Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
Forum: The Big Issues

Lack of good, public information is what drives all the problems, imo. Lots of teachers say in their writing you can't do it (nearly as quickly) without them (in general, if not them in particular). I suspect there's some truth to that, but is it mostly just because there's effectively a cartel against accurate, public information?

For years MIT has made many of their course materials available for free to anyone with an internet connection, and even sends hard drives to institutions whose connections are too slow. Other top schools have followed suit. They aren't afraid, because what they're selling is the prestige and power of an actual degree, not the syllabi, videos, lecture notes, et al

Linux is a world-class operating system that is given away to one and all, complete with source code, and yet lots of companies make money from services and support.

What keeps those with high attainments from publishing more straight talk on the internet? Insulating oneself from the unpleasant feedback described in point one is pretty trivial, and it's very unlikely that everyone disagrees with DU's position.

If Buddha were alive, would he not have a web 2.0 attainment tracker interfaced to 43things and facebook; integrated dharma library searchable by level, technique, and sticking point; cell-phone apps enable satsang everywhere. "Leveling-up" becomes less about computer games. Yeah, there'd be competition about it, and lots of new slang ... so what? Compare the number of level 20 WoW players with the number of enlightened individuals. Which do you want more of?

"Shut him up. We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up."
-- Bill Hicks
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 3184 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
While I am too old and out of touch to get all of your internet references, the basic point remains and I agree with what you say. As one who has gone out there on a limb more than most, I can tell you it can be a very ugly business. That said, I am willing to try. However, a number of those in the DU have various professional and personal reasons why they don't want to be subjected to the kind of controversy and flack that can result from being out of the closet about attainments, and i know where they are coming from. However, there is hope for the dharma world, and we intend to be one small part of the force needed to change it into something that is as open as MIT and Linux. Let us know what you need, and we'll see if we can get someone to get it out there. As to dharma level by technique and sticking point, there is some progress to be found here and there on that front, and there is more on the way.
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
I'd love to see the nana/jhana table expanded. Possible ideas: one page per row or set of rows (maybe make the table into html with links), a more comprehensive glossary (what is "straight" spatial quality? "vedena"?), links to first person descriptions (from the glossary or the table), etc. It looks like a great cheat sheet for someone who's already familiar with the material, but seems a bit opaque for Open Dharma(tm).

From reading the book and my own meditation, I'd thought I had a decent understanding of the first couple jhanas, but now I'm not so sure from looking at the table. Richer descriptions and/or personal accounts of access concentration and the first few jhanas would be very helpful. Are the jhanas really as ordered and defined as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, et al makes it appear?
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
Ask and receive. Got my copy of Practical Insight Meditation today; I suppose Progress of Insight would provide further detail.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 3184 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
That's my favorite dharma book. It is practical, straightforward, and, if applied as directed, works basically as advertised. How's that for straightforward dharma? As to the fine points of the subjhanas, they are a more complex topic. I don't find the progress of insight to be quite as good, but it is useful. As to personal descriptions, I could write a book, but the basic facts and guideposts are already there. Basically, there are only a few things to know: practice on retreats all day noticing the three characteristics, recognize a few key stages: the Arising and Passing Away, the Dukkha Ñanas, and Equanimity: don't fall for any of their traps, meaning keep practicing every moment all day, and don't get lost in your content/stuff. That's it. If you can do that, the rest happens. If not, good instructions and fine points of exactly why I think cause and effect is 1.2, etc. won't help you much. Helpful?
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

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Hi Joriki,

I like the analogies you are using, especially with MIT's Open Courseware. I think being open about the dharma, including attainments, techniques, etc. is extremely important, and I agree with Daniel that there is already a move in that direction happening (though it's being slowed down by anti-hierarchy sentiments). My sense is that there are only going to be a certain portion of people (for developmental reasons) that could participate in the open way that you are describing (at least initially), but that as things change more and more people will be able to understand the depth perspective and begin to feel comfortable speaking in those terms.

That being said, I personally don't think a web 2.0 attainment tracker would be a good idea (at this point). The main reason being that meditative attainments are a bit harder to track, without some serious peer review, as things like WoW or other things that are based on objective activity. That being said, I could see this happening more when and if there are physical technologies that lend objective measurements to the subjective measurement criteria. Some combination of the two would probably be sufficient to have some sort of database of people's various levels of mastery. That would be pretty crazy, huh?
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
I don't want to automate any current system, I want to obsolete them. Peer review, and objective measurement sounds too much like gaining entry to the Secret Club, which isn't at all what I'm thinking of. Look at 43things: nobody runs around auditing people's lists of things done, 'cause there's not much to be gained by lying about it -- lots of people are already signed up to "achieve enlightenment" (but only 77% of those who've done it think it's worth doing...). With open dharma, there's probably less money to be made as a teacher, guru, cult-leader, etc. (or less demand for crap anyway). I'm fine with that. Auditing attainments sounds way too much like Scientology. "Order your brain-dharma electro-zen bluetooth yoga tracker now, just 108 payments of 39.99." Bah.

The only demand for "official" auditing, rating, etc. would be for teachers, near as I can tell. For most everyone else more information is all that's needed. Let's say you're a musician who picks up an instrument that hardly anybody plays. You don't really need to have 3 musicologists fly in from around the world to evaluate your play. A couple dozen mp3s of what the instrument sounds like when played right might be quite sufficient. Not everyone wants to be a teacher.

Open dharma chat rooms and forums would work well enough, assuming there is a solid body of vetted information to reference. Oh, wait ... here we are. ;-)
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 3184 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Good points. The open dharma thing does take the power of a lot of sacred cows, and that's what we are shooting for. As for Secret Clubs, well, actually this is the front for a secret club, but your point is well taken. None of the people in the club are all that jacked about it being secret, it just seems to be necessary for various reasons. Curiously, it is the people who are most integrated into dharma scenes that have the hardest time being open. I personally have no local sangha, don't teach locally, don't know of anyone locally who is into what I am into, so I can be as wide open on the net as I want to be and not risk anything. I am lucky enough to live and work in a place where no one would understand anything if I said it, so being open is a non-issue. It is people who are stuck in dharma scenes that have a harder time, particularly those that have jobs related to dharma scenes. The money thing clearly is often sticky poison when mixed with dharma.

As to the measurement thing, I think that it is not a crazy idea, just way beyond current technology. Something does change, and it probably has structural/electrical aspects that probably could be measured somehow, but we have a long way to go before that happens, so no worries.

As to open dharma chat, it is rarely about real practice, even here, so far. Practice, anyone? -Daniel
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Being a web project manager for a while, and using several open source projects (Drupal & Wordpress) I'd say there is a certain power in these kinds of projects, but that power is based on peer review and objective measurements. Programmers who actually show they can contribute to the project with something that hasn't been contributed before or that needs to be contributed (a new module or a bug patch on a current plugin, etc.) are the one's who become respected in those communities. Those people who create meaningless or worthless stuff to the community (i.e. those without skill), there stuff isn't used and more skilled in the community don't particularly care what they're doing. Indeed, when an open-source programmer is looking for a job, they have to show that they've made meaningful contributions to the open-source community and so peer-review (other skilled programmers making judgment calls about other's abilities) and objective measurements (did they create something that is useful, that people are actually downloading?) come into play even in an open-source community. An open-source dharma community would be no different, in my mind. And one need not be a teacher to share knowledge, and so having some way of assessing those people is helpful as well. emoticon

Just some thoughts... emoticon
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Good points, Vince. Actually, excellent points.:-) I'm sure peer-review and a track record may be implemented meaningfully in dharma, as any sort of reputation or status. BTW, we have some precedents for those in the traditions themselves (!).
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
Not sure if we disagree much... I don't think project = sangha as much as, say, project = dharma

Anyway, one way to be able to assess people sharing knowledge is to have a freely-available, high-quality yardstick.

Just to expand a bit: Granted, "dharma production" needs quality controls. "Dharma distribution", too, would benefit from "branding", seal of approval, trust networks, bare-knuckle reviews/critiques, et al. But I don't see any reason not to use the near-zero-cost distribution network of the internet to it's fullest. There is no area of human activity in which people who don't, for whatever reason, know what they're talking about feel free to share their ideas with everyone. Can't be avoided. All the more reason to make good information as freely and widely available as possible.

But again I find myself advocating the venue I'm using, so I'll stop now. :-)
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yeah, I don't think you'd really fit in here to well Michael. ;)

That being said, I think part of the reason is because you're anti-developmental perspective is a little lazy intellectually. No offense to you personally but these types of anti-developmental, anti-intellectual arguments just don't know hold water in nearly any way. The only thing I think that you're perspective is useful for is counter-acting a sense of striving, but then only as a practice-suggestion not as a philosophical position.

Best,

-Vince Horn
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Vince, a spiritual truth I learned from computer programming is: There's More Than One Way To Do It. Larry Wall even built this principle into his language, Perl. But then he makes no secret of his spirituality either.

One teacher calls this particular dichotomy "goal-oriented vs. source-oriented" practice.

Being dogmatic about this way or that way is, deep down, doubt, attachment to rites and rituals, self-view, in short, the stuff of the first few fetters.

Besides, who knows if we won't hit the point where we'll just need to recline in the suchness, or whatever it will be. emoticon

Cheers,
Florian
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
"The internet is loaded with real stuff for real "practioners" or questers and everyone. There is nothing to find, that is what you will find."

I'd beg to differ, and would extend that beyond the internet to dharma scenes in general. Let me provide an example: I spent probably an hour and half looking across the internet trying to find out something either describing, discussing, or explaining why I have been, e.g., shaking violently and breathing in a rapid, jerky pace. The closest thing I found was some article comparing "advanced Zen practic[e]" to LSD and birth trauma. But I've seen other folks do the same shaking routine. Now, the thing about it is, it happens and has happened to others, but I had to pry that out of a teacher unwilliing to discuss it. But if I look at some technically-orient works, like the commentaries or Daniel's book, I can find it there.

To take another example, if one wants to learn how to concentrate, having instruction (very hard to find) and descriptions of the states are tremendously useful. The question might be, "why", and the answer would be, because concentration is a tremendously helpful, and ridiculously enjoyable, skill. It is, however, a skill, and requires some training.

Maybe we don't need any of that information because it's just another trap and means of our defilement, but I suspect that some people (many of them) engaged in meditation have proclivities that make maps a valuable, wholesome tool.

To dismiss all this as being wrongfully "destination-oriented" is profoundly unfair to those who are floundering--are you going to tell them just to flounder? One doesn't get to profligate these pseudo-non-dual arguments on a dualistic level--the reasoning is no different than those Zen masters advocating war because there's no fundamental difference between Nippon and Nanking.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Oh, come on, don't be so modest. You've written a book!

Okay, maybe that was a little unkind. I've read the material on your site, which is more like a teaser. Since I can't read your book, can you tell us what it's about? Have you read Jack Kornfield's "A path with Heart"? If so, how would you say your book compares to or differs from that work?

Cheers,
Florian
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Hi Florian,

It's true that there is more then one way to get enlightened, but there are also many ways to interpret enlightenment (regardless of one's actually having realized it), and I think some are better then others. What I am challenging is Michael's philosophical position, as I think there are actually better positions to take that are more empowering and more conducive of actually doing the practices (whatever they may be) to actually wake up--which is what I'm personally most interested in. And I actually don't think it's a question of dichotomy as it is a question of integrating dichotomies. Anyone that hasn't done that, to me, is touting a philosophical belief system that isn't conducive to a mature flowering of insight. And the fact is that most of the mature teachers and practitioners I've met seem to have done this to some degree, even though they'll still emphasis one side over the other (as Daniel Ingram does). Even the most radical "non-dual" teachers will emphasize a practice or a developmental maturity at times, and so anyone who comes into the Dharma Overground and starts saying, "there is no attainment. None. Forget it." has to me either a) Not actually gone through the awakening process and seen for themselves that gradual and sudden are one, b) is currently in a phase of their practice (such as anagamihood) where they are directly perceiving the integrated nature of emptiness and form in such a way that has them start to de-emphasize development or any sort of attainment, or c) they somehow managed to wake up but have such a woefully bad philosophical framework that they're highly unlikely to be able to communicate it effectively to anyone else, let alone help them (which is probably a good thing in Michael's case, because as he said he isn't teaching).
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
In addition, if you get some value from Daniel Ingram's perspective, you may want to read his hard-hitting yet very perceptive article on this very issue: Why The Notion That You Cannot Become What You Already Are is Such Bullshit - http://www.interactivebuddha.com/bullshit.shtml

At this point I've been exposed far too many mature and integrated ways of holding the spiritual path that it's almost impossible to imagine trying to have a conversation about the fake dichotomy of "source vs goal-oriented" practice. Read the works of Ken Wilber, Daniel Ingram, Chinul, and others for great examples.

Both have good perspectives to offer, but the most important thing is that people wake up, and as Daniel points out in the article I linked to, naive notions of there being no attainment simply don't end up promoting the identity-deconstructing, three characteristic perceiving, practices that lead directly to realization.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pratyekabuddha


I wrote the second half about 8 years ago _Integrative_Awakening_ and printed some but didn't publish before I "quit" just before 9/11. Long story. Last spring I started writing again and what I wrote became a new "front-half" of a new book, which I'm reluctant to call The_Power_Of_YES since TPoNOW seems to have dibs on that title type -- maybe it will be _YES_As_A_Way_Of_Life_ or something individual. I'm up for hearing suggestions.
Anyway, the book is about Awakening, real live in your life and truthful as I can be. I believe I leave every single door I've seen could be open, open.
Here's a tiny sample.
{bookquote}
The message is this: don’t confuse realizations which others have had after their awakening with notions that those realizations could *precede* your awakening. They are evidence that it can be done, but not evidence of how to do it. If it ain’t about you, it’s just entertainment!
{/bookquote}

{monkeymindquote}
Have you read Jack Kornfield's "A path with Heart"? If so, how would you say your book compares to or differs from that work?
{/monkeymindquote}

I don't recall reading it. Understand, I avoided anything spiritual like the plague most of my life. At 18 I read Allan Watts and realized Yeah, That's What I'm Experiencing, and then he said that that was enlightened. Well, I knew I wasn't floating along glowing and nor (insert most all enlightenment myths here.) So I thought I must be crazy. Forty years later the first satsangi I ever met told me, well never mind... I've been enjoying this but since I'm sitting in my own "cylon of the mind" as a hermit expecting to die soon, I'm likely to post more messages than all of you combined!

I do read some of his After_The_Ecstasy_The_Laundry often . . .I write like this but we say most the same.
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
On U.G. Krishnamurti: He's an great figure, in that he was in a very bad mood for such a very long time, and it seemed to persist well after he got curb-stomped by non-duality. If anything he's a great example of how even upon awakening, you still have to deal with everything else, including your own bad mood. Ideally, figures like U.G. Krishnamurti will lead people to begin to have a more sane--but not disempowering, inaccurate or cynical--understanding about enlightenment.

On "dependence on practice": is wanting to develop something a "dependence"? Obviously that involves some "wanting", but what should one do in the alternative? Meditating is more wholesome than smoking crack and unlike a less taboo pleasure like, e.g., food, it doesn't involve the destruction of other beings' habitats or their very lives, nor the labor of others. Again, what is the alternative? Is it to, like with LSD, "trip in life"? What is it about living "life" that is so engaging, if we are to set up a dichotomy of life versus "glued up... dependence" on meditation or yoga or whatever? While certainly there are people who use meditation to avoid life, there are also plenty of people with full lives (jobs and home lives) who meditate, and some of them are even posting here. Like me, who had his workplace deadlines pushed back after finishing everything and now has little to do.
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

RE: Why hasn't the internet happened to teachers/attainers?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Yeah U.G. teaches in pretty a "spicy" way but he says some good stuff if it's taken the right way. I remember watching videos of his during my first dark night, and getting really really pissed off when he ranted about how enlightenment was quite impossible to reach and how spiritual seekers were "fools" or whatever. My memory is quite spotty but I think I actually resolved to step my dedication to the path up a notch if for nothing else to prove him wrong haha... So in addition to making people get a saner understanding of enlightenment he's good at annoying you and bringing out your shadow issues regarding the whole deal. On the other hand he is kind of nihilistic obviously, and it's probably difficult to get anywhere on his ramblings alone.

And it's easy to use meditation to avoid life, I thought that was the reason to really get into it in the first place? ;)

It seems as if at certain stages of the path, nihilism and negativity is useful but as one progresses one has to accept this whole "life thing" again. Except, life then has started to look totally different! It's very confusing, at least for me.

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