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My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
10/26/10 5:10 PM
Dear All,

As the founder and owner of this site, let me make clear the following things:

1) The DhO is about the support of hardcore meditation practice, real attainments, and dedicated adventurers exploring the limits of what is possible in this life in terms of clarity, wisdom, concentration, investigation, personal empowerment, and the vast range of experiences that come from those pursuits of benefit to their personal goals and dreams for their own practice and the elimination of what suffering can be eliminated by whatever healthful means and the promotion of what happiness, freedom and other extended and unusual capabilities are possible by whatever healthful means.

2) A wide range of traditions and variations and versions and personal innovations are welcome here, basically any that advance the first points noted above. Obviously, those meditative and other technologies that people here have experience with and find of value are the ones that will be the most discussed and promoted at whatever time, as this is only natural.

3) The first two points being established, there will naturally be changes, phases of exploration, pulses of interest in various methods and traditions, experiments, failures, successes, orthodoxies that establish themselves, cults of personality, counter-orthodoxies and counter-cults that rebel against those, reformations, factions, fads, and fashions, confusion regarding message, messenger and mode of presentation, role reversals, miscommunications, misinterpretations, syntheses of previously disparate philosophies and theories, re-syntheses based on new information of variable quality, absorptions, incorporations, revisions, fusions, fractures, disruptions, setbacks, advancements, and all the other muck and genius that is simply par for the course in these most rarified, deep, profound, subtle, difficult and human endeavors.

4) People perennially want things to cling to: traditions, friends, communities, dogmas, fears, feelings, rivalries, cliques, religions, fantasies, dreams, boundaries, limitations, rules, taboos, and much, much more. When those change or shift, which is inevitable, this can cause contraction, bitterness, resentment, lashing out, bargaining, coercion, and a whole host of other reactions as they adjust to new circumstances and attempt to get their needs, however real or imagined, met by the external world.

5) Hopefully, in general terms, those things that really are of value will prevail, those distortions and divisions that are unhelpful will fall away, and people will derive great benefit and enjoyment from the whole messy and amazing process of this Grand Experiment, keeping in mind that this is what it is.

6) All is not known, optimal methods can't be perfectly determined in all cases, nor will they be ever for each person at each time in each circumstance, as the factors and forces are too vast, and personal goals and visions of what would be optimal and of what is possible for themselves and others vary widely among people and also change with time, but innovations and improvements continue to occur and re-discovery of perennial wisdom occurs also, and for those who can handle the fluxes and complexities, there is clearly much that is simply amazing and of immeasurable value to be gained.

7) I hope that all will keep these essential points in mind and try to keep their eye on whatever they see the prize as being rather than all the more superficial aspects, which, while of some importance, are not the key, and much is lost by people getting sidetracked by reflections on the ripples on surface of the water and so don't plunge deep.

In this spirit, I hope that the DhO will continue to provide people a place to support each other in the many practices they find interesting and relevant to their own lives and pursuits, and that respectful and productive dialogue with all the intelligence and wisdom that can be brought to those will continue to make this place all it can be, and that when it dies, which it will, as do all things, that something even better will take its place.

Enjoy it while it lasts and make the most of it,

Daniel Ingram

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
10/29/10 11:02 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
much is lost by people getting sidetracked by reflections on the ripples on surface of the water and so don't plunge deep.


Reminds me of one of my fav quotes: The moon's disk pierces the surface of the pond, yet the water bears no scar.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
10/29/10 11:46 PM as a reply to John F.
John F:
Daniel M. Ingram:
much is lost by people getting sidetracked by reflections on the ripples on surface of the water and so don't plunge deep.


Reminds me of one of my fav quotes: The moon's disk pierces the surface of the pond, yet the water bears no scar.


reminds me of rather another familiar analogy, and one which is perhaps more similar to the first: the soil of a desert land can be rained upon, but cannot retain the nourishing water.

plunging deep ought to render a prominent effect (like water retained in soil brings a prominent change to the land).

tarin

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
11/15/10 12:46 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


As the founder and owner of this site, let me make clear the following things:...

...Enjoy it while it lasts and make the most of it,

Daniel Ingram


hi Bud

just a friendly thought/suggestion
upon reading through the above...

If this is an early sign of another exit strategy
please simply consider
that you don't have to end the entire community
we have formed here
together
to take a break from it.

And
please
be well.
Whatever it takes.

metta & upekkha
nathan

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
11/22/10 5:53 AM as a reply to triple think.
Dear Nathan,

Not an exit strategy, just a reminder.

I am well and thanks for the well-wishing and enjoying this place and have no plans at all to have it go away, but...

I recently had a previously healthy 18 year-old athlete show up at my Emergency Department quite dead: just dropped on the basketball court and that was the end of it, so realize that we all never know what will happen and should make the best use of today and what we have now.

I am not going anywhere that I know of, but impermanence is real.

I'm glad you are still around also.

Daniel

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
11/30/10 4:53 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
MN 131



You shouldn't chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there. Not taken in, unshaken, that's how you develop the heart. Ardently doing what should be done today, for — who knows? — tomorrow death. There is no bargaining with Mortality & his mighty horde. Whoever lives thus ardently, relentlessly both day & night, has truly had an auspicious day: so says the Peaceful Sage.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/7/10 8:59 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I just want to say Thank You to Daniel Ingram and other advanced practitioners here who formed this source of inspiration, guidance, and confidence for all of us.

I have to admit that I don't make the most of it right now, since other aspects of my life require my time, energy, and attention.
But I would like to believe that due to all the information and experience I've already received, when I will have time - I will have a better idea what I need to do and I will make fewer mistakes.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
7/1/11 7:15 PM as a reply to Yuliya Yakhontova.
Yuliya Yakhontova:
I just want to say Thank You to Daniel Ingram and other advanced practitioners here who formed this source of inspiration, guidance, and confidence for all of us.

I have to admit that I don't make the most of it right now, since other aspects of my life require my time, energy, and attention.
But I would like to believe that due to all the information and experience I've already received, when I will have time - I will have a better idea what I need to do and I will make fewer mistakes.


Agreed. The support here is energizing and the enthusiasm is contagious.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
8/3/11 1:47 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, So much appreciation for your work, your vision and your openness to embrace all path/methods. It was a pleasure to stumble upon this site and such a joy to be able to help some people here in Stream Entry. Much love. Elena

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/11/13 10:15 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
And again, thank you Daniel and all the other practitioners here who are lending a helping hand.

The old threads are just as helpful as the new threads.

It's quite a thing you got going here, this website.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/24/13 5:11 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
This was posted in another thread that will fade, but I thought it was important enough to put in this thread which will remain at the top, in slightly edited form to be less temporally limited and more generally applicable. It was in response to someone basically mocking descriptions of the phenomenology of some meditation experiences. Here it is:

A brief history lesson, for those who are too young and/or ignorant to remember such recent events.

It was a relatively few years ago that the world of online forums for discussing hardcore meditation practice didn't exist at all.

The best those of us who were into it had to choose from were essentially totally hostile to the notion that anything in the world of enlightenment and even the jhanas could be achieved by mere mortals in this lifetime, with the rare and possible exceptions of some of the most famous of the world's spiritual superstars, none of whom posted there.

Attempts to post on these forums would be met with about 95% flames, about 4% confusion, and about 1% interest, but that 1% interest was a sign, a hint, a fleeting glimpse that there were a few others out there that would appreciate something more. Most of us were very isolated, even when we went on long retreats, even when we showed up for local dharma groups, even when we talked with people who claimed to be meditations teachers, most of whom didn't know nearly as much dharma as we did.

So, based on those few glimmers of hope, Vince Horn and myself founded the Dharma Underground. It rapidly attracted a group of about 40 extremely strong practitioners, the type that you almost never saw posting on any online forum anywhere before that, and in a degree of concentration that I had never seen before and honestly haven't seen since.

Still, in that protected, members-only, hidden space, most didn't use their real names, as despite being extremely strong adults with very deep practices, the public reactions to disclosure of the details of practice was so near-universally toxic, and that conditioning took time to undo.

So far as I know, I was one of the very few that had been "out" on the internet, having had a website since 1999 or so that discussed meditation openly. It was a lonely place to be.

After some period of time, this amazing group got braver, and having found each other and having had time to normalize discussing these things amongst ourselves, and finally the decision was made to create a public forum for some of these discussions for those who would brave public attention. In this way, the Dharma Overground was born.

For a while, there were two forums, the Dharma Underground, for those who were still very closeted and still often under a fake name even there, and the Dharma Overground, for those who were public. Some made the transition, some basically didn't.

Finally, the Dharma Underground traffic basically dried up and nearly everyone transitioned to the Dharma Overground, albeit with many still not using their real names, which should tell you something about what it takes to get out there and discuss these intimate, personal, usually-kept-private, taboo and sensitive topics. In fact, plenty of the best practitioners still use pseudonyms.

Those who have been around a little while longer will remember those who are not here now and not posting anywhere or rarely posting anything about their own deep and impressive practices. The reasons for people basically vanishing back into the closet are many, but part of it is still definitely the reactions to people's strong practices, most of which are bad.

Notice the other private forums that have shown up to meet that need for privacy, such as the Dharma Refugees Forum, which is still private and only accessed by approval by its diligent guardians and contains many ex-DhO people and ex-KFD members.

Notice also the ratio of posts about seriously deep meditation practice to basically everything else. I would guess it is somewhere in the rough ballpark of 1:100 more just based on a cursory inspection of various threads, and even at that around 1% range, this place is routinely recognized among the best of the best in terms of places to discuss real practice. That shows a deep need for the real deal. It is a need that I, its founder, also share.

My skin is tougher than most. I have been willing to be out there about things that most people won't share even with their closest friends and maybe not even with their best meditation teachers. However, most people aren't like that, which is totally understandable, even some extremely strong practitioners. It is still a very hard thing for many to talk about, and I have been noticing that I myself share very few of the details of my own practice here.

Here is a recent example from my practice that hopefully will refresh people's memories of what I, at least, think of as the good stuff, that being the phenomenology of practice and thoughts on how to interpret it, etc.

Here goes:

About 2 weeks ago I was laying in bed trying to sleep between night shift, having not gotten on a proper night schedule yet, as it was too early into my run of shifts.

Suddenly and for no obvious reason, the jhanas started shifting strongly in the standard order, first, second, third, fourth, boundless space, boundless consciousness, nothingness, NPNYNP, out, then the first Pure Land Jhana showed up just dripping with immense gratitude, and the second Pure Land Jhana showed up, filled with that wide and deep peace it does so well, and then there was something new, at least to me.

It felt like there was about a 3x1cm cylinder in the center of my brain that was just beaming out the powerful feeling that I would describe as the very best part of the strongest new teenage crushy-love, but stripped of the weird achy parts and the nervousness and fear. It was without object, meaning there was no person associated with the feeling, it was just the feeling itself, and it was totally awesome.

It lasted about 5 minutes and faded out to something else. The afterglow as very short lived. It hasn't shown up since. I initially thought: wow, was that some weird A&P variant, but I haven't noticed anything else around it to give support to that theory, but you can see why I thought it. It seemed to have been its own thing. If it shows up again, I will let you know more about it. Anyway, one more interesting data point, and the sort of data point that you don't see a lot of out there in the rest of the world.

Back to business: one of the forum posters recently noted that some here might be creating a space that was not as conducive to reports of deep practice. It is an ominous warning and a very good point. I totally agree. It is also a reasonable critique of my moderating style, which has been too lenient of things that would create any space that hardcore practitioners don't feel comfortable sharing in.

Spaces that are safe for disclosures of deep practice are rare and must be preserved. They are the reason for this place, its founding reason. For those who don't feel safe, let me know, and we can re-open the Dharma Underground, which is still actually here, a part of this website and platform, but just hasn't operated in a while only due to the lack of people posting on it. By failing to advertise it, I think that some have been lost to other venues, continuing the splits that began in the First Great Schism of the DhO.

Other options include removing those barriers to more open disclosure (which was the dream upon which the Dharma Overground, as opposed to the Dharma Underground) was founded, meaning removing whomever and whatever those barriers might be. I presume there are lurkers who appreciate that there is good dharma that shows up here at times that would feel they were missing out if the good stuff went back Underground. If any want to chime in one time to give their support for those who feel the real thing should be seen somewhere beyond the closed doors, don't hesitate to share your good opinion.

Daniel

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/24/13 5:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, for what it's worth, I'm a lurker from the early days. I think I can boil down the two things that made those times great.

The first was an ethic of helping each other's practice. Kenneth might have coined the phrase "enlightenment is a team sport" or not, but regardless, it is a very good group motto to have. There was rarely outright criticism, but if there was, it was constructive toward the >practioner's< end. In other words, even if "I" wasn't on a magikal trip, if someone was asking about magik and I had a little experience in that domain, that information would be offered despite the fact that I might have moved on to something entirely different in my own practice. It wasn't about figuring out what was the highest, best practice and arguing for that. It allowed people to grow from where they were, based on the interests that were currently motivating them.

The second was also pretty basic: everybody had a daily sitting practice. In a way, that was the price of admission. It just seemed to keep everyone humble. I compare it to the idea of two different fishing clubs: one that everyone needs to actually go fishing before they walk into the club, and a different one where you just need to walk through the door. In the first club, people are talking about how they did, how they feel, what they tried, and how the >actual< fishing was that day. In the second club, people are arguing about the best lure, the best streams, debating each other by quoting authorities that write articles in magazines, discussing the different equipment on sale at the different stores... You get the point.

Had this discussion (in person, with another old DhO poster) so really I'm just typing out what I said then. Hope this adds to the conversation.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/24/13 8:11 PM as a reply to x x.
x x:
Daniel, for what it's worth, I'm a lurker from the early days. I think I can boil down the two things that made those times great.

The first was an ethic of helping each other's practice. Kenneth might have coined the phrase "enlightenment is a team sport" or not, but regardless, it is a very good group motto to have. There was rarely outright criticism, but if there was, it was constructive toward the >practioner's< end. In other words, even if "I" wasn't on a magikal trip, if someone was asking about magik and I had a little experience in that domain, that information would be offered despite the fact that I might have moved on to something entirely different in my own practice. It wasn't about figuring out what was the highest, best practice and arguing for that. It allowed people to grow from where they were, based on the interests that were currently motivating them.

The second was also pretty basic: everybody had a daily sitting practice. In a way, that was the price of admission. It just seemed to keep everyone humble. I compare it to the idea of two different fishing clubs: one that everyone needs to actually go fishing before they walk into the club, and a different one where you just need to walk through the door. In the first club, people are talking about how they did, how they feel, what they tried, and how the >actual< fishing was that day. In the second club, people are arguing about the best lure, the best streams, debating each other by quoting authorities that write articles in magazines, discussing the different equipment on sale at the different stores... You get the point.

Had this discussion (in person, with another old DhO poster) so really I'm just typing out what I said then. Hope this adds to the conversation.


I find this 'issue' very interesting cause I've been on this site for a short while and ever since I joined I've felt supported and encouraged in my own practice. I guess I'm too young to know of any of this.

I greatly enjoy this website. It helps my practice a lot and I feel like I have a change to contribute to others' practice as well.

As it was said in the other post, it's your website Daniel. Do with it what you wish emoticon

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/29/13 5:41 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I agree, Travis. This is a forum of great value and I'm sure lots of people here feel this way. I hope no permanent damage is done.
I just have some keywords for now, in no particular order:

respect

wise speech

difference between principles and words

brahma viharas

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/30/13 8:23 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I've never posted here before as I was sceptical being a beginner that, posting about one's own practise may result in building up more bondages instead of complete dissolution. More food and reaction, building up ego. I had fallen into this trap before when posting on a different place once.

Mindfulness went for a toss, when all of a sudden someone disagrees with you. You suddenly let emotions take over and thus loose the core idea of Enlightenment being a Team effort.

This my stuff I understand, but there is a thin line I feel between "working on one's own stuff (which is still reaction/wanting something) on purpose" and "staying mindful while the stuff is happening and thus letting it go forever (apparently having it fixed)"

That was some time ago, so while trying to be carefully mindful; I write my first post here.

I've read Daniel's work (guidance in the best form) in MCTB. Its mentioned more than once on - how much the discourse during retreat (in thick accent by a teacher) helped. It was a re-assurance that, the path chosen is undoubtedly correct and proven already. That its - already chosen/followed by many that lead them towards freedom and to bring an end to Duality.

A somewhat similar experience/realisation happened to me, after reading MCTB, all your experiences/blogs/books/references on this forum. Faith, Wisdom, Energy, Concentration and Mindfulness - is absolutely what it takes. This forum and associated content has helped me build tremendous faith by seeing an approach so pragmatic, so practical, reproducible and achievable.

I urge all, to keep this forum public, so that it continues to motivate and build faith into Practioners like me - who are deeply in need of it. There are very less places available today in this simple way/form.

Other issues, expressions thriving inconvenience or emotional outbreaks in the form of comments/posts couldn't that be moderated by volunteers. Maybe one should remind those posting to be mindful, else separate them from this portal for the benefit of all. Not trying to suggest something being a newbee, but simply request to let this tree grow and may it help numerous more practioners of this art/this path.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
12/31/13 11:20 AM as a reply to world inside.
World inside; I agree with you completely.

This online sangha offers a lot more than words can explain. It's helped me tremendously. Everyone I've encountered so far seems to be respectful and offers a lot to my practice. I only hope I do the same for others.

Of course there are other 'not so ideal' members, but thats life. It's like a family dinner; there are the uncles and cousins we love and get along with great, where as the step family, possibly the grandmother and maybe even our own mother bother us once and a while.


Yesterday I went to a meeting with several other Buddhists to meditate and discuss Buddhist practice, meditation and teachings.

What I found was not many people have a strong inclination to talk about meditation as a means of hardcore practice like the members here seem to do. Of course I understand all of us have psychological issues or social issues that sometimes prevent us from meditating, so those things need to be talked about.

But in regards to talking about practice at a sensate level, really getting down to what's actually happening right now, those kinds of talk are few and far between in the outside world (outside meaning outside of this website).

I'm very grateful for this website and the kind of hardcore dharma and attitude it provides.

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
6/19/14 3:04 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"I presume there are lurkers who appreciate that there is good dharma that shows up here at times that would feel they were missing out if the good stuff went back Underground. If any want to chime in one time to give their support for those who feel the real thing should be seen somewhere beyond the closed doors, don't hesitate to share your good opinion."

The real thing should be seen beyond closed doors.  I've lurked here for a while, and the notion, ideology, and dream behind this website are more inspiring than I feel I can express.  I don't remember when or even how I first stumbled onto MCTB, but I remember something about the way it was written really hit at home and spoke to me differently than anything else I had read.  Unfortunately I didn't really absorb it as well as I wish I had, from my current perspective.  I've gone to some very short retreats over the past few years and found myself at one point somewhat blindsided by the dark night.  My sense is I've followed the 'standard pattern' Daniel talks about on his .info site about hitting AP, then dark night, then maybe low equanimity only to fall back after that, thereby being stuck until figuring out how to crack the thing.  Unfortunately I seem to be the type that stays quite introverted, and I feel mistaken in that I hadn't spoken to my teacher at all about the dark stuff which occured a while after retreat. Looking back I'm not certain I recognized any connection between practice and the 'darkness,' even though I had read MCTB.  Like I said, I apparently didn't absorb some of its messages the first time I read it.  I feel perhaps I've been a dark night yogi since my teens and this stuff all came back...existential crisis and all that stuff...harder than ever before.  I spent a lot of time alone in a room (oops...)  The whole thing about how I could be in paradise but still feel 'wrong' in a sense comes to mind.  In the past I've met with only disdain and the suggestion of medication when trying to talk about it, so I basically learned to keep my trap shut.  So when this harder dark night hit there was no way I was going to say anything to anyone about it for fear of extreme alienation and/or hospitalization.  Perhaps this was wrong and I leave open the possibility that psychotherapy or medication could be something worthwhile, but somewhere inside I knew that wasn't the problem.  I had known and felt very strongly that for this specific ailment those things just didn't seem to fit as a 'cure' for the symptoms, if you will.  In any case, I found myself going back to MCTB, and then finding Daniels .info site and checking out the DhO from there.  I checked out some books from his recommended reading list and began lurking this site.  I began to conceptually put things together, especially concerning the stages of insight, specifically the A&P and the dark night.  Even though I've read it before, going back, reading it again, checking different views from different authors and current practitioners posting on the DhO and referencing it all to my own experience I feel has helped me so much.  The notion that this was progress blows my mind and stirs up a bit of courage to take it up again and move forward.  Again, due to my sometimes very introverted personality, and the conditions whereby I didn't feel comfortable talking about any of this to practically anyone, being able to see all this online has been so extremely valuable to me and I find the willingness of people to honestly and openly express aspects of their own practice, process, good and bad, in a culture that basically ignores such aspects of human nature, surprisingly even in spiritual and meditation circles, so incredibly inspiring.

After lurking for a while now I decided yesterday to sign up, still unsure about posting much if anything...but seeing this thread I couldn't not leave a post in support of this awesome and rare cyber community and a short story as to how it has helped me.  For just a little more sap, I'd like to say there's a hell of a lot of gratitude from this little portion of this great thing we call life/existence/whateverthisis.  So if I haven't been clear, then my opinion is that it'd be a damn shame to close the lid on something so potentially self empowering (or 'no-self' empowering, haha....).

Chris

RE: My Vision of The DhO Itself
Answer
6/19/14 7:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I'm new to Buddhism and sitting meditation, only been in to it since a Goenka 10-day December 2013.  DhO moved me from relative isolation to having a community that I feel attracted to for it's hardcore and open ethic.  Knowing there are active hardcorers is part of the attraction.

That said, I feel uncomfortable posting much about my budding hard core practice, because I don't like the idea of having to sort out advise from anonymous people of an unknown fidelity to the values I pursue.  I'm confident that the value is here though, all I have to do is sift out the wheat from the chaff.  Certainly I'd be stronger in more than one way for the sifting effort, but the expectation of effort does have a dampening  effect on mydesire to communicate.

If an underground full of hardcore practitioners was available to me, I'd probably go there, feeling like I'm whimping out on the wild west, and depriving others of my contributions.