyone agrees thatTibetans do mostly wet vipassana and Theravadins do mostly dry vipassana.
4 Please explain... I do not know these things. Where are you getting your information?

neko:

5. Everyone agrees that even if you do wet vipassana, there is no guarantee that you will avoid the "bad territory" entirely.
5 Rephrased - Even if you do not meditate, there is no guarantee that you will avoid the "bad territory" entirely.

neko:

The area of disagreement seems to be:

-> What is the likelyhood that, by doing wet vipassana, a practitioner will avoid the "bad territory" entirely?

I am pretty sure that if we put numbers to this question the area of disagreement would shrink down considerably.
Here is the problem over the years,

Some people are really into concentration practices. They tend to think this is the best kind of practise. They have suttas to back them up. They like to tell other people how they are right. Some people hate the maps and progress of insight. Some have actual practises and evidence that concentration has worked for them, but these types rarely are loud mouths. Some people like to just crap on other peoples practises whatever they are and are vocal about it. Some people see this crapping and get thier jollies by  repeating it ad nauseum until it is assumed that "everyone" believes the same thing.
I'm not saying you're sitting here stirring the pot, I think you actually are interested in this topic. As such I am happy to hash this out more if you want.

This is an old topic that keeps coming up over and over, but rarely from a point of view of trying to actually help other practitioners from first hand hard work that has lead to experience that benefits others.
I do find this a bit frustrating, I do wish Culadasa could have made it to buddhist geeks, as this was to be his topic and we could have really explored what his beliefs are.
~D
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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DW, this comment of yours is made up of roughly similar amounts of:
1) legitimate questions that would improve the discussion if I answered them,
2) potentially interesting points which you only state cryptically because you find the topic annoying,
3) nitpicking and provoking to shoot the conversation down. 

I can see the reasons you are annoyed (really) and I think they are legitimate (really) but I don't feel like forcing you to have a conversation you don't seem to want to have, at least not in the terms I have (more or less skillfully) put it, sorting the snarky parts from the productive ones.

So I'd say let''s just leave it at this, ok? emoticon 
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Darrell:
I'd mentioned this in another thread, and seemingly ruffled some feathers.

Thread - http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5832135/en
Darrell:
I have no desire to create contentious debate or stir controversy.

And yet here you are again....
Darrell, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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So, I should be responsible for how others respond? I posted this because it seemed weak that I couldn't offer any proof of claims that reliable sources had stated the DN wasn't an absolute. I stand by what I wrote, I didn't post this to stir anything up. In fact, the link I posted here may have proven valuable for some. It has generated what appears to be a worthwhile discussion. I don't believe I have a hostory here of creating problems or acting badly, and I'd appreciate you not trying to make it appear that I do.
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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Darrell:
So, I should be responsible for how others respond?
Retorical?

Darrell:
I posted this because it seemed weak that I couldn't offer any proof of claims that reliable sources had stated the DN wasn't an absolute.
  • Culadasa sez dark night not necessary
  • Culadasa says "It is possible to avoid the Dark Night"
  • the DN wasn't an absolute
What is your current claim?
Darrell:
I stand by what I wrote, I didn't post this to stir anything up.
Good

Darrell:
In fact, the link I posted here may have proven valuable for some. It has generated what appears to be a worthwhile discussion.
In that vein I must say that I seem to be a bit sensitive to this topic. In seeking why this was so, I came to conclusion that it appears to blame the victim. I am a long time dark night yogi and have suffered thru it many many many times. I spent close to 20 years not meditating and cycling thru the dark night. I've spent years meditating and moving thru the nark night with and without access to jhanas...I have progressed despite the suffering that DN has entailed. So when someone comes here and starts making statements that seem to make me the victim and blames me of incorrect practise it seems to trigger something...
why-do-we-blame-victims
Psychology Today-:
Victim blaming is not just about avoiding culpability—it's also about avoiding vulnerability. The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable.
The idea that misfortune can be random, striking anyone at any time, is a terrifying thought, and yet we are faced every day with evidence that it may be true. ...
...Research has found, not surprisingly, that people who believe that the world is a just place are happier and less depressed. But this happiness may come at a cost—it may reduce our empathy for those who are suffering, and we may even contribute to their suffering by increasing stigmatization.
...People can believe that the world is full of injustice but also believe that they are capable of making the world a more just place through their own actions. One way to help make the world a better place to fight the impulse to rationalize others' suffering, and to recognize that it could have just as soon been us in their shoes. This recognition can be unsettling, but it may also be the only way that we can truly open our hearts to others' suffering and help them feel supported and less alone. What the world may lack in justice we can at least try to make up for in compassion. 
Darrell:
I don't believe I have a hostory here of creating problems or acting badly, and I'd appreciate you not trying to make it appear that I do.
If you find yourself identifying with something I said you will have to point that out for me to respond to.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

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DW, speaking as another long-term DN yogi, I don't see victim blaming in anything either Darrell or Culadasa has mentioned. I crossed the A&P years ago by accident, and had a lot of symptoms of DN since then, although I can't say what troubles may have been the case even without that event. After about 6 months in preliminary jhana work (first half of 2011), I switched to full time noting for two paths, and had some miserable dark nights. Still, I see Culadasa making a reasonable claim that another approach can eliminate or mitigate such experiences. It might not work for everyone, but it's worth taking a look.

In the meantime, whatever DN stuff, either before or after beginning insight practice, is in the past, although yes, I cycle nowadays, but have a background and foreground of equanimity with all of it. So: I think Culadasa's approach is worth discussing. Also, I have heard Shinzen Young make a similar claim, in one of the many videos I've listened to. He says once in awhile someone has a bad experience, but it isn't a necessary part of waking up. 
Darrell, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa sez dark night not necessary

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
As Laurel said, I am most certainly not blaming anyone. My only intent was to say there is apparently another way. No one should have to be condemned to the DN. The way the subject is discussed around here, and other places, it would lead one to believe it is an unalterable fact. One person in another thread said as much. This creates what folks here call scripting, also known as self fufilling prophecy. If someone knows ahead of time, perhaps they can spared the misery. For those after the fact, perhaps they can be shown a way out.

All I have been trying to do, from the first, was to offer something that might be helpful.

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