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Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk


RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/11/16 5:36 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Fantastic Bill Hamilton one-liners I didn't know:

The Buddhists are their own worst PR-people. (Around 41:20)

Theravada/early Buddhists were a cosmic suicide club. (Shortly afterwards)

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/11/16 8:31 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Some of Kenneth's models give me a strong Robert Anton Wilson/John Lilly vibe. It'd surprise me if he hadn't read them.

If he hasn't it'd be a tragedy if he doesn't, to me. I'm thinking particularly of Simulations of God: The Science of Belief and Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer by John Lilly.
...

MISHLOVE: You've probably devoted your whole life, and certainly many decades recently, to pushing to see what really were the limits -- by going into new realities, taking on the belief systems of those realities, and then coming back to your basic working reality and challenging those beliefs, integrating those beliefs with your own. In your writings you've explored almost every state of consciousness I could imagine -- the various mystical levels of satori, communication with extraterrestrials, communication with other species. You've established probably a more significant mapping of inner space than almost any other modern person, and I think we all owe a great debt to you for that.
LILLY: But don't get stuck with those. I've abandoned all of them. It's impossible, because there are infinities within the mind.

...

MISHLOVE: Well, I suppose for our culture the really special thing about you is the fact that you really have a foot in both worlds, the scientific camp and the mystical camp. And in a way you seem dissatisfied with both of them. Neither camp seems to provide an adequate enough model of reality for you.
LILLY: That's right. My own beliefs are unbelievable.
MISHLOVE: And you seem to be saying that it's up to each person to in effect make the same bridge that you have, and to create their own belief system, so that in creating that belief they can move into the state that that belief leads them to, so that they can then discard it again.
LILLY: That's the gnostic point of view -- self transcendence, not transcendence through a church or a group.
MISHLOVE: Back fifteen years ago or so, you were exploring the mystical states, as described classically as the various levels of samadhi, in your work with Oscar Ichazo in Chile, in the Arica school.
LILLY: Right.
MISHLOVE: You had achieved, as we have described earlier, some of the very highest states of those mystical traditions, and you wrote about them from your own personal experience. People in the mystical traditions view these states as being ultimate states. I get the sense that you don't think of them that way. You think of them more the way a scientist would look at tools.
LILLY: Well, Patanjali, for instance, in 400 B.C. said, "When you reach the highest form of samadhi, you realize there are hundreds more beyond that." I agree; there's no limit.

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 1:24 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I thought the same.

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 10:47 AM as a reply to neko.
Makes you wonder if all of this mapping and finding new absorptions is just us working in the same fiction that is conveniently finding new hypothesized particles in physics over and over. Probably all of this is irrelevant with a complete understanding of the dreamlike nature of this reality.

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 12:12 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
If I understand correctly, I imagine that Kenneth would answer that the dreamlike nature of reality is what you get by looking through enough different lenses. 

I am struck by how different Kenneth's answer to "What does it feel like to be you?" is from Daniel. To a complete layman it would seem like they are taking about two entirely different phenomena. I can relate to both and see the connection; yet.

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 2:31 PM as a reply to neko.
I confess I haven't listened to Kenneth Folk in any great detail on this topic, though I have enjoyed a few web pages I've read that have been linked from here, but I have to say I'm really surprised by this interview. I'm also surprised by how he uses "awakened" and "enlightened" interchangeably. To me, the first is what it's like to have a "3 doors" experience on a gradual path - the second, how it is be be done, complete, gone beyond. I also agree with you, neko, that Kenneth's explanation vs. Daniel's seem very different. Is one wrong? Do different processes create different outcomes? I guess I'm confused.

So... I am NOT enlightened, and make no claim to be. I feel like I have plenty of work to do. From my (perhaps mistaken) view, the way being enlightened is going to look is pretty much like the non-duality glimpse I've had looks. Everything inherently empty and interconnected, no center, no mind, no "I", no time. That is way past anything he is describing, as far as I can tell. I'm surprised to think that, in a number of respects I am at least as far, but possibly even further along than him.

As examples: I really have almost no anxiety - what I get is the soft indent of it - the shallow impression of it, from my body, like a lump under the carpet that has no definition. It has no anxiety "flavor", it's just a placeholder where something used to go. I say this as someone who suffered anxiety his entire life and is intimately familiar with it. Also, I can go for hours at a time without a self-referential thought... something I only realized the other day, and cannot be sure when it started. I've seen the shape of an "I" related thought arise in an inky sea of quiet in my mind like a red balloon. Almost startling. I guess I would expect him to be much further from his "self" than I am if he is enlightened.

I guess I'm left with a strange feeling that there seem to be different ideas about what this target is and that maybe none of them are right? Or maybe many are being too liberal with the definitions? Am I wrong to think my personal definition (which I think gave me a taste of where I'm headed) is right? I feel it without doubt. Isn't what I saw possible, since "I" SAW it existing in this reality?

I think much of his teaching is helpful, and I don't mean to cast aspersions, or denigrate his achievements. Ultimately it doesn't matter, and won't impact my work on this... I'm just confused about where we end up and what defines it in light of this interview. 

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 3:14 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
When did Kenneth Folk go 4th path? What year?

I listened to this interview 15 minutes from the beginning until I had to go. Kenneth seemed to have the same vibe to him as before. I think he is a great guy and has done a great job. However he is still stuck in the substrate consciousness which is the 6th (throughout 10th) bhumi in the Open Heart Bhumi Model. I haven't yet found a theravadin who'd be above 6th bhumi. The first mahasiddha bhumi, or degree of buddhahood is 11th. I've talked about this in my prev posts. He is enlightened to a degree but not even close to "full enlightenment". It's great that he is sharing his knowledge, views and experiences with others but there is a whole lot to go and a lot to mature from where he is. 

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 3:22 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Some time ago I posted my two step model for practice. Something like;
1. If alive, keep practicing.
2. When dead, who can know?

So, step (1) seems like where Kenneth and Daniel both are. Still alive, still going, things continue to unfold and yes, even change. At least this is what I (am choosing to?) hear from their latest interviews. How awakened, how enlightened? Feels sort of irrelevant these days.

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 5:28 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
I think it's funny that folks' mind takes them to this:  just how enlighted are they?

Keeping score is important, I guess.


emoticon

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/12/16 6:23 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
What I like about Daniel and Kenneth is they don't lie to increase their score.

I just finished watching another teacher interview and they were asked something like "what are your plans?" and he answerered "I have no plans, I live in the moment, etc etc" then later in the interview they said "oh, well I have teaching engagements for the next year and a half and I..." Although sometimes Daniel and Kenneth drive me bonkers because they don't interview well, I respect how they don't b.s. or sugar-coat their answers about the reality of being an awake human being, emphasis on the human being. 

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/13/16 4:31 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I'm with you Shargrol. I thought there were many moments in the interview were Bob re-checked his understanding about Ken's experience by asking another question (around the theme what is it like to be awaken) and never once did Ken sugar-coat or dress things up. It seemed to me that he was giving a verbal version of Daniel’s ‘Models of the Stages of Enlightenment’ chapter in MCTB. Strangely enough, I found this far more appealing (and obtainable) than many other descriptions of the big E. On a side note, I’ve never heard the teaching of ‘There is…’ as a way to note (i.e. ‘there is touching’, ‘there is breathing’ as opposed to ‘touching’, ‘breathing’). I tried it this am and find it added quite a different flavour to ‘the experience’. Nice emoticon

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/13/16 11:23 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I think it's funny that folks' mind takes them to this:  just how enlighted are they?

Keeping score is important, I guess.


emoticon


Well, conceit -- the comparing mind is one of the last fetters to go... so I think it makes sense why we do it emoticon

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/13/16 3:12 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I've noticed one significant difference between Kenneth's answers in this interview and his positions of a few years ago. At that time, he got into a disagreement with Gary Weber about thoughts. Gary, as most of you know, attests to having long periods with no thought stream in the mind. There is thinking for a particular purpose, just not the usual mind-noise. At that time, Kenneth was skeptical that this was even a realistic goal for anyone, let alone a characteristic of enlightenment. In this interview, though, Kenneth describes himself as experiencing long periods of (wait for it . . .) no thoughts popping up, just stillness. 

It it seemed to me that Robert Wright had to work hard to get answers to his questions, because Kenneth would just give the plain facts of his experience without elaboration. It looks as if Kenneth doesn't interview particularly well as a result, yet I don't think that is at all how I'd describe it. In the comments, though, one person was thoroughly turned off by Kenneth's self-presentation and representation of enlightenment. I personally got a jolt of discomfort when he said the term "self-help" isn't inappropriate as a description of the results of this practice. I always am critical of self-help as a goal because the self you would be trying to help disappears! Then there was the puzzling exchange about nihilism, in which Kenneth seemed to own that term. 

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/14/16 1:04 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Pawel K, just for fun, how would you respond to the questions:

1. What does it feel like to be you?

2. What is enlightenment?

(I ask with good intentions, frankly I haven't heard a really really good answer yet.)

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/14/16 2:33 PM as a reply to shargrol.
I would like to second shargrol's request.

Thanks in advance, Pawel K.

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/14/16 3:16 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Paweł K:
 And this insight make it possible to instantly experience state where there is no suffering and instead there is only bliss. It doesn't mean anything is permanent but it is always a possibility to choose to not suffer because suffering itself is seen as result of making specific choice. 
Exactly

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/15/16 5:29 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I would like to second shargrol's request.

Thanks in advance, Pawel K.

With great respect, I would like to 3rd that request. 

Anyone have thoughts about arhatship as a moving target, colored by which practice it is approached by? Or which characteristics are always common? What are the defining characteristics? Loss of center/"I"/personhood is central, perhaps? 

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/17/16 6:51 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Well said Pawel. I don't think your description is "like being from a different tale" at all. I like how you point out that Enlightnement is a realization first of all. Many people think it is a "state" or a kind of experience, which is why they ask "how does it feel to be you?" but I don't think that question is as relevant as most people think. I also like how you point out that seeking or clinging to relief is dukka. It's paradoxical, sure, but I can't argue with that at all.

The buddhist-flavored way of saying it would be as soon as you desire or cling to the idea or experience of anything, including relief, (and including -- as the zen dudes and dudettes point out -- ideas of enlightenment), a self is born that will live, suffer, and die. Being awake means that within any experience means there is just the being awake to that experience, whatever it is, as it is.

Your use of "reference experiences" is a little confusing to me, but I understand it as "you can think about the future without creating suffering about the future not being here, because you recognize that it is just a dreamlike thought about the future". I'm always amazed at how the developing mind seems to have a threshold for joy and happiness, small dreams about the future create a clinging because it isn't here, big dreams about the future are sometimes pushed away because people can't hold onto big dreams without... feeling something almost like terror. There is definitely something interesting about how the mind both looks to the future and yet hides within the status-quo, this tension seems to cause a lot of suffering. But good practice and insights into the nature of mind seems to end this kind of suffering.


Thank you for your generousity Pawel! 

RE: Robert Wright interview with Kenneth Folk
Answer
7/18/16 5:00 PM as a reply to shargrol.
The way I do it is developing 'taste' of mindfulness. Despite being not very specific to outside observer this is imho most efficient way to meditate and only which is 100% pure meditation without all the useless actions. To make it more efficient it is done without seeming to be either done by me and not even on itself. And this direction was taken with everything regarding senses and actions. It is not about finding how reality is because these things are obviously visualized and rather it is optimization of mind.


What does this meditation look like on a practical level? Visualizations? Zazen/Shine'? Noting? Or maybe Shunyata, is my guess? I'm guessing the lack of doing is a post-enlightenment refinement and that meditation is always present? 

Another thing really understood at this time is 'God'. Not that I am much of an believer but going deep into nature of reality make some things obvious and experiences such as God possible. And it is most pleasant experience that can be possibly had. It literally burns mind when experienced.

What kind of process is this? How do you accomplish it?

Super quick summary would be that generally things happen on their own (but are not seen as happening on their own, rather just not done by me)

I am starting to see this working, but still wonder how exactly it works and how to best experiment with expanding it. Could you give some examples of it happening in your day to day life, and the processes you used to enhance it? My feeling is just that letting go of expectations or the need to guide any outcome is what is working for me so far.

Would you mind giving a more detailed explanation of what you mean by "reference experience"?

What practices, if you remember, did you find most useful in 3rd path, or the other paths, post Stream Entry?

Thank you in advance for making yourself available for these questions.