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new Culadasa podcast

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new Culadasa podcast
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6/20/18 9:00 AM
Culadasa talks stream entry, practice in daily life, the apocalypse, and more. Good stuff!


http://deconstructingyourself.com/podcast/dy-022-stream-entry-with-guest-culadasa

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/20/18 5:33 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
This was a very interesting conversation.  Thanks for posting it!

I found Culadasa's discussion of the three fetters to be interesting.  Paraphrasing, he explains the lack of belief in rites and rituals as a special understanding of causality.  He states that there is no magic, just perhaps causes and conditions that aren't fully understood.

In my own case, I interpreted the rites and rituals fetter to mean understanding through one's own experience that the direct observation of sensations with strong concentration and mindfulness is what allows the mind to recognize that there's a fundamental error in its self/world model and then try to correct that error.

In my experience, which was a change of self-model, but may not have been what you guys call stream entry, I didn't feel like I gained any special understanding of causality.  Personality view and skeptical doubt are definitely gone, though.  I actually started believing in "magick," but I'll outline that in another thread to avoid hijacking this one.

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/20/18 6:09 PM as a reply to dave m.
Yeah, I'm not so sure that what Culadasa refers to as magic is the same as the "magick" we talk about here, which in my mind still fits under the category of causes and conditions not fully understood. (Which gets me wondering if maybe one of the reasons it tends to show up or strengthen for people after shifts in practice is that they become better able to see causes and conditions--who knows?)

I like that he properly rejected materialism as not just inconsistent with dualism but widely discredited for a long time now. And cool to hear him talk about experiences of past lives. His interpretation fits with mine, that it feels totally real because you're identifying with it as if you're watching a movie, but it wasn't really "you" that had that life. 

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 12:02 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Awesome podcast and what a great teacher! Thanks for sharing.

Concerning what he said about past lives experiences, it's interesting but leaves a few questions, two broad categories of questions for me, unsatisfied.

First, out of all the potential lives that could be experienced (billions basically), why would a few partucular ones come up instead of others? What's the deciding factor? Random? But if everyting is cause and effect, then what is the causal links that make one experience particular past lives and not others?

Second, and most importantly, in the Buddha's account of past lives experiences, he not only experiences past lives visions, but the causal links between each lives. At least one living meditator (who's experience of past lives can be found on the French Buddhist site www.dhammadana.org), has also had such experiences, seeing causal (karmic) links between some 36 past lives up to his present one. For instance seeing how in one life craving a lot for the opposite sex was causally linked to being reborn as the opposite sex in the next life (kinda funny, turning into one's object of desire, anyway). Or how desire to be a monk in one life led to ordaining in the next, etc. 

I'm not saying this proves rebirth, but it makes Culadassa's interpretation of past lives experiences limited in undertanding aspects of those experiences, in particular the causal connections that some experience. If one is experiencing causal connections in past lives leading to the present one, it's more difficult to see this as merely taping into the lives of others through access to a collective mind.

In any case, that's more a peripheral interest to me (this rebirth thing) as I don't believe attaining the goals of practice is dependent on resolving or even addressing such issues. It seems there are and have been awakened people who take rebirth seriously and literally (such as Mahasi Sayadaw and many other asian masters) while other awakened people (many on this site) don't. So this rebirth thing does not seem to have to be related to awakening. Still, I find it fun to listen to stories and theories about it.

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 1:37 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Here's the problem I have with literally believing in past lives... these experiences appear in a very similar way that authors, songwriters, playwrites, storytellers, etc. develop scenes/stories -- >some< stuff comes fully formed and completely without conscious development. 

I think creativity is fundamentally a mystery. Yes people will say "it's my genius", "it's my intelligence", "it is my muse", "i'm a channel", "I'm the a medium", "i'm remembering other lives", "it is the cosmic unconscious", etc.  but all of these frameworks are basically unprovable.

Like the old pointing out questions: where does it come from, where does it stay, where does it go?

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 2:23 PM as a reply to shargrol.
The lengthy tome called When the Impossible Happens by Stan Grof recounts all kinds of weird, memory-related phenomena, including lots of past life memory accounts induced by high-dose psychedelics. If you believe Grof, some of these were confrmed in various ways by doing research on the events/people mentioned in them and finding stuff that, putatively, would have been impossible for the experiencer to have known or understood. Other reports in the book suggest that memories can start forming in the womb and that people can remember specific details of when they were born. 

The book is basically a collection of anecdotes from Grof's days of administering high-dose psychedelics of all kinds to various people (himself and his partners included) and patients. What seem to be past-life memories appear in trip reports on Erowid occasionally as well.

On the meditation front, I believe Jack Kornfield and Adyashanti are also among the teachers who have recounted having what appeared to be past-life memories.  

What to make of this? I have no idea.

But it's clear that intense, subjective experiences of apparent past lives may be a thing. It could help explain why the doctrine exists in the first place. 

I could be totally wrong here, but I believe one technique for experiencing this stuff is practiced in the Pa Auk Sayadaw lineage. Seems like it has something to do with taking the absolutely incredible level of concentration that they develop and "looking into" the heart center in a particular way. 

 

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 2:27 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
If one is experiencing causal connections in past lives leading to the present one, it's more difficult to see this as merely taping into the lives of others through access to a collective mind.
That's a good point, and I believe that seeing causal connections is sometimes a feature of the past-life experiences recounted by psychedelic jouneyers as well. It could all be metaphorical territory--a story the unconscious weaves in order to spur development and healing, or to explain to a person why she is the way she is--or it could be just what it seems to be! :-D  

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 3:03 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
I believe recollection of past lives is a practice in both the Visuddhimagga and the Vimuttimagga, so that gives it to us with an explicit method within Buddhist praxis at least back 1,500-1,800(+) years. 

I think the basic idea is you start with recollection of your most recent memories of today, then yesterday, then you go back until you were born. Then you keep going.

I find the essay The Truth of Rebirth And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu to be interesting. He basically goes: the suttas say that the Buddha was like 'this is true but has to be a matter of faith for you, but roll with this.'

It's hard to understand why modern scholars keep repeating the idea that everyone in India during the Buddha's time believed in rebirth. Actually, the Pali discourses provide clear evidence to the contrary, evidence that has been available in Western languages for more than a century.

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 3:49 PM as a reply to S..
I struggle to understand why reincarnation should matter to modern meditation practitioners, other than it appears to speak to the realms of existence (which I suspect are meant conceptually or metaphysically, not literally) and to karma (which I suspect applies to moment to moment existence and that arena of cause and effect, not the carrying of causation across epochs, eons, lives or species). I see Buddism as applying these kinds of concepts to states of mind (the realms, for example), and not to literal, physical occurrences.

So... what am I missing?

Here is Gil Fronsdal's take on reincarnation in Buddhism:

So, in considering whether I should believe in rebirth, I have so far not encountered the necessary evidence for the belief.  Just as important, I have not found a reason why such a belief would be necessary to motivate my practice.  And even if I could think of such a reason, I would still need some evidence.  For me to believe without proof goes against the lessons in integrity and careful discernment I have learned from Buddhism itself. In the meantime, I hope to remain unattached to any views that might be for, against, or agnostic about rebirth. I believe that peace is found in not clinging.

RE: new Culadasa podcast
Answer
6/21/18 4:07 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
No pun intended, but we've been here before [thread in which DhO folks discuss whether they've had past-life experiences]...
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2955183

Yeah, Chris, it doesn't matter much to me. 

The only exception I could see (and claimed instances of this are described in Grof's work) would be if some pattern of present-day behavior, harmful to oneself or others, were rooted in a past-life event. 

You're preoccupried with X and terrified of Y because of Z that happened when you were Eric the Red, but are totallly unaware of any of these causal connections and, so, continue to play out this scenario in an unconscious way.

We do this even within a single lifetime. Just last night I was talking to a former cop. He explained that he'd had a traumatic childhood and became a cop in order to protect others from what he had gone through. However, this was a trap: becoming a cop was just a route to being repeatedly re-traumatized himself and to treating perps the way his dad had treated him. Once he became aware of this pattern, he was no longer imprisoned by it. Before that, though, he was like a hamster on a wheel.

If past lives exist, and if past-life experiences can drive present behavior in wholly unconscious ways, there might be some value in seeing those causal connections in order to break them. 

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 5:43 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
If past lives exist, and if past-life experiences can drive present behavior in wholly unconscious ways, there might be some value in seeing those causal connections in order to break them. 

That's a big, a really really big IF  emoticon

JMHO, of course.

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/21/18 7:32 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
That's a big, a really really big IF  emoticon

I totally agree. 

RE: new Culadasa podcast
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6/22/18 2:53 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Has Culadasa ever talked or written from/about his vajrayana training?

RE: new Culadasa podcast
Answer
6/23/18 3:51 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
Has Culadasa ever talked or written from/about his vajrayana training?


Hello Kim! Culadasa is basically ordained in a "merged Theravada / Vajrayana doube tradition".

You can find some info about his lineage here:

https://dharmatreasure.org/upasaka-culadasa/
His principle teachers were Upasaka Kema Ananda and the Venerable Jotidhamma Bhikkhu, both of whom were trained in the Theravadin and Tibetan Karma Kagyu traditions by the Venerable Ananda Bodhi (Namgyal Rinpoche). Ananda Bodhi was originally a Theravadin teacher, but was later recognized by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa as the tulku Namgyal Rinpoche.


A Summary of the Lineage:

Upasaka Culadasa, ordained by
Upasaka Kema Ananda, ordained by
Namgyal Rinpoche (Ananda Bodhi), ordained by
His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, whose lineage is traced to the Buddha.

Upasaka Culadasa’s Dhammacariya (Dhamma teacher) was
Jotidhamma Bhikkhu, who was trained by
Namgyal Rinpoche (Ananda Bodhi).

Ananda Bodhi (Namgyal Rinpoche) was also ordained by
U Thila Wunta Sayadaw, ordained by
Bodaw Aung Min Gaung, ordained by
Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, whose lineage is traced to the Buddha.

Ananda Bodhi (Namgyal Rinpoche) was also trained by
U Narada (Mingun Jetawun Sayadaw), Sayadaw U Ariya, and Sayadaw U Pyin Nyein Da.


Notice that the links above are to pictures, which might be interesting for you.

RE: new Culadasa podcast
Answer
6/23/18 3:56 AM as a reply to neko.
Also see the interview here, from 0:55 (the link should be directly to that point in the video):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLq217PI-yY&t=55s