Epidemiology of enlightenment

Stick Man, modified 5 Years ago at 5/8/17 9:25 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/8/17 9:25 AM

Epidemiology of enlightenment

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Questions I've had nagging at me for ages are about how enlightenment experiences manifest systemically in the human population. I include what is referred here to as the mystical type of A&P event, because although the hard core here may not rate it on their maps very highly it still is commonly regarded as an important and highly valuable/transformative mystical experience.

If you could survey the global population would you find a predictable complex pattern emerging of spiritual experiences similar to the growth of viral outbreaks, or sprouting of fungal bodies, or other complex network effects ?

Are there clusters of spiritual fruiting bodies, local outbreaks of enlightenment, exponential growth rates, die-offs of the local enlightenment rate due to spiritual resource depletion ?

The global population has doubled in my lifetime, does that mean a proportional doubling of the number of people undergoing spiritual events, or is the rate greater than linear ?

Is this pointless geekery ? emoticon
Ben V, modified 5 Years ago at 5/8/17 6:53 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/8/17 6:53 PM

RE: Epidemiology of enlightenment

Posts: 394 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
Well there is a sutta where the Buddha is asked a somewhat similar question. He is asked whether one quater or half or the full population will eventually gain enlightenment in this world. His answer was that he didn't know whether a quater or half or full of the population will gain awakening, but that he knew that those who will gain awakening will do so through the four foundations of mindfulness. 

It's a kind of answer that sort of puts one back on the cusion emoticon

In any case, I have no answers to your question but this answer from the Buddha came to mind. Very pragmatic in the sense that the focus is brought back to the "how to" of awakening. 

Mind you, the Pali commentaries are full of stuff dealing with the kind of questions you raised. But I'm not so familiar with them.

All the best.
Daniel M Ingram, modified 5 Years ago at 5/9/17 3:25 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/9/17 3:25 AM

RE: Epidemiology of enlightenment

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I, too, would love that sort of data about the epidemiology of awakening, being as I have an MSPH in epidemiology and care about awakening.

If and when someone finally does that study, I predict that they find the A&P happening to vastly more people than anyone would have imagined before, and it explaining phenomena as diverse as there seeming to be a church on every corner in the sleepy little back roads of Alabama to some of the PTSD that many soldiers experience after powerful experiences during war to Waco to some of the things researched by DARPA...

The first steps would be to operationalize the definitions of the stages and create criteria that are held in some loose way that is open to additional phenomenological description rather than close dogmas that limit further research, as well as increased emphases on developing practitioner/researchers that will be able to go into that territory with both solid training in the scientific method but also personal experience that helps them recognize what they are seeing in the field, as the eye can't see well what the brain doesn't know.
Stick Man, modified 5 Years ago at 5/9/17 4:17 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/9/17 3:57 AM

RE: Epidemiology of enlightenment

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Hi Dan, I expect that you're familiar with many endeavours in this area. I've seen a few projects whilst googling over the years - surveys and studies. I like to watch vids on the exponential growth of networks like cities and companies. I was thinking that if there is a non-linear growth of things like prosperity, education level, innovation, crime etc. due to the greater efficiences of large agglomerations of urban networks, then there may also be a growth of the frequency of spiritual experiences too. Rather than urban life being something that separates us from spirituality by distancing us from nature, which is an (understandeable) modern trope, maybe it actually increases the likelihood. This would be a good question for people at the Santa Fe Institute, or some such (hand waves and hope someone asks it).

So, yeah, for anyone interested there are a few survey projects and attempts at measurement out there that are easy to find online
http://www.studyspiritualexperiences.org/ - "the work of the naturalists". Lovely accents.
or do your own

world inside, modified 5 Years ago at 5/10/17 11:15 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/10/17 10:47 AM

RE: Epidemiology of enlightenment

Posts: 14 Join Date: 6/4/13 Recent Posts
This is the same type of discussion wherein most people on this/other forums believe meditation should be a compulsory subject in schools. Wouldn’t that be the easiest way to publish statistics?

However, the reality is that, it’s not the case today. A long shot (most people won’t agree/believe) which could at-least give ~15% visibility in this context, I believe is : by making Birth Time reporting/recording compulsory along with Birth Date in most personal records. Then, this data is shared with pre-signed NDAs with certified Application Developers for research, development, survey, analytics, etc. Similar to credit score & Credit Karma, maybe we can call it actual karma :-)

The Birth could help in generating a close-to-precise horoscope (generally online/with pre-set programs these days). Some integration and data warehousing there should be a good dreaming spot. Now, it’s is a common belief that personal future in order words the SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of a person's life could be done with the help of sunsign/moonsign based personal horoscope/natal chart. However it’s a less known fact that if correlated/aggregated data available for masses, could be helpful in predicting even major catastrophic mass destruction events like wars, natural calamities, political instability, etc. For example (experts don’t quote me, just an example): 'Everyone born in/after 1984 shows Neptune in 7th house from Natal'. Suggests no world war period?

In other words, the same applies for liberation, I'm told that generally the Natal-Chart especially the 8th and 12th house from Natal shows common characteristics of people who are near liberation. Strong Jupiter, Jupiter in 8th house, etc. are one of some common terminologies used most of the times.(again don’t quote me, just an example)

There are several transcripts (manuscripts) which even talk about the galaxy that we live in, has a solar system of liberated being (Dev Lokas?) which circle closer to the earth's solar system every 25000 years. When it moves closer, the Chemical – ether (not the diethyl or flammable one ofcouse) in the air increases and people are naturally more inclined towards meditation, because it grounds your mind, they say. On the contractrary when it distances itself from us, dark ages, recessions, world wars, etc happen due to increasing greed/craving whatever you may call it. During the stages where the Dev Lokas are closer to us, the depiction of such in horoscopes would be a great gift and enhancement to mankind overall. That is where even the concept of Yugas come into picture most people say. Example: The solar system being far (Kali Yuga), being closest (Satya Yuga) and so on. Proper depiction using a space telescope like Hubble (now retired) would help.

In any case, it is believed that 2025 would be the end of Kali Yuga which would mean progressive thinking and more adaptability towards meditation. This is seen in both the Birth Charts and general observation of the world now & around. TedX, Goenka Institude, Thervada, Internal Insight, etc. none of it existed before, which is now multiplying the reach of insight to people.
Whether we believe it or not, sure this would very well be classified as dogma, but this is all conceptual until some billionaire decided to invest. The news that Elon Musk investing in use for Telepathy to interact with computers using brain chips was one such encouraging step to me.

My apologies if this was too much dogma and stories, but when practicing true Metta, this is all what comes to my mind during my quick reflection phases.
Stick Man, modified 5 Years ago at 5/10/17 10:51 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/10/17 10:51 AM

RE: Epidemiology of enlightenment

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
I'm an aquarius so I don't really believe in astrology.
world inside, modified 5 Years ago at 5/10/17 12:30 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/10/17 11:06 AM

RE: Epidemiology of enlightenment

Posts: 14 Join Date: 6/4/13 Recent Posts
:-) Fair enough.

Even buddha states that - It is not necessary that one should first accept the reality of these thirty-one planes to progress in Dhamma. But this is something that can be experienced in a very pragmatic fashion. Debiliated planets when they have a transit of planets 'dasha' on your chart, you would feel increased sesation in the planes affecting it. If you believe in energy fields, forces and pressure around then this would not be a tough thing to digest. An example again: Debiliated/Enemy Jupiter would blow up your self-ego making you not wanting to respect anyone elder to in age/position/etc. even your boss :-). In Insight world, constant gross sensations on the back of the head/upper spine area (Vishuddha/Throat chakra region).

My two cents, if this is something that helps in your practise use it or forget it. Be happy!