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Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch

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Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch D C 8/24/10 9:43 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch John White 8/23/10 3:40 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch tarin greco 8/26/10 2:48 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch John White 9/6/10 1:48 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Alex R 6/7/11 11:59 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Steph S 8/23/10 5:10 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch John White 8/24/10 9:09 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch D C 8/24/10 9:48 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch John White 8/24/10 11:25 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch D C 8/25/10 2:16 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch D C 8/25/10 12:19 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch John White 8/25/10 11:03 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch John White 8/25/10 7:32 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch mico mico 8/24/10 11:14 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Change A. 8/24/10 12:58 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Luciano de Noeme Imoto 8/24/10 2:54 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Change A. 8/25/10 11:30 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Daniel M. Ingram 8/26/10 2:03 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Change A. 8/27/10 12:23 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Steph S 8/24/10 6:22 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch John White 8/24/10 7:15 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch tarin greco 8/27/10 12:16 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch tarin greco 8/24/10 10:16 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Change A. 8/24/10 10:39 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Neil Hughes 8/24/10 11:58 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch tarin greco 8/27/10 12:31 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Neil Hughes 8/27/10 4:32 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch tarin greco 8/27/10 6:12 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch Neil Hughes 8/28/10 7:15 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch D C 8/29/10 5:16 AM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch tarin greco 8/31/10 2:44 PM
RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch #1 - 0 6/8/11 9:16 AM
Thanks Tarin and Daniel. That was a fantastic, inspiring conversation. You came across as excited - in the best sense of the word, sane, intelligent, and convincing. And I'm warming to the rather clinical style that AF seems to produce in its adherents. Perhaps it just takes some getting used to. And yes, I feel I know the PCE - or at least, the excellence experience. And the idea of cultivating good feelings is, indeed, spritual practice 101, as Daniel says.

There remain some questions in my mind, however. The most important - and inadequately treated in the discussion - was whether to practice an insight method leading to arahatship, or actualism, leading to AF. Daniel was of the opinion that one should first attain arahatship, while Tarin thinks as soon as one understands what the PCE is one should pursue it. These are two very different answers.

I think there is a lot more anxiety/confusion around this than is being acknowledged. This site is built on the back of a book detailing and extolling the path to arahatship via insight practice. This is a long and difficult path for most of us requiring considerable effort and time. Now we are being offered another, supposedly better, model of attainment attainment sourced from a single individual and a website that does not inspire confidence. (Kudos to you Tarin for seeing past that) A model of practice which, moreover, promises to eliminate all affect, and with that all being. Despite all this there is not much clarity on how to work through the choice. How about a model of practice that effectively works for both? Can you give this some more thought guys. Perhaps all that is needed is a sticky suggesting methods that might be used concurrently in both modes. A sort of modified metta, for example, strikes me as one link between actualism and insight practice. In broad terms, at least.

Related to this first point and it's fears, is the fact that Tarin, Daniel, and Trent have all trained in the Theravaden model of Buddhism. Mahayana is known to take the development of consciousness beyond Theravada. I see no real engagement with Vajarayana or Zen for example, to guage whether or not the state of AF is found in those traditions. Tarin says he has read no accounts that speak of any such state, nonetheless, I'd still like to see what the reaction of say, Daniel Brown, or Reginald Ray, or Adyashanti would be to the actualism and its claims. More than that, I'd love these/other high level adepts to actually try out the actualism method. More road testing of actualism would be great. I have no doubt of the existence, potency and appeal of AF, what I'd like to see is greater integration and context. When is Buddhist Geeks going to organize a round table discussion on actualism between Daniel Brown, Daniel Ingram, Tarin Greco and ..... you fill in the gaps .

I have some further questions and remarks to make about being and emotions, and the rather confusing way they are spoken of in the discussion, but I'll leave those for another time. Thanks again Tarin and Daniel. I love your sense of exploration and adventure!


Damon

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/23/10 3:40 PM as a reply to D C.
I am delighted to have read your post Damon, as I feel very similar, and am wondering now how to proceed - strive for arahatship first, or go for the direct route to AF, which so far very few people on this entire planet, that we know of, have done. And according to Richard, only one has done this who had not spent time with him, though this number may be outdated by now. Or a combination of both?

I think one thing is clear - it's up to us. We have to experiment and find our way. We are so fortunate that Tarin and Trent, who know the insight path, have been so helpful. So maybe there are no clear maps right now, but there is quite a bit of guidance. From reading the numerous AF related posts, it appears many here are exploring, with success, and are relating their experiences, and who knows, maybe some will or already have gotten AF. Still, I don't yet feel I have a handle on the methods described. And I do wonder, perhaps in this collective exploration, some new and better methods, or more clarity regarding the existing methods, will emerge.

I know many of my questions have already been asked and answered in the various threads - there's a ton of info in them - so looks like I'll have to go back and re-read. It would be very helpful for someone to go through them and compile a list of all the AF/PCE methods being used, and the various interpretations of these, experiences, explanations - perhaps it's time for the AF wiki to get going? I would certainly be willing to help in this.

In a post from 'AF and Insight: PCE Mode and Cycling Mode' Daniel I. mentions that accessing PCE's is more readily done with eyes open. So I wonder if this is a good starting point, not yet abandoning insight practice, perhaps it's a good idea to meditate with eyes open? I was doing more and more of this on my last goenka course and found it very grounding.

In one post, don't recall where, Tarin seemed to say Goenka style practitioners were more inclined to access PCE's. I would be very interested for this point to be elaborated on. One question here - during the PCE, or in AF, how does one experience one's body? Richard said that the feeling of inhabiting a body was the very sense of self to be eradicated. Ok, I get that in PCE/AF there's nobody left to inhabit the body, but does this mean you don't feel your foot, or whatever? And if you do feel the sensations on the skin as the sense of touch, isn't this just like Goenka 101?

My mind has been torn asunder this past week, with all the input from these amazing posts, but now I am more focused, thanks again Damon.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/23/10 5:10 PM as a reply to D C.
D C:

There remain some questions in my mind, however. The most important - and inadequately treated in the discussion - was whether to practice an insight method leading to arahatship, or actualism, leading to AF. Daniel was of the opinion that one should first attain arahatship, while Trent thinks as soon as one understands what the PCE is one should pursue it. These are two very different answers.


This has been on my mind too. There's part of me that wants to go for arahatship first because of, as Daniel remarked in the discussion, the uncannily high success rate of arahats attaining AF. The other part of me wants to be a renegade and forge my own path. Perhaps it would be incredibly useful to have non-highly attained practitioners achieve AF (regardless of tradition or meditative experience), to prove it IS possible for everyone and make it more easily accessible.

So far my experience with forging my own path has been like this:
It is very easy for me to evaluate HAIETMOBA and the vast majority of the time I am doing very well. When I am not doing so well, I can figure out why also very easily. Further, I can see that any reasons I have so far had for not doing well were not justifiable. Thus, it was much better to return to being happy immediately, and so I have. I'm not sure I've experienced a full blown PCE yet. There is, however, a general feeling of things being effortless, noticing fine details, and getting irritated far less. Probably the biggest difference I've noticed is returning to a more uninhibited feeling of closeness and caring for the well being of others, whether strangers or people I know well. In the past I have noticed a tinge of greed in my wish to be happy and in pursuing whatever path I chose. This has not been in a destructively greedy manner, but I can now discern I was doing it for my own benefit foremost and not so much focusing on the benefit of all others. I feel like this has greatly diminished and I can see beyond "myself" much more clearly.

Where I could use some explanation or examples is what John was also wondering....

John White:

One question here - during the PCE, or in AF, how does one experience one's body? Richard said that the feeling of inhabiting a body was the very sense of self to be eradicated. Ok, I get that in PCE/AF there's nobody left to inhabit the body, but does this mean you don't feel your foot, or whatever? And if you do feel the sensations on the skin as the sense of touch, isn't this just like Goenka 101?


I'm not sure I understand what "centerlessness" physically feels like.

Steph

(edited for grammar)

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 9:09 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph: Probably the biggest difference I've noticed is returning to a more uninhibited feeling of closeness and caring for the well being of others, whether strangers or people I know well. In the past I have noticed a tinge of greed in my wish to be happy and in pursuing whatever path I chose. This has not been in a destructively greedy manner, but I can now discern I was doing it for my own benefit foremost and not so much focusing on the benefit of all others. I feel like this has greatly diminished and I can see beyond "myself" much more clearly.

Hi Steph - just read this from Peter's page at AF site, maybe will add clarity:

The way to begin is simply to make becoming actually happy and harmless the primary aim in one’s life....It is the acknowledging of aggression in oneself that is the key to wanting to change irrevocably. If one only wants happiness for oneself then that is insufficient motive or intent to get stuck into the business of irrevocably changing oneself. It needs an altruistic motive rather than the mere self-gratification of being happy and that motive is to be actually peaceful – to do no harm to one’s fellow human beings, as in not instinctually feeling aggression towards others, not instinctually feeling sorrow for others, not being blindly driven to nurture others and not being blindly driven to desire power over others.

It seems there are other renegades here in Dho, not yet enlightened, forging ahead. It's really quite a fascinating situation.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 9:48 AM as a reply to John White.
Yana and John,

Its clear many of us are very attracted to the actualism method. As Daniel says in his discussion with Tarin, this is a method that appears to be good on all counts - fantastic in outcome and also great on the way there. I find the actualism method of practice - cultivating naivete and good feelings along with noticing the pleasure of sheer sensate experience to be very easy to take to. I'd just like some a little more clarity and consistency.

John, you say that there have been many great posts on AF and how to attain it, with some great practice notes; True enough, but those posts are all over the place and mixed in with a great deal of talk that I find less than compelling and useful. They certainly don't meet the standards of practice based reports which Daniel values so highly for insight practice and which are supposed to be the backbone of this site.

I'm also very unclear about the terminology: 'being' 'self' 'affect' 'emotion' et al seemed to be used in ways that are contradictory. For example, how can 'being' dissapear yet there be a 'self' over in the corner going 'wow' at the PCE as reported by Tarin. It's not that I doubt the existence or special nature of AF, I just think its time to pull it all together and clarify terms and approach - to this point - in a more focused fashion. And if the result is inconclusive, fine, I'd still like to know that. It might be that I just need to throw myself bravely into actualism. I'm still hoping that I can combine both effectively.

And this idea of heaven on earth baffles me. Is that really what is going on? If being happy and harmless is so potent and effective,how is it that the human race has evolved to have feelings. Why isn't the AF our default state? Why feelings? Why pain? Is it that the world is illogical/irrational and we have to fight our way towards this happiness. A happiness that some guy in Australia, who doesn't really seem to get the spiritual traditions he dismisses, is the first person in human history to discover? Really?

Anyway, now I'm committing the very sin I complain of above - speculation rather than solid practice based report.

As you say, it really is quite a fascinating situation.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/25/10 7:32 AM as a reply to John White.
One thing that really struck me is this statement by Richard -

"Becoming free of the human condition is a physiological occurrence, centred at the nape of the neck (the top of the brain-stem/base of the brain), wherein the ‘lizard-brain’ mutates out of its primeval state ...
The day finally dawns when something irrevocable happens inside the skull. In an ecstatic moment of being present, ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul expire. ‘I’ the personality and ‘me’ the being ceases to exist, permanently. There is a sensation inside the top of the brain-stem that is experienced as a physical ‘turning over’ of some kind ... something that can never, ever, turn back. Something irrevocable happens and everything is different, somehow, although everything stays the same physically ... with the outstanding exception of a perfection and purity permeating all and everything.
Something has changed, although it is as if nothing has happened ... except that the entire world is a magical fairy-tale-like playground full of incredible joy and delight that is never-ending. "

I am very curious to know if Tarin or Trent experienced this same 'turning over' inside the skull.

Richard also says that the genetic coding, which contains the reptilian response of aggression, is actually deleted like software from the brain. This is quite a statement, as it suggests to me a significant advancement in evolution. This seems (edited) very different to me than Kenneth Folk's opinions for example, that AF is simply a shift in perspective, or that the PCE experience is no more than the basic zen or vipassana exercise of mindfully eating a raisin. Sounds to me it's more in line with what Tarin expressed at the very beginning of the AF podcast at Hurricane Ranch - that the PCE fits the traditional mode of enlightenment, as found in the old texts.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 11:14 AM as a reply to John White.
John White:
Sounds to me [...] that the PCE fits the traditional mode of enlightenment, as found in the old texts. Big difference in my book.

It would be great to have this worked out in more detail. But there seems to be a reluctance which comes from people having positions which already answer the question, so I'm not hopeful. (But then, what happened to the Bernadette Roberts thread? Or am I just a great cherry picker?)

Here I offer some more questions for potential takers out there:

1) If a pce involves an effective re-alignment of consciousness with its content (does it not?), can something then be said as to why enlightenment may be a better spring board to an AF?

2a) How do enlightenment insights translate into AF discernment in a way which is reversible or symmetric? Or put glibly, what is a non-enlightened AF'er missing out on? (I'll guess: they don't have to, and, nothing.)

2b) If AF removes the paradigms which allow clear discernment to be imaginatively exploded into the multifarious and kaleidoscopic spiritual models and traditions we have, are the latter reduced to paths to AF with no intrinsic value or meaning of their own? (For example, is there a difference between 'seeing true nature' and 'seeing'. And if the answer is obvious... then in what way does the affective faculty turn 'seeing true nature' into not quite 'seeing true nature'? Or is it more the case that it turns seeing into 'seeing true nature'?)

2c) Is an AF just enlightenment without the (self, however empty) sense of being? Or does it require more (or less!) transformation to get the job done properly?

3) And yes, what was that about how can things arise in the first place if they are supposed to be not sticking?

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 11:25 AM as a reply to D C.
Hi DC,

I feel some inclination to sort through the many many posts and compile the parts I deem relevant. There's quite a bit good stuff in there, particularly Tarin and Trent's responses to questions. I think it will be well worth the effort, and will post if if/when it happens.

I am finding so far that the question of whether to go for enlightenment or straight for AF is not as big as I imagined. I still love to sit everyday, do samathas and insight practice, I don't see this changing much. Then for the rest of the day, with the AF methods in mind, I find my attentiveness to be more energized, no matter what mundane thing I'm doing. Whether to do more retreats or not, this is still a question.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 12:58 PM as a reply to mico mico.
Mic Hoe:
3) And yes, what was that about how can things arise in the first place if they are supposed to be not sticking?


They didn't walk the full length so that to be of help to other people, trying to get the rest of the world to be enlightened.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
denial of the human condition
Answer
8/24/10 2:54 PM as a reply to Change A..
They didn't walk the full length so that to be of help to other people, trying to get the rest of the world to be enlightened.


About your "walk the full lenght", we are here now because that first fish who thought they could walk did not give up emoticon

http://www.buzzinn.net/img/nature/strangest-and-rarest-animals-in-world/strangest-and-rarest-animals-in-world30.jpg

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 6:22 PM as a reply to John White.
John White:

Hi Steph - just read this from Peter's page at AF site, maybe will add clarity:

The way to begin is simply to make becoming actually happy and harmless the primary aim in one’s life....It is the acknowledging of aggression in oneself that is the key to wanting to change irrevocably. If one only wants happiness for oneself then that is insufficient motive or intent to get stuck into the business of irrevocably changing oneself. It needs an altruistic motive rather than the mere self-gratification of being happy and that motive is to be actually peaceful – to do no harm to one’s fellow human beings, as in not instinctually feeling aggression towards others, not instinctually feeling sorrow for others, not being blindly driven to nurture others and not being blindly driven to desire power over others.


Sums it up perfectly. Thanks for that!

John White:

It seems there are other renegades here in Dho, not yet enlightened, forging ahead. It's really quite a fascinating situation.


John White:

I feel some inclination to sort through the many many posts and compile the parts I deem relevant. There's quite a bit good stuff in there, particularly Tarin and Trent's responses to questions. I think it will be well worth the effort, and will post if if/when it happens.


Would this be sort of like a FAQ for AF in general? I was planning to add an Actualism method practice notes thread to this forum. For all of us who are working towards either just getting a PCE or totally for AF, this could be a running dialog of trial and error we've had so far, our own modifications, what's happening currently with our practice, etc. I'll try to draft up some more detailed notes of my own practice/experiences with this tonight and get it up here.

Steph

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 7:15 PM as a reply to Steph S.
you're welcome Steph. I will PM you regarding the other things - jw

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 10:16 PM as a reply to D C.
D C:
Thanks Tarin and Daniel. That was a fantastic, inspiring conversation.


you're welcome.


D C:

You came across as excited - in the best sense of the word, sane, intelligent, and convincing. And I'm warming to the rather clinical style that AF seems to produce in its adherents.


it isn't so bad after all, is it, to have the thoughts which you've found worthwhile enough to type out and send to others to read addressed and replied to in a thorough, clear, and forthright manner?


D C:

Perhaps it just takes some getting used to. And yes, I feel I know the PCE - or at least, the excellence experience. And the idea of cultivating good feelings is, indeed, spritual practice 101, as Daniel says.


it may be relevant here to point out that there is a tripartite division, in the context of actualism, between good feelings, bad feelings, and felicitous feelings.. and to point out that the practice advocated does not involve the cultivation of feelings which are blissful or loving or trusting ('good' feelings), but the cultivation of those which are happy or joyful or delightful (felicitous feelings). understanding the difference is key, as the former group only antidotally pacify the 'bad' feelings (the hostile or fearful or lonely ones), whereas the the latter group makes those feelings obsolete.. and paves the way to excellence and the pce.


D C:

There remain some questions in my mind, however. The most important - and inadequately treated in the discussion - was whether to practice an insight method leading to arahatship, or actualism, leading to AF. Daniel was of the opinion that one should first attain arahatship, while Trent thinks as soon as one understands what the PCE is one should pursue it. These are two very different answers.


so, daniel thinks one think, while trent thinks another. as you have had, by now, two more days in which to think about the matter, then let me ask you this: what do you now think?


D C:

I think there is a lot more anxiety/confusion around this than is being acknowledged. This site is built on the back of a book detailing and extolling the path to arahatship via insight practice. This is a long and difficult path for most of us requiring considerable effort and time. Now we are being offered another, supposedly better, model of attainment attainment sourced from a single individual and a website that does not inspire confidence. (Kudos to you Tarin for seeing past that)


hm.. what are you supposing i saw past? i read that website (the actual freedom trust homepage).


D C:

A model of practice which, moreover, promises to eliminate all affect, and with that all being. Despite all this there is not much clarity on how to work through the choice.


ok, here are two possible ways to work through the choice (between going for path-attainment and going for actual freedom):

1- the goal-oriented way
(a) examine the stated goal of path-attainment, reflecting on its purported mode of experience (as reported by those who have accomplished it).
(b) consider whether or not this is a goal you would like to achieve and a mode of experience you would like to live. is it an improvement on the way you currently live?
(c) examine the stated goal of actual freedom, reflecting on its purported mode of experience (as reported by those who have accomplished it).
(d) consider whether or not this is a goal you would like to achieve and a mode of experience you would like to live. is it an improvement on the way you currently live?
(e) compare (b) and (d), and pick.

2- the method-oriented way
(a) examine the practical means to path-attainment - insight meditation - and reflect on its effect on how you experience your daily life.
(b) consider whether or not you would like to engage in these practical means. does engaging in them improve upon the way you experience your daily life?
(c) examine the practical means to an actual freedom - actualism - and reflect on its effect on how you experience your daily life.
(d) consider whether or not you would like to engage in these practical means. does engaging in them improve upon the way you experience your daily life?
(e) compare (b) and (d), and pick.

is there now sufficient clarity (so as to enable you to work through the choice)?


D C:

How about a model of practice that effectively works for both?


there isn't one i know of - not directly, in any case.


D C:

Can you give this some more thought guys. Perhaps all that is needed is a sticky suggesting methods that might be used concurrently in both modes. A sort of modified metta, for example, strikes me as one link between actualism and insight practice. In broad terms, at least.


what modification of metta is this (which you suggest might be used to concurrently bring about both path-attainment and an actual freedom)?


D C:

Related to this first point and it's fears, is the fact that Tarin, Daniel, and Trent have all trained in the Theravaden model of Buddhism. Mahayana is known to take the development of consciousness beyond Theravada.


oh? who is this known by?


D C:

I see no real engagement with Vajarayana or Zen for example, to guage whether or not the state of AF is found in those traditions. Tarin says he has read no accounts that speak of any such state, nonetheless, I'd still like to see what the reaction of say, Daniel Brown, or Reginald Ray, or Adyashanti would be to the actualism and its claims. More than that, I'd love these/other high level adepts to actually try out the actualism method. More road testing of actualism would be great. I have no doubt of the existence, potency and appeal of AF, what I'd like to see is greater integration and context.


why?


D C:

I have some further questions and remarks to make about being and emotions, and the rather confusing way they are spoken of in the discussion, but I'll leave those for another time. Thanks again Tarin and Daniel. I love your sense of exploration and adventure!


you're welcome, again, and do ask those questions and make those remarks (about being and emotions and the way they are spoken of in the discussion which you found confusing) when you are ready, if you think that doing so will be useful to moving forward your practice.

tarin

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 10:39 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:


D C:

Related to this first point and it's fears, is the fact that Tarin, Daniel, and Trent have all trained in the Theravaden model of Buddhism. Mahayana is known to take the development of consciousness beyond Theravada.


oh? who is this known by?



Anyone who has practiced both Vajrayana/mahayana and Theravada will know this. There is a reason as to why Theravada is also known as Hinayana (the smaller/lesser vehicle).

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/24/10 11:58 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

ok, here are two possible ways to work through the choice (between going for path-attainment and going for actual freedom):

1- the goal-oriented way
(a) examine the stated goal of path-attainment, reflecting on its purported mode of experience (as reported by those who have accomplished it).
(b) consider whether or not this is a goal you would like to achieve and a mode of experience you would like to live. is it an improvement on the way you currently live?
(c) examine the stated goal of actual freedom, reflecting on its purported mode of experience (as reported by those who have accomplished it).
(d) consider whether or not this is a goal you would like to achieve and a mode of experience you would like to live. is it an improvement on the way you currently live?
(e) compare (b) and (d), and pick.

2- the method-oriented way
(a) examine the practical means to path-attainment - insight meditation - and reflect on its effect on how you experience your daily life.
(b) consider whether or not you would like to engage in these practical means. does engaging in them improve upon the way you experience your daily life?
(c) examine the practical means to an actual freedom - actualism - and reflect on its effect on how you experience your daily life.
(d) consider whether or not you would like to engage in these practical means. does engaging in them improve upon the way you experience your daily life?
(e) compare (b) and (d), and pick.

is there now sufficient clarity (so as to enable you to work through the choice)?



I have also been deliberating over this choice (going for enlightenment or actual freedom), and this exchange has helped me to choose.

From a goal-oriented perspective both AF and enlightenment are desirable, but AF seems more so (based on PCEs).

However, from a method-oriented perspective, spiritual practice[1] yields real benefits[2] in my daily life, whereas actualism does not. I have tried my best, but can't achieve the sustainable results I'd hoped for. If I am to attain AF, it will have to be by the indirect route.

Decision: Continue with spiritual practice. Later (if still desirable), revisit AF.

Thanks guys.

Best,
Neil

[1] Morality, mindfulness, objectification of all phenomena including the 'me'.

[2] Being happier, more harmless, more benevolent, less irritable, more tolerant, more patient, more restful, less conflicted, clearer in mind and heart, more grateful for simple things, less self-centered, more open to wonder and joy.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/25/10 2:16 AM as a reply to John White.
I feel some inclination to sort through the many many posts and compile the parts I deem relevant. There's quite a bit good stuff in there, particularly Tarin and Trent's responses to questions. I think it will be well worth the effort, and will post if if/when it happens.

I am finding so far that the question of whether to go for enlightenment or straight for AF is not as big as I imagined. I still love to sit everyday, do samathas and insight practice, I don't see this changing much. Then for the rest of the day, with the AF methods in mind, I find my attentiveness to be more energized, no matter what mundane thing I'm doing. Whether to do more retreats or not, this is still a question.





That's great John. A good model for me to follow, also.




And your idea of gathering some info together is very good, too. Although, I would like to see it come from Daniel and co. as the authorities on the matter.



Here's a beginning: This thread here are some excellent discussion, debate, and 'how tos'.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/110874



It includes:



A good exchange between Alan Chapman and Tarin.

Dan Bartlett, who, despite his relative newbie status with the practice, is well worth reading. Dan recommends these AF pages.

http://actualfreedom.com.au/introduction/actualfreedom1.htm

http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.ht




And a good general quote from Trent in answer to the question 'what is being?' An answer which only underscores some of my impatiencea with the degree of speculation going on. Indeed is probably a good answer to my own doubts.



Sort of like someone trying to explain fruition or a formation to someone who's never experienced them. It basically means "absolutely no self, feelings or otherwise." Further explanation would be convoluted and not really make sense because it would not have experiential context.[quote/]



In short get practicing and find out for oneself. emoticon


And I see Tarin has kindly responded to my op. Great. I will reply asap.


Damon

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/25/10 12:19 AM as a reply to D C.
!!! Apologies for the post above. For some reason the formatting seems to have got away on me. I suspect because I cut and pasted some of it from textedit on my mac. emoticon Sorry no time to rewrite...

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/25/10 11:03 AM as a reply to D C.
DC: And your idea of gathering some info together is very good, too. Although, I would like to see it come from Daniel and co. as the authorities on the matter.

For sure Damon, me too. But for now, as I'm still in the research phase of AF, I want to get all these methods in front of me,and really understand them, so as to help me better decide how to proceed. It will be incomplete, and biased, but others will be welcome to refer to it, add to it, whatever. Will be a start.

At the moment I'm not convinced it has to be one or the other - go for enlightenment, or AF, especially as there seems to be some common ground between the two methods. I know one thing - meditation feels very different now, more expansive, more inclusive, since looking into AF.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/25/10 11:30 AM as a reply to mico mico.
Mic Hoe:

3) And yes, what was that about how can things arise in the first place if they are supposed to be not sticking?


Those people mistook themselves to be enlightened when they were not and told their experiences as though being enlightened. Tarin himself used to claim to be an arahat (as per hardcore dharma movement) but now after AF, he thinks AF does 'match the orthodox traditional models of what enlightenment is based on the Theravada school much much more closely than that mode of experience which is proposed in what has come to be known as the hardcore dharma movement ...... Dan, Kenneth Folk and maybe a few other people .......... this (AF) looks a lot more like the traditional model than that did' (arahatship based on hardcore dharma movement).

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/26/10 2:03 AM as a reply to Change A..
That said, see here:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/503852

D

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/26/10 2:48 AM as a reply to John White.
John White:
I ... am wondering now how to proceed - strive for arahatship first, or go for the direct route to AF, which so far very few people on this entire planet, that we know of, have done.


well, going by the figures on the AF trust homepage, the majority of people who have accomplished AF are those who have done so without having been enlightened first.

John White:
And according to Richard, only one has done this who had not spent time with him, though this number may be outdated by now.


well, you could find an opportunity to meet richard and simply wait until then to be happy.. or you could get to happily being here and now straightaway. which seems more sensible to you?

the impression i am getting from your posts is that you think actualism is an all-or-nothing project.. nothing could be further from the truth. i found the path to actual freedom is delightful, and it would have been worth every step of the way even if i did not arrive here. feeling excellent almost all of the time is not to be scoffed at, and even feeling good most of the time is no small thing (and far exceeds most human expectations anyway).

can you see the value in feeling happy?


*

John White:

I think one thing is clear - it's up to us. We have to experiment and find our way. We are so fortunate that Tarin and Trent, who know the insight path, have been so helpful. So maybe there are no clear maps right now, but there is quite a bit of guidance. From reading the numerous AF related posts, it appears many here are exploring, with success, and are relating their experiences, and who knows, maybe some will or already have gotten AF. Still, I don't yet feel I have a handle on the methods described. And I do wonder, perhaps in this collective exploration, some new and better methods, or more clarity regarding the existing methods, will emerge.


as any 'collective exploration' here would be nothing but a collection of the explorations of individuals, then it follows that any of the 'new and better methods' which might come of the 'collective exploration' would come only because it has been discovered by a particular individual.

could that individual be you?


John White:

I know many of my questions have already been asked and answered in the various threads - there's a ton of info in them - so looks like I'll have to go back and re-read. It would be very helpful for someone to go through them and compile a list of all the AF/PCE methods being used, and the various interpretations of these, experiences, explanations - perhaps it's time for the AF wiki to get going? I would certainly be willing to help in this.


the thread that steph (yana pets) started, 'actualism practice notes', would be a good place to write what you have been trying and what you have found to work.


*


John White:

In a post from 'AF and Insight: PCE Mode and Cycling Mode' Daniel I. mentions that accessing PCE's is more readily done with eyes open. So I wonder if this is a good starting point, not yet abandoning insight practice, perhaps it's a good idea to meditate with eyes open? I was doing more and more of this on my last goenka course and found it very grounding.


perhaps you should do the experiment and post about your results.


John White:

In one post, don't recall where, Tarin seemed to say Goenka style practitioners were more inclined to access PCE's. I would be very interested for this point to be elaborated on.


the only thing i can think of that you might be referring to is what i said on the 'report of my stream entry' thread (split off from april v's original one:

'it has actually been my experience so far that, of the buddhist meditators with whom i have spoken, those who have experience in the goenka tradition (or other theravadan traditions which use the ten fetter model) are better able to grasp the aim of actualism than those who only have experience with (or are aligned to) western teachers.'

if this is what you were referring to, then i should point out that i meant that buddhist meditators who have experience in the goenka tradition (or other theravadan traditions which use the ten fetter model) are better able to grasp that there is something worthwhile in attempting to eliminate 'bad' feelings (even if they are no better able to grasp the rest of what actualism is aimed at). nothing at all to do with them being more inclined to access pce's than other buddhist meditators.


John White:

One question here - during the PCE, or in AF, how does one experience one's body? Richard said that the feeling of inhabiting a body was the very sense of self to be eradicated.


'inhabiting a body' and being this very (flesh and blood) body are entirely different things.. the latter is how one experiences oneself during a pce or in an actual freedom.

John White:

Ok, I get that in PCE/AF there's nobody left to inhabit the body, but does this mean you don't feel your foot, or whatever?


no, the body experiences itself.

i definitely feel my foot.

John White:

And if you do feel the sensations on the skin as the sense of touch, isn't this just like Goenka 101?


in goenka 101, you are taught to observe bodily sensations come and go (that is, with the appreciation of fleetingness/momentariness/impermanence). did you understand that part in all his courses you've sat?

tarin

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/27/10 12:16 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
D C:

There remain some questions in my mind, however. The most important - and inadequately treated in the discussion - was whether to practice an insight method leading to arahatship, or actualism, leading to AF. Daniel was of the opinion that one should first attain arahatship, while Trent thinks as soon as one understands what the PCE is one should pursue it. These are two very different answers.


This has been on my mind too. There's part of me that wants to go for arahatship first because of, as Daniel remarked in the discussion, the uncannily high success rate of arahats attaining AF.


so far, two (or three) that i know of... but twice that number who did not claim arahatship have done this.


Steph S:

The other part of me wants to be a renegade and forge my own path.


i went after stream-entry first because i wanted to go it my own way, too... chiefly because, at the time, the alternative (making further progress in actualism) genuinely did not seem viable to me.


Steph S:

Perhaps it would be incredibly useful to have non-highly attained practitioners achieve AF (regardless of tradition or meditative experience), to prove it IS possible for everyone and make it more easily accessible.


perhaps you ought to read the actual freedom trust homepage?


Steph S:

I'm not sure I understand what "centerlessness" physically feels like.


it's what the very first instant of seeing/hearing/touching/etc is commonly like before it is (also commonly) intuited to be observed from somewhere else (usually a somewhere 'within').

it's also not necessary to understand at the get-go in order to make significant and meaningful progress, and will probably become more clear from a certain point onward.

tarin

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/27/10 12:23 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
That said, see here:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/503852

D


I checked out messages in those threads. Found some of the messages interesting. Podcasts were recorded in July and most of the messages in the thread are written earlier than that. So that means that podcasts are the latest as to what Tarin's views are. After listening to the recordings, I was also of the view that now Tarin seems much closer to enlightenment than the time when he used to claim himself as an arahat. I still consider there to be room for improvement beyond AF to eventual enlightenment.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/27/10 12:31 AM as a reply to Neil Hughes.
Neil Hughes:

I have also been deliberating over this choice (going for enlightenment or actual freedom), and this exchange has helped me to choose.

From a goal-oriented perspective both AF and enlightenment are desirable, but AF seems more so (based on PCEs).

However, from a method-oriented perspective, spiritual practice[1] yields real benefits[2] in my daily life, whereas actualism does not. I have tried my best, but can't achieve the sustainable results I'd hoped for. If I am to attain AF, it will have to be by the indirect route.

Decision: Continue with spiritual practice. Later (if still desirable), revisit AF.

Thanks guys.


you're welcome.

on a side note.. are the matters you most recently brought up in the 'af method' thread (in response to which i raised two questions, and one counter-question, in my latest reply - about felicity, the genesis of disturbing thoughts, and the means by which one can determine whether or not one is 'copping out', respectively) of less (or no) importance to you now?

tarin

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/27/10 4:32 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

on a side note.. are the matters you most recently brought up in the 'af method' thread (in response to which i raised two questions, and one counter-question, in my latest reply - about felicity, the genesis of disturbing thoughts, and the means by which one can determine whether or not one is 'copping out', respectively) of less (or no) importance to you now?


Yes, thanks Tarin, my decision supersedes those concerns for now - unless there's something you'd like to add?

The actualism experiment has left me with two apparent paradoxes:

1) I find that when I'm trying to be happier, I suffer more. And when I'm trying to be more harmless, I become more uptight, stiff and prone to irritation. I do, however, get AF-like results - in abundance and without much effort - using ('spiritual') techniques which supposedly lead 180 degrees opposite.

2) If I pay fascinated attention to experience (ie. the nature and quality of experience itself) without trying to improve the 'experiencer' (e.g., without trying to foster a more happy/harmless 'me'), the 'experiencer' changes for the better - of its own accord (including being more happy/harmless).

I don't understand this. These may be personal quirks.

Putting aside sectarian differences, what I'm really interested in is reducing suffering to vanishing point, and increasing benevolence and enjoyment of life to the max.

So, whatever works . . .

Best,
Neil

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/27/10 6:12 AM as a reply to Neil Hughes.
Neil Hughes:
tarin greco:

on a side note.. are the matters you most recently brought up in the 'af method' thread (in response to which i raised two questions, and one counter-question, in my latest reply - about felicity, the genesis of disturbing thoughts, and the means by which one can determine whether or not one is 'copping out', respectively) of less (or no) importance to you now?


Yes, thanks Tarin, my decision supersedes those concerns for now - unless there's something you'd like to add?


yes, but i'll add them below, in the context of what you've thought about (and written) most recently:


Neil Hughes:

The actualism experiment has left me with two apparent paradoxes:

1) I find that when I'm trying to be happier, I suffer more. And when I'm trying to be more harmless, I become more uptight, stiff and prone to irritation. I do, however, get AF-like results - in abundance and without much effort - using ('spiritual') techniques which supposedly lead 180 degrees opposite.


clearly, there is something in your trying which trips you up - which bungles the endeavour - and unravelling what that is from the pure intent itself may be of some value at some point.

richard wrote this regarding (the experience of) the pce, but it is somewhat relevant to felicity as well:

Richard:

'...refrain from possessing it and making it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared.'




Neil Hughes:

2) If I pay fascinated attention to experience (ie. the nature and quality of experience itself) without trying to improve the 'experiencer' (e.g., without trying to foster a more happy/harmless 'me'), the 'experiencer' changes for the better - of its own accord (including being more happy/harmless).


how is ' fascinated attention to experience' different from nonverbally asking oneself, 'how i am experiencing this moment of being alive?'



Neil Hughes:

Putting aside sectarian differences, what I'm really interested in is reducing suffering to vanishing point, and increasing benevolence and enjoyment of life to the max.

So, whatever works . . .


indeed.

tarin

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/28/10 7:15 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

Neil Hughes:

2) If I pay fascinated attention to experience (ie. the nature and quality of experience itself) without trying to improve the 'experiencer' (e.g., without trying to foster a more happy/harmless 'me'), the 'experiencer' changes for the better - of its own accord (including being more happy/harmless).


how is ' fascinated attention to experience' different from nonverbally asking oneself, 'how i am experiencing this moment of being alive?'



When I'm (nonverbally) asking "how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?", the emphasis is on how I'm feeling, and the intent is to be feeling well, feeling happy and harmless, enjoying and appreciating this moment, noticing when I've lost my way, getting quickly back on track, etc. But this intent, though sincere and sensible, turns out to be counter-productive. As small upsets start to happen (as they inevitably do), they accumulate instead of passing. Before long I find myself engaged in ineffective reasoning about how it's silly to feel this way. And even though I see that it's silly, I cannot work my way clear of it. My reasoning does not make the feelings pass or change. This actually adds more misery, because it makes me acutely aware that something so silly is continuing to trouble me (when it normally wouldn't). As you pointed out, I'm clearly doing something to trip myself up and bungle the endeavour, but I can't tell what it is. Maybe it will make sense later.

In marked contrast to this, when I pay fascinated attention to experience (as a whole) without particularly bothering about how I feel (my feelings are just part of the scenery, as it were), good results come freely, without effort. Whenever an upset occurs, it passes quickly and easily. "Getting back to feeling good" is virtually automatic this way. It's an instant perspective shift that takes all the emotional sting out of the situation and requires no psychologizing or struggle. This leaves me free to enjoy and marvel at the world (and consciousness itself), and the parts that are 'me' are rendered harmless (or, much less troublesome at least).

The real difference (between these two approaches) is the role that 'I' feel 'I' am playing.

With HAIETMOBA, I feel that 'I' am running the show, trying to improve things but f-ing them up big time (despite a sincere and altruistic intent).

With the other approach, self-created problems (such as feeling malicious and/or sorrowful) dissipate as soon as I become aware of them. Awareness itself (or perhaps clear, non-reasoning intelligence) seems to be doing all the work automatically (more effectively than 'I' could), so 'I' just allow it.

Best,
Neil

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/29/10 5:16 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Thanks for the reply Tarin.

A clear and forthright response is great, although, not limited to those who've attained AF surely..

it may be relevant here to point out that there is a tripartite division, in the context of actualism, between good feelings, bad feelings, and felicitous feelings.. and to point out that the practice advocated does not involve the cultivation of feelings which are blissful or loving or trusting ('good' feelings), but the cultivation of those which are happy or joyful or delightful (felicitous feelings). understanding the difference is key, as the former group only antidotally pacify the 'bad' feelings (the hostile or fearful or lonely ones), whereas the the latter group makes those feelings obsolete.. and paves the way to excellence and the pce.


Ah yes. Thanks. I need to consider these differences. It does raise the question, however, of the elimination of feeling/affect and with that being. I would have thought that felicitous feelings are just as much affect as anything other feeling. I will return to this presently, as you suggest. I doubt I’m the only one a little unclear about this.

so, daniel thinks one think, while trent thinks another. as you have had, by now, two more days in which to think about the matter, then let me ask you this: what do you now think?


Now, some five or so days later, after expressing my disquiet and reading John and Steph in reply, along with your 'make a decision rubric', I have decided that the practice of actualism is actually not that far removed from what seems to emerge naturally in my own practice. Moreover, actualism is rewarding to practice. I'm not going to give up my insight practice just yet, however; John's post above on his mix of insight and actualism provides a good outline of where I'm at presently: Continue with morning insight practice, then during the day practice actualism. We’ll see how it goes.

hm.. what are you supposing i saw past? i read that website (the actual freedom trust homepage).


The unattractive nature of the site – from aesthetic and organization, to unconvincing treatment of other traditions, to the self-regarding nature of Richard’s personality has been commented on by many people. I’m afraid this was my impression, too. Once again, kudos to you for seeing other than that.


what modification of metta is this (which you suggest might be used to concurrently bring about both path-attainment and an actual freedom)?


I spoke very loosely, perhaps without really knowing what I was talking about; Still, I recently came out of a two week Mahasi style retreat with the feeling that metta was a very necessary and powerful mode of practice for me. Firstly, I could see how much better my attention and noting was when actively done in a 'positive/relaxed' mode. As to metta practice, itself; seeing the object of metta clearly, and then skillfully wishing peace, happiness, joy, strength, growth, thriving et al, doesn’t seem that far removed from some aspects of actualism. It feels like a practice of delight and joyful energy. And what else is it doing but wishing others to be happy and harmless? And metta as I practice it, is certainly much closer to cultivating ‘felicitous’ feelings, rather than ‘good’ feelings as you define them both above. Perhaps it (metta) can serve for a while as a bridge for my attempt to practice both noting and actualism. It has to be said, of course, that metta seems to have almost no place in insight practice as promoted here.

Why more integration/context for AF?


Lets not forget that this site here where we're being introduced to AF is a Buddhist ‘hardcore dharma’ practice forum. Buddhism/Actualism? It’s the difference between a system of spiritual practice, that has endured and developed over thousands of years and been contributed to by thousands of yogis while retaining its core teachings and outcomes, versus the very very new (?) claims of one individual. It is only the evident sincerity and ability of yourself, Trent, and Daniel that has so many of us interested. There are many reasons why onlookers might be wary of Richard and actualism.


Who says Mayhayana has developed beyond theTheravada?


In the interview linked below we have Daniel Brown saying that what Mahayana offers beyond Theravada is the Timeless realms/Buddha bodies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJwTT-6ox0I&feature=channel

He begins to talk about these differences about 4 minutes into the clip, Daniel Brown, ‘The Great Way’ #4. I think its well worth a listen.

Listening to this it is easy to see how we might get the charge that AF is no more than a variant of the timeless realms, that, poorly understood by Richard, has been spun by him into the latest and greatest development ever in human consciousness. Now, this may be quite false, or it may be true. Do you feel quite sure you can say which it is? On what basis? Would you agree that the mere fact that AF feels like the ultimate in human consciousness – or anything else - doesn’t make it so?

My aim is not to debate this issue - which I'm not qualified to do - but rather to point out that AF/actualism is vulnerable to these doubts. And its quite valid to level questions at the practice. Of course, in the meantime, we can still get on and practice.

Ok, ‘nuff said for now. I feel it really is time for me to get on and do more of that practice. Times a wastin'. At its most simple all I was suggesting is that the rather scattered accounts and approach to AF, currently in evidence, be gathered together and given a bit more of a solid ground here at DharmaOverground. I see this is happening. Great! I will return to my questions about self/being, affect/feelings in time.

Cheers,
Damon

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
8/31/10 2:44 PM as a reply to D C.
D C:

A clear and forthright response is great, although, not limited to those who've attained AF surely..


there is also a thoroughness in responding, line by line, to much of what one's respondent writes that is of value (when done in a clear and forthright manner).

to be sure, i am nowhere claiming that it is the attainment of an actual freedom that produces this scrupulous attention to detail (though it helps to be able to see clearly in the first place what is actually written to respond to it) ... there might, however, be some connection the other way 'round: might a scrupulous attention to detail help produce an actual freedom?

if so, then perhaps more than merely clinical, the style of response in question is clinique - in that, in addition to nourishing health, it also promotes a cheerful complexion[1]?


D C:

it may be relevant here to point out that there is a tripartite division, in the context of actualism, between good feelings, bad feelings, and felicitous feelings.. and to point out that the practice advocated does not involve the cultivation of feelings which are blissful or loving or trusting ('good' feelings), but the cultivation of those which are happy or joyful or delightful (felicitous feelings). understanding the difference is key, as the former group only antidotally pacify the 'bad' feelings (the hostile or fearful or lonely ones), whereas the the latter group makes those feelings obsolete.. and paves the way to excellence and the pce.


Ah yes. Thanks. I need to consider these differences. It does raise the question, however, of the elimination of feeling/affect and with that being. I would have thought that felicitous feelings are just as much affect as anything other feeling.


felicitious feelings are indeed just as much affect as are ' other feeling' ... yet, they are worth cultivating, because their maximisation (practised together with the minimisation of the 'good' and the 'bad' feelings) lessens one's dependence on 'being' by rendering it increasingly unnecessary (and increasingly uninteresting). hence, the actualist endeavour is really to eliminate being, and with that, feeling/affect, rather than the other way 'round.


D C:

I will return to this presently, as you suggest. I doubt I’m the only one a little unclear about this.


you may be correct in saying that you are not the only one a little unclear about this.. there may also be others here who are interested in these matters yet have not taken the time to carefully read the AF trust website. whether or not there are, let me direct your attention to one of richard's articles in particular:

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/aprecisofactualfreedom.htm

note what is written toward the bottom of the page (down past the image of the leafy vine with what look like magenta flowers):

Richard:

Often people who do not read what I have to say with both eyes gain the impression that I am suggesting that people are to stop feeling ... which I am not. My whole point is to cease ‘being’ – psychologically and psychically self-immolate – which means that the entire psyche itself is extirpated. That is, the biological instinctual package handed out by blind nature is deleted like a computer software programme (but with no ‘Recycle Bin’ to retrieve it from) so that the affective faculty is no more. Then – and only then – are there no feelings ... as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) where, with the self in abeyance, the feelings play no part at all. However, in a PCE the feelings – passion and calenture – can come rushing in, if one is not alert, resulting in the PCE devolving into an altered state of consciousness (ASC) ... complete with a super-self. Indeed, this demonstrates that it is impossible for there to be no feelings whilst there is a self – in this case a Self – thus it is the ‘being’ that has to go first ... not the feelings.



*


D C:

so, daniel thinks one think, while trent thinks another. as you have had, by now, two more days in which to think about the matter, then let me ask you this: what do you now think?


Now, some five or so days later, after expressing my disquiet and reading John and Steph in reply, along with your 'make a decision rubric', I have decided that the practice of actualism is actually not that far removed from what seems to emerge naturally in my own practice.


perhaps not, though actualism has a markedly different emphasis (which is not elective) from insight practice: the intent here is to get in touch with *how* one is experiencing this moment of being alive (rather than to disidentify with such experience). without this intent, i wouldn't expect that any direct progress toward actual freedom would be made.


D C:

Moreover, actualism is rewarding to practice. I'm not going to give up my insight practice just yet, however; John's post above on his mix of insight and actualism provides a good outline of where I'm at presently: Continue with morning insight practice, then during the day practice actualism. We’ll see how it goes.


what exactly do you mean by 'practice' here, for which you have found actualism to be rewarding?


D C:

hm.. what are you supposing i saw past? i read that website (the actual freedom trust homepage).


The unattractive nature of the site – from aesthetic and organization, to unconvincing treatment of other traditions, to the self-regarding nature of Richard’s personality has been commented on by many people. I’m afraid this was my impression, too. Once again, kudos to you for seeing other than that.


all it took to for me be able to read his writings clearly without projecting my baseless imaginings onto them was a little naivete.

and all it took for me to be able to read his writings clearly despite projecting my baseless imaginings onto them was a little sincerity.

while i can understand that naivete might be uncommon in most adults (and might be difficult for them to acquire), surely sincerity is not?


*


D C:

what modification of metta is this (which you suggest might be used to concurrently bring about both path-attainment and an actual freedom)?


I spoke very loosely, perhaps without really knowing what I was talking about; Still, I recently came out of a two week Mahasi style retreat with the feeling that metta was a very necessary and powerful mode of practice for me. Firstly, I could see how much better my attention and noting was when actively done in a 'positive/relaxed' mode. As to metta practice, itself; seeing the object of metta clearly, and then skillfully wishing peace, happiness, joy, strength, growth, thriving et al, doesn’t seem that far removed from some aspects of actualism. It feels like a practice of delight and joyful energy. And what else is it doing but wishing others to be happy and harmless? And metta as I practice it, is certainly much closer to cultivating ‘felicitous’ feelings, rather than ‘good’ feelings as you define them both above. Perhaps it (metta) can serve for a while as a bridge for my attempt to practice both noting and actualism. It has to be said, of course, that metta seems to have almost no place in insight practice as promoted here.


insofar as a metta practice can serve to get people who are not very much in touch with their feelings into them, and insofar as people being in touch with their feelings enables them to experience a stable sense of well-being that then affords them the opportunity to go into those feelings further and further until (poof) - its intimacy becomes actual, such practice can indeed be useful to them in bringing about an actual freedom (or a pce).

however, of a metta practice which serves, rather, to bombard people with passionate vicissitudes (which they must then cope with either by clinging to the 'good' feelings, or by numbing back out, or - and this is the solution i see proffered so regularly in these parts - by 'not identifying' with all feelings which arise) or of one which serves to engender in people the sense of connection between all beings in a loving and/or compassionate ocean of feeling, neither will be useful in bringing about an actual freedom (or a pce).


D C:

Why more integration/context for AF?


Lets not forget that this site here where we're being introduced to AF is a Buddhist ‘hardcore dharma’ practice forum. Buddhism/Actualism? It’s the difference between a system of spiritual practice, that has endured and developed over thousands of years and been contributed to by thousands of yogis while retaining its core teachings and outcomes, versus the very very new (?) claims of one individual.


it may be more pertinent to bear in mind, rather, that while the founder of this website and most of its participants in these few years since its inception have been practising buddhists - that is, they are people who have implemented buddhist meditation techniques and thought about their efforts and results using buddhist conceptual frameworks - this by no means makes the dharma overground a buddhist website. in fact, its main page makes no mention of buddhism, and were it not for the (rather loose) uses of the word 'dharma' and brief mention of jhanas and of the stages of insight, there would be no denotative indication of its affiliation with such at all.

further, the claim that buddhism is a system of practice which has, in having endured and developed over thousands of years and in having been contributed to by thousands of yogis, retained its core teachings and outcomes is highly contentious. where do you consider that it has done so? even setting aside the devotion-only buddhism practised on a wide scale in asia and setting aside the non-denominational feel-good buddhism popular in the modern west, there are entire traditions of practitioners who have based their practices on texts which were composed later than, and which put forth teachings which are radically divergent from, the oldest buddhist texts extant (which purport to be transcriptions of the historical buddha's actual discourses) and who have been taught by teachers whose own practices have been based on those same later, differing, texts. whether those newer traditions teach what the older traditions teach (and what is far more likely that the historical buddha taught) or something different is debated, and both claims have been put forth on by both authorities within both the newer and older traditions. further, there is no small number of buddhist teachers who propagate essentially brahmanic views (which are dismissed in the pali canon); those who attempt to intermingle buddhism with vedantism today are a good example of this, and they are many, as such syncretism appeals to many and so affords those teachers and their teachings much clout. this has probably also been the case historically, as indicated by the many divergent traditions which have arisen (not all of which have survived).

given the above, the best that anyone can do for themselves is to investigate, scrupulously and sensibly, without credulity, without being swayed by pleasing rhetoric, without being wowed by tradition and pomp, without being entangled in the power struggles of social politics, without being enamoured by charismatic teachers, and heedless of the ignorant testimony of all those who have been, exactly what constitutes a mode of experience worth achieving and exactly what the means are by which it can be achieved.


D C:

It is only the evident sincerity and ability of yourself, Trent, and Daniel that has so many of us interested.


yet, back when i became interested, i did not have the testimony of myself, trent, or daniel... all i had to go by was a claim on the af trust website put forth by a man whose writings i found, upon close and careful reading, evidently genuine, about a mode of experience which struck me as clearly worth establishing.

i also had a penchant for obsessive and largely independent reflection.



D C:

There are many reasons why onlookers might be wary of Richard and actualism.


considering how many charlatans and fools there are and have been, there are indeed reasons to be sceptical of richard's claims. yet, there are also reasons why an onlooker might be wary of buddhism, some of which i have discussed above. further, given how much of a chimera this ~2500-year old conglomerated exposition of whatever it was in the beginning has become, i would think that a practitioner would value a lucid and well-written account of a still-living person's own experience all the more... but perhaps that is a difference between an onlooker and a practitioner?


*


D C:

Who says Mayhayana has developed beyond Theravada?


In the interview linked below we have Daniel Brown saying that what Mahayana offers beyond Theravada is the Timeless realms/Buddha bodies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJwTT-6ox0I&feature=channel

He begins to talk about these differences about 4 minutes into the clip, Daniel Brown, ‘The Great Way’ #4. I think its well worth a listen.


i watched that video, and watched the first few minutes of the next installment (#5) as well, and found nothing in what daniel brown talked about to be anything i didn't already have direct experience of by the time i was an anagami. to be sure, none of what he mentions - the sea of interconnection (and so the interconnection of awakening), the 'vast all-at-once-ness', the ocean of awareness and loving-kindness (all of which he characterises as 'the great awakening of the mahayana') - is, as he asserts and you parrot, 'beyond Theravada'.

yet, i am not surprised that he conceives as he does, as much of mahayana intellectual training is a dialectic which uses weak and incomplete theravadan perspectives as their foil or counterpoint. daniel brown's website indicates that in his earlier years, he trained with, among others, mahasi sayadaw and ajahn chah.. given how he in this video characterises the school in which they taught, he clearly didn't get anywhere near as much out of it as they had to offer.


D C:

Listening to this it is easy to see how we might get the charge that AF is no more than a variant of the timeless realms, that, poorly understood by Richard, has been spun by him into the latest and greatest development ever in human consciousness. Now, this may be quite false, or it may be true. Do you feel quite sure you can say which it is? On what basis? Would you agree that the mere fact that AF feels like the ultimate in human consciousness – or anything else - doesn’t make it so?


would you agree that nowhere else do we find accounts of practitioners who report, in no uncertain terms, an entirely passionless mode of experience, completely devoid of any anxiety or worry (let alone fear), any irritation or aggression (let alone anger), or any melancholy or gloom (let alone grief)[2]? further, would you agree that of the many practitioners in buddhist traditions which make use of the term 'perfection', none of them use it to refer, firsthand, to their ongoing experience as an apperceptive flesh and blood body living an entirely blithe and benign existence on this wondrously fresh and vividly striking earth, intimately aware of - and so at peace with - their fellow human beings as they actually are, and with nary a tinge - not a tinge - of ill-will or discontent about any of it, ever?

if no, i would appreciate if you could substantiate a claim to the contrary with textual evidence, rather than speculation about, say, who might or might not have accomplished this at some point in the past, or who else might or might not be currently living in this condition but somewhere remote, such as in the himalayas or in the southeast asian jungle or on mars, etc. i mention this specifically, by the way, so it is clear that i have no interest in debating the issue with those who are predisposed to insist that, due to the epistemological uncertainty inherent in not knowing everything that has ever happened in the universe, we cannot, when asked if something has had a precedent, answer 'no' for sure (because in theory, we may always be able to say 'maybe'). while i acknowledge the theoretical truth in this claim, i find it practically irrelevant and misleading, and find its espousal to be symptomatic of a compulsive agnosticism which only serves to get one nowhere fast (which may, in fact, be the whole point - 'i' am rather inclined to stay in existence).



D C:

My aim is not to debate this issue - which I'm not qualified to do - but rather to point out that AF/actualism is vulnerable to these doubts. And its quite valid to level questions at the practice. Of course, in the meantime, we can still get on and practice.


as what is, by far, most vulnerable to doubts is the steadiness of one's own heart, i thoroughly recommend that you do 'get on and practice' and confirm for yourself what is truly possible for a human being intent on peace and perfection to achieve.



D C:

Ok, ‘nuff said for now. I feel it really is time for me to get on and do more of that practice. Times a wastin'. At its most simple all I was suggesting is that the rather scattered accounts and approach to AF, currently in evidence, be gathered together and given a bit more of a solid ground here at DharmaOverground. I see this is happening. Great! I will return to my questions about self/being, affect/feelings in time.


ok.. and perhaps you will have answered some of them by then.

tarin

[1]
here i am punning both on the word clinique (which, aside from meaning 'clinic' is also the name of a well-known manufacturer of skincare products), and on complexion, which means both ' natural color, texture, and appearance of the skin, especially of the face' and ' general character, aspect, or appearance', as well as ' viewpoint, inclination, or attitude'.[3]

[2]
certainly not in the mahayana... as for the pali canon suttas which may indicate accounts of similar claims, they are two thousand years old and, to the best of my knowledge, there are yet to be clear reports of the successful reproduction of such standards by theravadan practitioners in modern times.

[3]
and here, clinically explaining the joke.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
9/6/10 1:48 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:
the impression i am getting from your posts is that you think actualism is an all-or-nothing project.. nothing could be further from the truth. i found the path to actual freedom is delightful, and it would have been worth every step of the way even if i did not arrive here. feeling excellent almost all of the time is not to be scoffed at, and even feeling good most of the time is no small thing (and far exceeds most human expectations anyway).


Now that I've been practicing actualism, and having had some tastes of the actual world, I totally agree. Just a week, even without a pce, and already it's been so liberating, so delightful as you say.

tarin greco:
as any 'collective exploration' here would be nothing but a collection of the explorations of individuals, then it follows that any of the 'new and better methods' which might come of the 'collective exploration' would come only because it has been discovered by a particular individual...could that individual be you?


Reading posts about other's process definitely has enhanced my own practice, so in this regard I do believe it is collective, and does help clarify existing methods. Regarding new and better methods, on the one hand it was a silly thing for me to say, seeing I hadn't even begun practicing. On the other hand, now that I have begun, I am very intrigued by the outdated and ultra inappropriate functioning of the amygdala. I have clearly seen for one the intensity of the fight or flight response it generates, and two how this intense response is at the root of needless fear, aggression, and destructive behavior. It's a glitch in the system, and I am currently exploring yogic ways to fix it directly. Or at least chill the thing out a little. (Edit: scratch the yoga idea - apperceptiveness itself appears to be the direct and most potent way) Like all those Toyotas, billions of humans have to be recalled. It seems far fetched but who knows, maybe that individual could be me.

tarin greco:
the thread that steph (yana pets) started, 'actualism practice notes', would be a good place to write what you have been trying and what you have found to work.


Yes, I will post any further questions and observations on that thread. Thanks Tarin for addressing my other questions and concerns - I definitely have moved on and am now quite thrilled about it all, nearly every waking moment engaged somehow in the actualism process, even dreaming about it.

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
6/7/11 11:59 PM as a reply to John White.
Hi Daniel:

I just re-listened to the Hurricane Ranch AF dialogue with you and Tarin. There are some excellent tips in there. Thanks to you two for putting it together!

Are you interested in recording and posting dialogues with other AF folks as well?

Alex

RE: Questions: Tarin and Daniel at Hurricane Ranch
Answer
6/8/11 9:16 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

there is also a thoroughness in responding, line by line, to much of what one's respondent writes that is of value (when done in a clear and forthright manner).

to be sure, i am nowhere claiming that it is the attainment of an actual freedom that produces this scrupulous attention to detail (though it helps to be able to see clearly in the first place what is actually written to respond to it) ... there might, however, be some connection the other way 'round: might a scrupulous attention to detail help produce an actual freedom?

if so, then perhaps more than merely clinical, the style of response in question is clinique - in that, in addition to nourishing health, it also promotes a cheerful complexion[1]?
...


[3]
and here, clinically explaining the joke.



The thin cover of fastidious technicality almost made me miss this one. I LOL'ed. Props, Tarin.