Hokai Sobol podcast interview

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Matthew O'Connell, modified 3 Years ago.

Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
Hokai Sobol, past original participant here at the Dharma Overgound has reappeared in the public sphere with an interview for our Imperfect Buddha podcast over at Soundcloud. It's a two-parter with the first being on approaches to Buddhism and the second, to be up in a week or two, on the path and practice.

Here's the link if it interests you to listen: Hokai Sobol on Buddhism

To add, Hokai is fielding questions for a follow up episode. If you guys have thoughts on Buddhism, mysticism, practice, waking up for teacher like Hokai that teaches from a background in Shingon.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

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Awesome, thanks Matthew!
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Laurel Carrington, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/7/14 Recent Posts
Wonderful interview! I can't wait to hear part II. 
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Great interview. He is masterful in his political skills, getting in his subtly subversive points while still seeming perfectly reasonable and brilliant with just the right amount of sly Eastern European cynical snark yet tempered by a hard-won maturity.

But, for a man of his level of power, which is rare in this world, he is oddly cautious, I feel, too cautious, and I wonder what he imagines he has to lose?

So, to be honest, you know what I want to hear? Drunken Hokai, like the Drunken History YouTube videos, about 6-8 solid shots of strong Russian vodka into it, or however much ethanolic solvent it takes to dissolve the last filters, at about 2am, walking along a dock somewhere by the sea on a moonlit night, talking about what happened with his Shingon lineage adventures and what he really thinks about the dharma these days!

That would be some seriously fresh, real, powerful dharma, I believe.

Thanks for your great work, and best to you and Hokai!

Daniel
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Matthew O'Connell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
Thank you Daniel. I agree on the whole, especially concerning the real potential for subversive thought that Hokai is so good at but I am just glad that we managed to get an interview out. The next half will be up in a week.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 1493 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
If I understand correctly that there will be a follow-up after this two-part interview, then my questions are...


"You have students from a variety of traditions, do you see any patterns in what a student's background is and the specific challenges that brings them to you?" (i.e. one extreme is "if you do tradition x you tend to have y problem" vs. the other extreme "it's all random, no pattern")

"Do you tend to use a particular model or paradigm for guiding your students?"

"Why do you think the Shingon 10 minds model isn't more widely known/used? What are its strengths/weaknesses?"
https://www.hokai.info/2011/12/ten-levels-of-mind/

"You said that there is a certain point where an aspect of seeking ends.  For lack of a better term, let's call that 'a basic awakening'. Do you work with many students after they have a basic awakening? What kind of practices/work do you do with them?"


Thanks again Matthew!
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Matthew O'Connell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
Thank you for the questions. I shall add them to the list and we'll see where Hokai goes with them. Appreciated.
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Kim Katami, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 698 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Great interview...

But, for a man of his level of power, which is rare in this world, he is oddly cautious, I feel, too cautious, and I wonder what he imagines he has to lose?

So, to be honest, you know what I want to hear? Drunken Hokai, like the Drunken History YouTube videos, about 6-8 solid shots of strong Russian vodka into it, or however much ethanolic solvent it takes to dissolve the last filters, at about 2am, walking along a dock somewhere by the sea on a moonlit night, talking about what happened with his Shingon lineage adventures and what he really thinks about the dharma these days!

That would be some seriously fresh, real, powerful dharma, I believe.

Thanks for your great work, and best to you and Hokai!

Daniel

I second that. Thanks again for good work Matthew.
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Noah D, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 1103 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
This interview helps explain why Hokai was so nice to me when I came to him after working with a pragmatic teacher! 

;)  Just kidding, he was a complete dick.  Had I only known his perspective differed so drastically from that of pragmatic dharma, I probably would have skipped the call.

Anyhoo, interesting philosophical discussion.  I do find myself to be less and less of a fan of his material the more I come in contact with.  Thanks for posting.

EDIT: However, I am grateful for Hokai being so discouraging because it taught me to be disingenously poetic & "mystical" in the way I frame my practice to new teachers.  I've had interactions with numerous teachers since that time & they have all gone much more harmoniously.  
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

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That's weird, Noah. I've never known Hokai to be anything but polite and communicative. I'm sorry your interaction with him was no negative.
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Noah D, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

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Chris Marti:
That's weird, Noah. I've never known Hokai to be anything but polite and communicative. I'm sorry your interaction with him was no negative.
Thanks Chris.  I was really excite d to speak with him having heard a lot of good things.  I don't think he appreciated me coming right out of the gates with discussion of numbered path attainments.  It was a learning experience in tact & subtlety of communication.
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

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I don't think he appreciated me coming right out of the gates with discussion of numbered path attainments.

Last time I saw him he was quite clear - he does not appreciate pragmatic dharma practictioners' tendency to talk about path attainments and "where I am on a map", and all those kinds of things. He said so more than once to a few of us.
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Matthew O'Connell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
Why don't you guys formulate a decent question or two on this topic? Something impersonal that speaks to attainments, progress and the rest. I am someone who has gained immensely from Hokai's input as well as the revolution triggered by Dan & Co & for me at least, they are different paradigms.
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 3774 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Ok Matthew, here's my question for Hokai:

"In some dharma circles progress along the path is discussed openly, even compared person to person, defined and described. In your experience and opinion, is this practice valuable? Is the open discussion of progress helpful? Is it hurtful? Should it be discussed publicly, or left between student and teacher? If it's hurtful, can you please explain why you believe it to be so?"
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Matthew O'Connell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
Looks like a good set of Qs. Thanks.
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Noah D, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 1103 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Matthew O'Connell:
Why don't you guys formulate a decent question or two on this topic? Something impersonal that speaks to attainments, progress  and the rest. I am someone who has gained immensely from Hokai's input as well as the revolution triggered by Dan & Co & for me at least, they are different paradigms.

Well, on this topic, I thought he was quite clear in the first interview.  Namely, that he has no interested in students whose practice hopes include improving the quality & content of life, achieving specific stages of awakening, etc.

I would be curious to hear if he has any plans on unpacking tantra or Mahamudra in a pragmatic manner and releasing that material for the public, although it sounds like he does not.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/7/14 Recent Posts
This is more of a comment than a question, which is the fact that I appreciate the way he divides the territory of western Buddhism in particular into three parts, the first being a social/ritualistic component, the second a therapeutic component, and the third mystical. He is able and willing to perceive mixing the first two, but wants to keep the third clear of entanglement. This leaves the mystic, a rare person, with realizations that are just as likely to lead to pain as to improvements in life. Hokai has a clear aversion to spiritual materialism in all forms. Unfortunately, mindfulness as a whole is all too often sold to students as a life-improving practice. Hokai attributes to true mystics a purity of motive, the relentless pursuit of truth no matter where it takes us. This emphasis helps explain why he would reject maps as the wrong focus (because they tend to orient people to a hope for good stuff at the end of the path. 

Maybe my question is whether this summary is accurate, and if so, couldn't maps be a tool for people to understand their minds? Which is, after all, a bit of truth.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 1493 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
It's funny, I could hear the inner Hokai in my head after reading your post Laurel... I heard "Do we really understand our minds?" emoticon  But more seriously, that's a good question and expands upon Chris' list of questions about what is the value of maps and what is hurtful about maps in his opinion.
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

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My humble opinion is that the mind is inscrutable as a practical matter and thus cannot be mapped meaningfully for individual practitioners. It's a process that arises dependently, not an object.

I'm also wondering what Hokai would say.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 1493 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Yes, that's the kind of context I was half-jokingly replying from. While obviously we learn A LOT about the mind through meditation and mapping, and there is a broader benefit to assiting others find some clarity through sharing our experiences and the maps that have worked for us... Yet, realizing the interdependent nature of the mind, there is a certain amount of humility and powerlessness that comes from seeing that we don't really know what tomorrow brings in this interdependent universe. We influence things for the better as best we can... but still...
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 3774 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
The bottom line is that literally all of our experience is dependently arising, subject to the three characteristics. If you don't buy into that (hopefully from personal observation, experience and realization, not from belief) you can't call yourself a buddhist.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Hokai Sobol podcast interview

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/7/14 Recent Posts
Well then, I'm a Buddhist emoticon. I don't want to sound as if I think the mind is something for "us" to understand, just say that in the aim for truth, mapping the stages the mind undergoes provides insight. 

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