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Analayo: "Meditation Maps, Attainment Claims, and the Adversities of Mindfulness"

It will be interesting to read the comments and insights of the monks and nuns on this thread after vassa.

Ok, thanks for clarifying :slightly_smiling_face: :heart:

I agree.

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Can you let me know which discourse this is in?

I am not sure if I agree with this characterization of the suttas.

I see the entire of the Dhamma-Vinaya (suttas-and-vinaya) to be a sufficiently detailed, but not overly detailed, “how to” guide to achieving happiness/Nibbana.

I think that the Buddha’s judgment regarding how much detail is necessary and sufficient to provide to achieve Nibbana is far greater than is the judgment of Theravadin commentators and Ingram - more detail is not necessarily better. Sometimes the extra details can be false or make things more counter-productively complicated or convoluted.

Another problem that I had with Ingram’s approach was that he made it seem like acting in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya (say via mindfulness, meditation, etc.) could ever lead to any thing bad under any condition.

I think this is directly at odds with the Buddha’s claim that sammā sati and sammā samadhi can never lead to anything bad/dukkha - but micchā sati/samadhi can lead to dukkha.

Furthermore, I think Ingram’s approach seems to overemphasize meditation (noting practice, etc.) at the expense of the an enormous number of harmless and beneficial qualities that the Buddha endorsed and encouraged in the Dhamma-Vinaya.

He doesn’t seem to pause to consider that negligence of the development of the various other factors taught in the Dhamma-Vinaya could be the reason for the manifestations of dukkha, such as the dark night of the soul.

Even the obsession with “dark night of the soul” itself seems to be an obsession with a particular view which might not actually be as helpful or effective as say, obsessions with the views of the Dhamma-Vinaya, which in turn, seem to eventuate in the cessation of all obsessions with views for good.

Sometimes, I wondered if my attachment to the MCTB framework (as opposed to the Dhamma-Vinaya framework) sort of perpetuated and manifested such “dark night of the soul experiences.”

I think that my mind and my life stabilized significantly more after trying to turn my attention away from “obsessive meditation practice in line with Daniel Ingram’s MCTB methodology” towards the “various parts of the Dhamma-Vinaya as a whole as taught by the Buddha.”

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What (very subtle) cognitive kleshas are Arahants not free of that the Buddha is free of?

I learned somewhere that there was a trend in Mahayana and later Buddhist traditions to glamorize the Buddha and widen the gap between Arahants and the Buddha (who calls himself an Arahant) in ways that were not done in the EBTs.

I am wondering if this claim that Arahants still have kleshas/asavas/impurities/etc. is a sort of slander against Arahants that cannot be found nor supported by the EBTs.

Thank you for clarifying this.

To be fair, I think in some ways, this can be seen as being far worse that what Daniel Ingram seems to propose.

I actually spoke to him on the phone and communicated with him through email, and Ingram told me that he is a board-certified physician who earns his living that way (I think he is specialized and lives in a rural area too, so I think he earns quite a bit). I am not sure, but I don’t think he teaches or financially benefits in unfair ways.

However, the kind of Tibetan monks that I mentioned above wear a robe, call themselves Buddhist monks, and then basically transgressed the Dhamma-Vinaya in their capacity as monks - if I’m not wrong, for example, but not limited to by drinking and having sex, not just once, but repeatedly.

So for one to say that they are having sex without experiencing sexual craving seems like an excuse that one uses to have sex.
According to all extant Vinayas, including the Dharmagupta Vinaya that the Tibetan tradition uses, this entails lifetime expulsion.
But such monks as the ones that I mentioned have sex and commit other transgressions, and not only do not get expelled, but they live off of alms and offerings that are meant for the community of the Buddha.

Again, this seems to be an excuse to commit transgressions, like having sex.
It would beg the question, if those monks can have sex “for the sake of teaching the Dhamma-Vinaya” - what other transgression could they do and get away with using the excuse “for the purpose of teaching.”

In short, I do not think they are skillful.
To the contrary, I think they are unskillful and contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya.
I don’t think the Buddha would be okay with monks like Chögyam Trungpa and Drukpa Kunley wearing robes and being a part of his Sangha. I think he would promptly expel them like trash.
I don’t think these actions should be overlooked, nor should they be excused.

While the mahasiddhas might be specific to the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition, my criticism is more broadly applicable even to monks that I have heard about in Sri Lankan, Burmese, Thai, etc. Theravada tradition as well, who transgress, break, and make excuses to break the rules of the Dhamma-Vinaya to which they are bound upon ordaining in the Buddha’s Sangha.

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AN 10.219:

“What do you think, bhikkhus, if a youth were to develop the liberation of mind by loving-kindness from his childhood on, would he do a bad deed?”

“No, Bhante.”

“Could suffering affect him if he does no bad deed?” “No, Bhante. For on what account could suffering affect one who does no bad deed?”

“A woman or a man should develop this liberation of mind by loving-kindness. A woman or a man cannot take this body with them when they go. Mortals have mind as their core.

“The noble disciple understands: ‘Whatever bad deed I did here in the past with this deed-born body is all to be experienced here. It will not follow along.’ When the liberation of mind by loving-kindness has been developed in this way, it leads to non-returning for a wise bhikkhu here who does not penetrate to a further liberation.

Also check out SN 42.8.

I think we might just be arguing about semantics here (what is “detailed” vs “not detailed”?). I think it’s fine for Ingram, commentary, etc. to attempt to “fill in the details,” because said details may be helpful for some people. I just don’t consider it as authoritative as the Buddha’s own words in the suttas.

I think we have to clarify what we mean by “bad.” I don’t consider my dark night experiences “bad,” but actually helpful, insofar as they reduced my suffering long term. Unpleasant=/= bad.

The Buddha did not say that his practice would never lead to unpleasantness.AN 4.163 states that contemplation of ugliness, repulsiveness, etc. is unpleasant.

He doesn’t just emphasize meditation. He also talks about the importance of the Three Trainings and overall just getting your life together. From his own words:

Still, the notion that meditation on its own will necessarily fix it all and that you can just neglect other aspects of your life is not recommended. In fact, specifically, there are Three Trainings in Buddhism, designed to support each other, with none to be neglected, and the first one is skillful living in the world in the ordinary sense, Sila. While it is true that great suffering can sometimes motivate great meditation practice, great suffering and basic life dysfunction can also derail our attempts to get our meditation trip together, and, were I to bet, I would bet on those meditators who have other aspects of their psychological health more together than those who don’t.

I have heard/read him say, however, that, at least from his experience, the strength of the dark night can be very unpredictable. I recall him mentioning one on his forum that he knows people with good sila who’ve bene hammered by the dark night, for example. He says this:

D: I have discussed this story with Dr Britton herself, but I, for one, am not sure it is all so perfectly straightforward and, while advocating for training in Sila in the very first part of MCTB2 and at many points later on, given its benefit to the insight practitioner, I don’t believe training well in either Sila or Concentration are perfect prophylaxis against difficult insight stages, and I base this on numerous practitioners I have met and whose stories I have heard and read. I know some extremely virtuous, ethical people who have had significant troubles when these stages arise.

So I don’t think it’s fair to say that he doesn’t consider other factors, he is just warning that the situation is complicated (which is not out of line from what the Buddha teaches about the exact workings of kamma being complex).

It’s possible. One should never obsessively meditate according to one practice imho (MCTB or anyone else’s). I agree that one should look at the whole. It sounds like MCTB wasn’t a helpful practice for you and that it was good for you to move on.

I don’t want to continue posting on this thread since it sounds like a lot of people already have their mind made up. I just want to end on this one last closing note, since there is a lot of misunderstanding here: Daniel Ingram is NOT advocating hedonism. Nor am I aware of him getting involved in any ethical scandal. He also is adamant about not profiting from his teachings. Calling him come sort of “mad saint” comparable to Chögyam Trungpa mischaracterizes what sort of teacher he is. Here is what he has said about his own practice in regards to sila:

Around the time I got stream entry, Sila played into things in the following ways:

  • I had spent a year doing full-time, unpaid volunteer service for some of the poorest people in India (street clinic in Calcutta, very rural villages about 5 miles walk through the rice paddies outside Bodh Gaya)
  • I didn’t drink, smoke, or do any drugs
  • I was in a monogomous married relationship
  • I tried always to be as honest as human relationships allow
  • I stole nothing
  • I was vegetarian
  • I tried to avoid killing even mosquitos, though was only partially successful on that front, given the malaria, etc.
  • I lived on nearly nothing, eating cheap street food and staying in the bottom of the line non-air-conditioned hotels without hot water the majority of the time (two people living on about $400/month for all expenses: pretty bottom of the tourist barrel)
  • I did my best to be as generous as my meager living situation allowed and always kind when I could pull it off

In short, morality was then and since has always been extremely important to me, and most people would find my personal moral code pretty restrictive and perhaps even oppressive, I believe.

Of course, Ingram, like anyone else, is not above reproach, and should be critiqued for things he gets wrong. But, when critiquing, please don’t make a caricature of who he is.

metta to all :heart:

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Since this thread is to discuss Analayo’s critique of Ingram, I won’t venture into all the doctrinal differences and details regarding Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tantra here. If you want to have this conversation, you can start a new thread, or you can do your own research on this tradition before dismissing it out of hand by name dropping two controversial figures. How would you like it if someone totally dismissed the entirety of Theravada by citing Dhammakaya leaders, for example?

Oh and FYI, Kungley gave up his robes so was not a monk during his travels. Trungpa also became a layperson and got married etc. Neither claimed to be arahants.

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Thank you.

Touche. As long as those added details aren’t misattributed to the Buddha.

I agree.

Good points. I agree.

I know he didn’t emphasize meditation only.

My criticism was that he overemphasized meditation. If one titles his book “mastering the core teachings of the Buddha,” then the emphasis should at least attempt to reflect the Buddha’s emphasis on various factors.

I do remember him saying things like that every now and then, but the bulk of the book seemed to focus on meditation.

I remember coming away from reading the book feeling like “ethics, etc. is important, but meditation…” as opposed to “ethics, etc. is so fundamentally important that the end goal is impossible to achieve without it.” Does this make sense?

Again, I do give him credit for mentioning it.

But the scope of the Dhamma-Vinaya is so vast and comprehensive, I just honestly did not think that he did justice to it in the sense of fulfilling his claim to “convey the core teachings of the Buddha.”

That’s why I did acknowledge that he did teach harmless and beneficial things, but I said that I think his approach was limited at best.

Good point.
Thank you for sharing those parts. I do give him more credit.

This dilemma seems to be answered pretty straightforwardly in the Dhamma-Vinaya by the Buddha.
I don’t remember the exact sutta, but basically the Buddha claims that bad deeds done and good deeds undone could lead to the experiencing of bitter fruits in the future.
Ingram’s representation of the situation makes it seem like ethics is independent of the dark night troubles - whereas the Buddha seems pretty clear that ethics cannot lead to any trouble on account of the ethics - any trouble experienced would likely be due to actions that are contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya.

Anyway, my main point is that, yes, Ingram acknowledged the other factors, but when I used to use his book as a bible of sorts compared to after coming across the EBT’s, I have found that he, in my assessment, does not emphasize and give due weight to those other factors.

I think this point becomes clear if one compares MCBT side-by-side with the EBTs.

I guess it would depend on what that “practice” is - for example, I seem to think that obsessively practicing in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya as a whole doesn’t seem like it would lead to any bad outcomes in the future at all ever on account of those actions, not matter how obsessive.

I do think there were helpful parts.
I just thought it was limited relative to the Dhamma-Vinaya as a whole, that’s all.

We agree on this (fundamental/important) point.

I think I was the one who brought up Chögyam Trungpa and Drukpa Kunley in response to someone who claimed that the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition would criticize Daniel Ingram.

I actually used those examples to defend Daniel Ingram, not to make a caricature out of him. I think that you might have misunderstood.

I didn’t dismiss the entire Tibetan Vajrayana tradition out of hand, the same way I didn’t dismiss MCBT nor the Theravada tradition out of hand - even though I clearly pointed out limitations and problems with Sri Lankan/Burmese/Thai Theravada monks and Ingram’s approach as well.

Also, I clearly criticized specific monks or certain kinds of monks as opposed to the tradition as a whole.

Like I said, I did not dismiss the entirety of the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition out of hand. Just like MCTB and Theravada, I think that it is limited at best.

But I do not identify with the Theravada tradition, so I do not feel defensive of it when someone rightly criticizes it. To the contrary, I myself have openly disagreed with and criticized Theravada dogmatics both on this forum and on other forums as well.

Perhaps your identification with the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition might make you feel defensive in ways that you might not feel if you did not identify with that tradition?

For example, your last statement sort of seemed to downplay (if not falsely rationalize away) what I see to be glaring problems - it seems similar to if a Theravadin were to downplay and coverup problematic actions of monks like Ashin Wirathu and the monks involved in inciting violence and promoting warfare in the Sri Lankan civil war between the Sinhalese Buddhist and Tamil Hindus.

It seems like Kungley and Trungpa were both monks when they were having sex with all of those women. :thinking:

I seem to see some parallels between the three:

Trungpa’s sexuality has been one of the sources of controversy, as he cultivated relations with a number of his female students. Tenzin Palmo, who met him in 1962 while he was still at Oxford, did not become one of his consorts, refusing his advances because he had presented himself as “a pure monk.” But Palmo stated that had she known Trungpa had been having sexual relations with women since he was 13, she would not have declined.[72] Trungpa formally renounced his monastic vows in 1969.[73]

He was known for his crazy methods of enlightening other beings, mostly women, which earned him the title “The Saint of 5,000 Women”. Among other things, women would seek his blessing in the form of sex. His intention was to show that it is possible to be enlightened, impart enlightenment, and still lead a very healthy sex life. He demonstrated that celibacy was not necessary for being enlightened. In addition, he wanted to expand the range of means by which enlightenment could be imparted, while adding new evolutionary prospects to the overarching tradition. He is credited with introducing the practice of phallus paintings in Bhutan and placing statues of them on rooftops to drive away evil spirits.[2] Because of this power to awaken unenlightened beings, Kunley’s penis is referred to as the “Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom” and he himself is known as the “fertility saint”. For this reason women from all around the world visited his monastery to seek his blessing.[3][4]

Some of his most famous performances include urinating on sacred thankhas, stripping down naked or offering his testicles to a famous Lama. He is one of very few Buddhist teachers to almost always appear in Bhutanese paintings topless. It is known that Drukpa Kunley would not bless anyone who came to seek his guidance and help unless they brought a beautiful woman and a bottle of wine. His fertility temple, Chimi Lhakhang, is today filled with the weaved portable wine bottles.[5]

Visitors to Drukpa Kunley’s monastery in Bhutan are welcome to enjoy a short trek up a hill. The monastery is very modest, only one smallish building, but it contains a wood-and-ivory lingamthrough which one can obtain blessings from the monk in residence.

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It’s not simply hurtful, it’s a common logical sleight of hand that people do when they want to radically change a tradition, or perhaps create a new tradition but use an existing tradition’s name and words. In order for people to accept the new version of things, you first have to attack the old version in no uncertain terms and delegitimize it. It’s essentially a propaganda tactic. It works because people who don’t actually know that much about what you’re delegitimizing will think, “Hmm, well, this person seems to be intelligent, so they must have good reason to say these things.” Gossip functions on that same principle, just applied to people’s private lives instead anything as heady as an entire philosophical or ethical system.

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Welcome to the forum @Ehipassiko :slight_smile:

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Surely that sutta could just as easily mean (and IMHO much more likely means) that past unskillful karma fails to come to fruition at all, rather than it coming to fruition in this life.

Is this possible? :thinking:

I thought the Buddha said that “past karma” cannot be like “eaten away” - the way some ascetics (like the Jains/Niganthas) at that time seemed to think was possible, like in Devadaha Sutta.

What do you think?

I’m not sure about Sutta sources, but it’s certainly a traditional teaching (e.g. Vism XIX 14) that some kamma doesn’t come to fruition but simply dissipates — presumably because it’s outweighed but contrary kamma.

Thank you for letting me know.

I wonder if anyone knows of any sutta sources which can help clarify the answer to this question since later Theravada texts may be at odds with the EBT on certain issues/topics.

Yeah, thanks for bringing this up as I think it’s something that Ingram’s book fails to fully grapple with.

I think the main reason people are accusing him of hedonism is his firm rejection of monasticism.

I’m happy that he’s found a way to teach without compensation and to so far avoid serious scandals, but wouldn’t the easy and culturally appropriate (that is to say, non-appropriative) way to do that be to simply ordain and then follow the vinaya? There’s no need to invent your own ethical standards for being a dharma teacher when we still have the Buddha’s own standard.

There’s a few places in his book where he acknowledges that the natural expression of some of the insights gained would have been to break off relationships, quit his job, renounce the world, etc. I find it kind of heart-breaking that despite having these insights he remained fully committed to his (Western, materialist) culture’s values, and resisted his natural pull towards the renunciate life. Instead, he relied on his doctor’s training which sees such sudden urges to throw away your life as a psychological problem. “Unpleasant =/= bad” Of course it was hard for me (and painful for those around me) to leave the householder life. But ultimately “helpful, insofar as it reduced my suffering long term.”

So, to his list of reforms Ingram hopes for in the field of psychology, I’d humbly like to add my own: that psychology resist the urge to psychopathologize renunciation.

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Probably the Lonakapalla Sutta (AN 3.100) has the answer you are looking for.
With Metta

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There’s a lot in psychology that still echoes the repressive Christian culture of the 19th century, against which Freud was rebelling. And to be sure, there is a long history of psychopathology in renunciate communities, and it would be a mistake to ignore that.

Having said which, I find some gladness in the emerging recognition of “asexuality”, that some people are just not that into sex. Being asexual is just another way of being human. Not that monastic renunciation is the same thing, by any means, but at least there is a better undertsaning that a person need not be pathological for not wanting to have sex.

If there are any aces out there reading this, hi! :wave: I hope you’re doing okay! I know that being ace in our highly sexualized culture can be difficult. You do you.

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Nice post. Though I suppose that was a fairly open-ended and somewhat ambiguous statement on my part. I must admit that I didn’t have some of dichotomies you talked about or even the enlightenment of the suttas about in mind when writing it! :slight_smile: Rather just some doubts about the nature of the various enlightenment paths (first, second, third, fourth) in the MCTB scheme and the rather large dose of emotional turmoil (getting on a hamster-wheel of dark nights, A&Ps and the like) that seemed to go with that in seemingly a good percentage of cases.

Anyway, enlightenment can mean widely differing things in different places and systems. Sure, the enlightenment of the suttas does swim against the usual tide of what people think is happiness in the world. The nature of the process there does sound a bit gentler though. I never got the impression from the suttas that people were actively going through turmoil until they eventually hopped off the whole merry-go-round as an arahant. If anything, it sounded like there was a certain danger that a monastic could be somewhat lazy or lacking in diligence they could get to a certain stage of enlightenment and put off more progress until another life.

In the suttas, anyway, all these dichotomies don’t seem that severe (enlightenment coming in stages and not just a thing, in part anyway, for renunciants).

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Thank you, Viveka :pray:

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Thanks for those links (I can actually see and download the PDF in that link). Looks interesting. I’ll have a read through that later.

It would be nice to see more study on the general issue. Maybe there are particular dangers in high levels of intense fast noting practice. Though, I doubt it’s confined to that (perhaps a strong emphasis on high levels of meditation practice over everything else is more likely to lead to problems?). I get the impression that part of the purpose of the Analayo paper was trying to put some clear water between the MCTB approach and other mindfulness approaches in this regard.

An interview with Leigh Brasington comes to mind. Focuses on the problems that come with meditation, particularly the type of concentration meditation that he does (there’s a rather funny story in there too about a retreat centre phoning up the aircraft control of a local airport :slight_smile: ). IMO some pretty wise advice in there generally, e.g. if traumatic stuff or past issues comes to the surface up in meditation then maybe the best way to deal with it isn’t necessarily always more meditation, which is described as like poking the fire a bit more with the same stick.

I recalled posting it here before. Tracked down my post to find the link and to be lazy I’ll just cut and paste a good chunk of my past post. I also found a somewhat relevant Jack Kornfield book quote in there too, which strikes me as not out of place either.

A lot of [the video] is about the problems people run into in jhana retreats he runs (seemingly a relatively frequent occurrence). Sometimes traumatic issues come to the surface (more meditation then may not always be the answer). Sometimes people become a bit too spaced out and ungrounded. Brasington has said that on some occasions on long retreats he has sent people off to do mundane chores like chopping wood or even off to have a cup of coffee in a local café to get more grounded (he gives a story where someone from a retreat in a meditation centre calls the local airport to tell them to route the flight paths away from the centre because they are disturbing their meditation, something which probably seemed totally logical to them at the time :wink: ). There’s a story about Dipa Ma there too (one of the side-effects of deep concentation seems to be a temporary shutting down of the brain’s multi-tasking and executive functioning capacities). Seemingly after such meditation she often had real difficulties for a spell doing simple everyday tasks like trying to open the front door (“How do I open the front door?” “Don’t I need something?” “Oh, yes, a key” “Now where is that key?” “Oh, yes, in my back pocket” :slight_smile: ). Brasington expresses the view that personal interaction with and the availability of teachers very familiar with these states is indispensable, that meditation isn’t a cure for all the ailments of the Western psyche, that more meditation isn’t always the answer (or maybe a different form of meditation might work better if the current one is causing problems – he suggests metta meditation in moderate doses may often be a useful alternative).

And the Jack Kornfield quote (from A Path With Heart):

Meditation: Reflecting On The Shadow Of Your Form Of Practice

Just as every community has a shadow, every set of teachings will also have areas of shadow, aspects of life that they do not illuminate wisely. Every style of teaching will also produce its near enemy, the way that particular teaching can be most easily misused or misunderstood. It can be useful to take some time to reflect on the strengths and limitations of the practice you have chosen to follow. You can then consider to what extent these are issues in your own spiritual life. The following examples hint at the possible shadows you may encounter.

Insight Meditation and similar Buddhist practices can lead to quietude, to withdrawal from and fear of the world. The emptiness taught in Zen and nondualist Vedanta can lead to a related problem, to being disconnected and ungrounded. Any form of idealistic, otherworldly teaching that sees life on earth as a dream and focuses on higher realms can lead one to live with complacency, amorality, and indifference. Physical practices such as hatha yoga can lead to bodily perfection instead of an awakening of the heart. Kindulani yoga can lead students to become can lead students to become experience junkies in search of exciting sensations of body and mind rather than liberation. Those such as Krishnamurti and others who teach against any discipline or method of practice can lead people to remain intellectual about spiritual life without providing any deep inner experience. Practices that involve a great deal of study can do the same. Moralistic practices with strong rules about what is pure and what is not can reinforce low self-esteem or lead to rigidity and self-righteousness. Practices of tantra can become an excuse to act out desires as a pseudo form of spiritual practice. Devotion practices can leave clarity and discriminating wisdom undeveloped. Powerful gurus can make us think we can’t do it ourselves. Practices of joy and celebration such as Sufi dancing may leave students lacking an understanding of the inevitable loss and sorrows of life. Practices that emphasize suffering can miss the joy of life.

As you reflect on these shadows, consider your own spiritual path and tradition. Let yourself sense its strengths and weaknesses, its gifts and the ways it can be misused. Notice where you may be caught and what more you might need. Remember that there is nothing wrong with any of these practices per se. They are simply tools for opening and awakening. Each can be used skillfully or unknowingly misused. As you mature in your own spiritual life, you can take responsibility for your own practice and reflect wisely on where you are entangled and what can awaken you to freedom in every realm.

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Thanks for the Devadaha sutta!

Re: Dark night experiences, I found the following part of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s introduction interesting…

The first point concerns the Buddhist teaching on action, or kamma (karma). The general understanding of this teaching is that actions from the past determine present pleasure and pain, while present actions determine future pleasure and pain. Or, to quote a recent book devoted to the topic, “Karma is the moral principle that governs human conduct. It declares that our present experience is conditioned by our past conduct and that our present conduct will condition our future experience.” This, however, does not accurately describe the Buddha’s teaching on karma, and is instead a fairly accurate account of the Nigantha teaching, which the Buddha explicitly refutes here.
The Buddha points to one of the most distinctive features of his own teaching on kamma: that the present experience of pleasure and pain is a combined result of both past and present actions. This seemingly small addition to the notion of kamma plays an enormous role in allowing for the exercise of free will and the possibility of putting an end to suffering before the effects of all past actions have ripened. In other words, this addition is what makes Buddhist practice possible, and makes it possible for a person who has completed the practice to survive and teach it with full authority to others.
The second important point touched on in this sutta — how to put an end to pain and suffering — relates to the first. If the cause of present suffering were located exclusively in the past, no one could do anything in the present moment to stop that suffering; the most that could be done would be to endure the suffering while not creating any new kamma leading to future suffering. Although this was the Jain approach to practice, many people at present believe that it is the Buddhist approach as well. Meditation, according to this understanding, is the process of purifying the mind of old kamma by training it to look on with non-reactive equanimity as pain arises. The pain is the result of old kamma, the equanimity adds no new kamma, and thus over time all old kamma can be burned away. In this sutta, however, the Buddha heaps ridicule on this idea.
The Buddha then provides his own account of how meditation actually works in putting an end to pain and suffering. His discussion shows that the problem underlying pain is not past action, but passionin the present — for the causes of pain. In other words, pain is not inevitable. Present suffering can be prevented by changing one’s understanding of, and attitude toward, the cause of suffering in the present.
Thus the practice must focus on ways to understand and bring about dispassion for the causes of stress and pain here and now.

IMHO, this EBT idea of understanding and achieving dispassion towards the causes of Suffering while pursuing the Path to awakening is what is missing in Ingram’s book. There is a section in the MCTB where he discusses the issue of understanding and overcoming emotions, but he is quite ambivalent about such models, dismissing them as promoting emotional repression. This may be the reason for the pronounced Dark Night symptoms in followers of that path. :thinking:

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