Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Vincent Horn 4/8/09 12:14 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Trent S. H. 4/8/09 12:57 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Andrew P 4/8/09 1:40 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Andrew P 4/8/09 1:41 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Kenneth Folk 4/8/09 2:01 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models triple think 4/8/09 2:35 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Eric Calhoun 4/8/09 6:38 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Wet Paint 4/9/09 1:25 AM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Wet Paint 4/9/09 3:04 AM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Vincent Horn 4/9/09 5:30 AM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Vincent Horn 4/9/09 5:36 AM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Wet Paint 4/9/09 2:10 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Stuart Lachs 4/9/09 4:06 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Chris Marti 4/9/09 4:47 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Jackson Wilshire 4/9/09 4:55 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Daniel M. Ingram 4/9/09 11:23 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models tarin greco 4/10/09 12:08 AM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Wet Paint 4/10/09 1:18 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models triple think 4/10/09 8:56 PM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models triple think 4/12/09 8:56 AM
RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models Wet Paint 5/20/09 11:41 PM
thumbnail
Vincent Horn, modified 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 12:14 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 12:14 PM

Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

A place to discuss the page Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 12:57 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 12:57 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Yo Vince.

A couple of other questions that are in a similar vein of thought:

-What is our motivation for the use of certain models?
-What kind of affect does this have on us as individuals, our society, and our practice?

I would guess that everyone uses their own models for their own reasons, and that ultimately they are trying to achieve something "good" by using them. Perhaps by knowing these details we would be able to understand each other better, practice well, and help others in a more compassionate way. Furthermore, we may even see where some models converge and possibly (at least as individuals) adopt more skillful ways of thinking about them.

Trent
Andrew P, modified 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 1:40 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 1:40 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
This is a very extensive topic because it attempts to integrate our "transparent dharma" model with other existing transparent dharma structures in the West and beyond.
[Question]How do we assess other people’s realizations, especially when they don’t speak about them openly or use very divergent models to describe them?

Assessing other people’s realizations seems incredibly complicated, particularily when a less realized practitioner (student) is looking for a more realized practitioner (teacher). There is simply a dearth of information to rely on in our Western dharma circles. A typical teacher’s resume looks something like this [MCotB Chap 35 - More on the Mushroom Factor]:
Jane Rainbow is the author of three books. She has been teaching meditation for 17 years internationally and is a member of the Buddhist Flower Society.” Notice that neither of these bios tells you anything about:
Andrew P, modified 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 1:41 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 1:41 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
• what they may actually know
• which traditions they draw from
• their attitude towards scholarship
• which techniques they are masters of or teach
• what they have attained or claim to have attained
• what their personality is like
• what their strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and person are
• who trained them
• the lineage or lineages by which they are claimed
• their level of availability to their students (though “teaches internationally” is often an ominous clue)
• why it is that they teach
• what they expect from their students, particularly as regards money, vows and exclusive loyalty
• how many students they already have
• if you run into trouble with them, is there a governing organization that can address this

Daniel’s ideas resonated with me as I could identify with the feelings of confusion regarding who the heck to listen to (The Kalama Predicament). It seems right now we use the intuitive feelings combined with bits and pieces of what a particular person says to construct an image of how realized a person is. This requires a working conceptual model since a less realized a student is at a disadvantage when trying to rely on direct experience.

This problem is particularily amplified if a practitioner does not mention any personal experiences and only talks in analytic/conceptual terms. The application of 2500 year old teachings to contemporary situations without first hand experience of anybody from 2500 years ago (not many people live that long) makes the situation tremendously disempowering and ripe for wildly unrealistic expectations.

I applaud the arising of this topic and encourage everybody to participate in the discussion.

Andrew
thumbnail
Kenneth Folk, modified 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 2:01 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 2:01 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Vince Horn for president!

Outstanding essay, Vince. I read it with an ever-widening grin. You nailed it; all models eventually break down. And I loved the part about how we at DhO are at risk for imagining that we are the only ones who "get it." Lots of people get it, and they talk about it using whatever language they have.

"If we can’t slaughter our own sacred cows then we might as well quit now." -Vince Horn

Let the slaughter begin.
thumbnail
triple think, modified 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 2:35 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 2:35 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
As Leonard Cohen might say, it is about "experience". In my experience it is about transparency. The more transparent someone is to you the more likely it is that you are ahead of them on the awakening thing. The more transparent to them you are the more likely that they are ahead of you. This doesn't necessarily mean that anyone is a mind reader but don't rule that out as I have run into it in terms of teachers. So if they answer your questions well without your verbalizing them, that is a good clue. If they answer your questions without them forming in your mind, plz send me their contact info. :-)

edited to add: Great thoughts on the original page Vince. There are some additional problems as well. Even biological and medical models admit a diversity between individual human beings and a scientist would be hard pressed to say that human beings are all 'the same'. There is a great deal of similarity but is it enough similarity for these models? Maybe not. There is also the model in which these human models sit. The universe models. I think the buddhist cosmological models fall apart all over the place not to speak of the abhidhamma models which have volumes of shortcomings. If we consider that the universe may be considerably 'bigger' and more dynamic than most people can imagine it introduces quite a lot of potential for changing conditions that we may be encountering in increasingly relevant ways. That said some kind of basic 4NT or DO model seems fundamentally consistent, regardless.
Eric Calhoun, modified 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 6:38 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/8/09 6:38 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
This topic, and the larger discussion about what this community is reminds me of Kevin Kelly's article on "Scenius", which is the communal form of genius. Kelly says scenius is nurtured by several factors:

• Mutual appreciation -- Risky moves are applauded by the group, subtlety is appreciated, and friendly competition goads the shy. Scenius can be thought of as the best of peer pressure.
• Rapid exchange of tools and techniques -- As soon as something is invented, it is flaunted and then shared. Ideas flow quickly because they are flowing inside a common language and sensibility.
• Network effects of success -- When a record is broken, a hit happens, or breakthrough erupts, the success is claimed by the entire scene. This empowers the scene to further success.
• Local tolerance for the novelties -- The local "outside" does not push back too hard against the transgressions of the scene. The renegades and mavericks are protected by this buffer zone.

Food for thought...
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 1:25 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 1:25 AM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

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

Nice topic Vince.

But I have a question - If someone says they are not yet at the end of the path, then that implies that they have a 'done is what needs to be done' model. It's the one model that everybody has. So, can an Arahat somehow miss that experiential point when it's done and there's nothing more to understand? Even if this model breaks up, then there's is a experiential point when that model did actually 'break up'.

I also have doubts about realized beings buying into emotional perfection or limited range models. I can see how this model can 'come up' when you're alone in the woods doing jhana all day and night. But we live in different time. So, how can someone be experientialy aware of no-self and still have limited range models?
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 3:04 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 3:04 AM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

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

Another interesting question: Are there some unrealistic models that make realistic ones easier to attain, and what would those be? emoticon
thumbnail
Vincent Horn, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 5:30 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 5:30 AM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
If someone says that they are not yet "done" that only means that they have one (or multiple) models that have a specific criterion for what done means. Done could mean gaining some sort of super power, not being re-born, not every experiencing any sort of suffering anymore, etc. Done can be anything, depending on the models involved. And the done is what needs to be done, I would argue, is not one model that everybody has. Many teachers I know see arhantship as a milestone in an ever-larger unfolding, which we could call Buddhahood. They intentionally don't emphasize "being done." Other models define themselves in terms of their not being an end-point. Obviously this community isn't one of them, but look at the Soto Zen tradition for plenty of those type of models.

[cont]
thumbnail
Vincent Horn, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 5:36 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 5:36 AM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Your doubts about "realized beings" not buying into emotional perfection or limited range models, could be a perfection model itself. What is it about realization that gives absolute conceptual knowledge about what was done? Does realization end the arising of doubt? How can you explain the fact that many, many teachers don't claim to be done and yet they have practiced longer then anyone in this community with some of the best teachers in the world. They've done the practices and done them well, and I very much suspect have realized the same things that some of the most accomplished practitioners here have. And yet, they still openly claim not to be arhants.

I have strong suspicions it's because of their models about what an arhant is. They look to their own direct experience and say, "nope, the kilesas are still there." And by that definition, they're absolutely right. Doesn't mean that they aren't an arhant by our definition. Nothing about realization, that I can tell, changes our human ability to have various definitions, interpretations, and conceptual understandings about things. And that was a big part of why I wrote this essay, to flesh that point out.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 2:10 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 2:10 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

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

Hi vjhorn,

I agree with what you said. I would just like to add the following points:

1. We must also ask whether are these masters focusing on the wrong directions. Instead of seeing non-dual, they focus on kilesas and wasted all effort towards the unachievable. Mistaking guidelines as the absolute path of practice; an oversight and mistook the finger that points to the moon as the moon.

2. Or they have deeper insights into our non-dual awareness and realized the predictable relationship between ‘kilesas’ and the spontaneous perfection of our non-dual nature. As such these teachers convey to the Upasaka (lay practitioners) in terms of ‘kilesas’ as it is easier to understand than directly pointing to our ungraspable non-dual nature.

Many times titles and attainments blind and once you get it, they lose their charm. Along the path spirituality, we will come to a point we must ask ourselves seriously and sincerely have we lost ourselves and overly attached to these ‘water reflections’ without noticing it. A good model must in my opinion also embrace the wisdom of thoroughly seeing through these ‘water reflections’.
Stuart Lachs, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:06 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:06 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
Hi Vince,

Very interesting thread you started. I do not have much to add and I did not read all the posts to the thread. The two cents I would like to add is some years ago I read Rpbert Sharf's paper on" Experience" which is available on the internet. I think the paper is problematic in many ways but I do remember Sharf pointing out how many leading Vipassana teachers were quite critical of one another in terms of who was doing shamata and who was doing Vipassana. The level of disagreement and criticism, at least according to Sharf, among these leading teachers struck me. At the very least, when talking about "experience" we are in a tricky area.

Thanks again for the post.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:47 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:47 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Great topic, Vince. It makes me ask: Why do we need to assess others' attainment at all?

I'm dubious of the notion that attainment is all THAT important. We all want to be Arahants. We all want to be seen as enlightened, realized beings. That seems to matter most when we talk amongst ourselves here, where we have a community that is substantially focused on accomplishment. That's not bad in and of itself, I guess (or is it?). I like reading the dicsussions and participating. I like thinking about the maps and using them in my own practice. But in the end we're all the same. What really matters is how much we can interact with, be of assistance to, love and respect each other here and the other human beings in our lives.

I suppose I'm struggling with the focus on (or maybe the objectification of) realization and how much it really matters outside of the core teacher/student relationship. I'm not sure it does. I'd argue for more focus on process and method and less overt comparing of "my attainment" to "your attainment." Finally, because of the subject matter and its inherent nebulous, ethereal and extremely subjective nature, it's very difficult to gauge/peg/label/decribe others with any accuracy. Better to drop the nouns and qualifiers and evaluate comments for what they say and not who said them. I think that applies here and everywhere.
thumbnail
Jackson Wilshire, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:55 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:55 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
I think I found the article that Stuart (slachs) mentioned in his comment. See the link below...

Buddhist Modernism and the Rhetoric of Meditative Experience | Robert H. Sharf

http://anthrofactory.com/ANT%20134/Buddhist%20Modernism.pdf
thumbnail
Daniel M Ingram, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 11:23 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 11:23 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
As stated many times above, this is a great thread following a great essay.

A few points:

As there are so many axes of development, and many are so subtly or overtly related and many strangely un-related, and we all can progress and develop on so many different fronts at such different rates and in such different ways, these are clearly difficult issues.

Regarding the limited emotional range models, I have been taught by a few people who they and I both considered high realized who yet bought into these unfortunate models despite obvious and glaring evidence to contract them from their own lives, behavior and descriptions of themselves. The human mind has a staggering capacity for compartmentalization, brainwashing by tradition and internal contradictions that remain unresolved.

I have for years speculated about the points TripleThink makes regarding the differences in the underlying structures and abilities of people's brains and how these may impact practice, progress, and how it is perceived and described. This is a fascinating topic but woefully under-explored in this context.

One of the debates Vince refers to regarding aspects of the fine points of how the non-dual is described occurs between my Dharma Brother Kenneth and myself, and what we both make of this has evolved over the years and probably will continue to do so.

Are our differences purely terminological and we just can't see that?
Is one or the other of us onto something the other can't see for whatever reason?
Why does he focus on The I Am and turning the light of awareness on itself whereas I focus on basic sensate investigation of all phenomena that make up the sensations that make up Subject and Object and their Three Characteristics?
Does this have implications for our levels of realization or is this all or partly on other axes of development?

Time may or may not tell.
thumbnail
tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 12:08 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 12:08 AM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
agreed that underlying structural differences in our biology and make-up probably contribute to differences in how practice and progress is perceived and described, but i think that those differences are more likely to caused by something a bit bigger.. it's something about *timing*.

sometimes i think this whole thing is like musical chairs. you believe this, you believe that, then you believe that, then that's where you happen to be when the music stops so you end up believing that.. until the music starts again and its time for a shift or a change. i would put every single position and perspective, every take on all matters including those of realisation or awakening, in this circle of chairs to flip through, drop in and out of, and arrive at (at least for a while). whichever one you happen to be in front of when the music stops grabs you hard and becomes the truth, and if you're feeling reconciliatory you'll put a bit of effort into fitting your truth with other people's proclamations, but if you're feeling more ornery you'll claim that anything too far away from what resonates with you cant possibly be it, or at least probably aint. personally speaking, i often like lining up with other people (let's form a duck line!) but when it doesn't seem pointful to, i think it's best to leave it alone.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 1:18 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 1:18 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

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

Thank you Vince for writing this up!
Before I got deeply into practice I needed to talk to someone in person and find out-- is this really doable? When I felt that what they said resonated with my being, I went for it! Here’s my response at this point:
1. I feel that it is an impossible task to completely assess another's realization due to all of the issues mentioned here.
2. I would try and find out what do they need for support, right here, right now.
3. The learning process is two-way, and involves some clarification.
4. Yes, love the mystery, let it unfold.
5. Many things may need to be repeated, and clarified for all.
thumbnail
triple think, modified 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 8:56 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 8:56 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Yeah that part is like what you can learn from some kind of work with things like some of the well put together tarot deck models or something like I Ching. I was headed, more like Daniel was here towards biochemical or genetic individuality. I think of all the people I have met with downs syndrome. There are several basic types but most of them fall into a mainstream that seems almost beatifically blessed. It is enough to make me envious at times and they can display freakishly paranormal or clairvoyant attributes sometimes that aren't so natural for other people. I'm a freak as well and find that probably one in 200 people are similar to me while everyone else calls us every name under the sun while we all know that none of them fit but we need to call it something because it is too obvious. None of that translates to text, probably even telepresence couldn't convey it like face to face does. The other main thing I was aiming my finger at was the universe itself. Clearly there are imponderables with regards to which even Buddha's are just up against it. Those are the things to avoid, because they will simply drive you mad. So note them well and label them hazardous goods when you have made that determination for yourself. The texts give simple examples like "a beginning cannot be fathomed, etc.." But there are many so when you find one just set it aside. If ever one of them unpacks for you keep it to yourself and consider yourself a freak and just as hazardous to yourself and others if you open up about it. I know that sounds screwed but it is fair warning. That's the best I can do on that even though it sounds like cryptic bs. sorry.
thumbnail
triple think, modified 13 Years ago at 4/12/09 8:56 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/12/09 8:56 AM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I thought perhaps I should attempt to qualify that statement a little more.

Here are a handful of links and quotes (which could continue ad nausea). The point I am hopefully getting at is that these conditions do result in a variety of additionally typical and atypical advantages and difficulties for a small percentage of people. Something conditional which modifies the nature of their thinking and life experiences, more or less for their lifetimes; often this expresses early as a kind of mental 'quickening' which results in experiences perhaps a little bit different from the patterns of life experiences more typical of people generally. Apart from these small internal differences and the broader internal and external impacts, particularly in regards to cognitive developments and qualities of socialization, the 'gifted' are not usually much different from 'regular folks' and often they suffer from forms of 'impairments' as well as forms of 'enhancements' as a result. Much of the newer research (and finally, thank god(!), forms of personal and family counseling and therapy) appears very promising.

"I have isolated the chemical which is emitted by every geek, dork, and four-eyes. I call it poindextrose." ~ Lisa Simpson

http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Child_prodigy_-_Cognitive_studies_on_child_prodigies/id/1221881

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_prodigies

http://www.forbes.com/2007/02/25/child-prodigies-biographies-lead_achieve07_cx_lr_0301prodigy.html

"No matter the field, the leap from child prodigy to adult genius is rare. While prodigies often become experts, they often fall short of developing into major innovators," explains Ellen Winner, professor of psychology at Boston College and author of Gifted Children: Myths and Realities.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 5/20/09 11:41 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/20/09 11:41 PM

RE: Assessing Outsider's Realizations w/ Our Models

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Foot-Foot

Hello. Been reading the forums off and on for some time. Still don't have all of the terminology down, but thought I'd join in on the conversation. This is my first post.

"As Leonard Cohen might say, it is about "experience". In my experience it is about transparency. The more transparent someone is to you the more likely it is that you are ahead of them on the awakening thing. The more transparent to them you are the more likely that they are ahead of you."

There comes a point where one realizes our perceptions of the other are based primarily on our state of being while interacting with said counterpart, thus our lense is ever shifting. Sometimes the lense is green, sometimes it is blue, sometimes it's doing x-ray vision. It sees the same spectacle in a multiplicity of ways. Each lense is legit as a lense, great for viewing its respective sight, yet to set anything seen through one of these shifting lenses in stone is not only negate awareness of the shifting nature of the lense itself, but to impose self-limitation. Growth allows us to see that our past notions were not always correct, nor productive when acted upon. Each past notion is a respective lense. Every experience we have had has come from our peering through a lense.

We see that most of our interpretations are based on an internal framework of conceptual constructs. This undermines the reality of our conclusions. As we have more experiences outside of what is percieved as the conventional mode of existence, we begin to understand that we never know what library of experience our neighbor may have.

Beware, this very thought process if taken too far, especially when turned into an abstraction has the capacity to formulate intense self-doubt. Nevertheless, it illustrates the ephemeral nature of our own conclusions, especially in regards to other people.

Breadcrumb