Meditation Discussion Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: raushan on March 29, 2021, 12:54:00 PM

Title: Jed Mckenna books
Post by: raushan on March 29, 2021, 12:54:00 PM
Has anyone read books by Jed Mckenna? What's your view on this?
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on March 29, 2021, 12:55:30 PM
I found this passage in one. of his books. I was intrigued by seeing a different perspective.

Being critical of Buddhism isn’t easy.

Buddhism is the most likable of the major religions, and Buddhists are the perennial good guys of modern spirituality. Beautiful traditions, lovely architecture, inspiring statuary, ancient history, the Dalai Lama – what’s not to like?

Everything about Buddhsim is just so… nice. No fatwahs or jihads, no inquisitions or crusades, no terrorists or pederasts, just nice people being nice. In fact, Buddhism means niceness. Nice-ism.

At least, it should.

Buddha means Awakened One, so Buddhism can be taken to mean Awake-ism. Awakism. It would therefore be natural to think that if you were looking to wake up, then Buddhism, i.e., Awakism, would be the place to look.

::: The Light is Better Over Here

Such thinking, however, would reveal a dangerous lack of respect for the opposition. Maya, goddess of delusion, has been doing her job with supreme mastery since the first spark of self-awareness flickered in some chimp’s noggin, and the idea that the neophyte truth-seeker can just sign up with the Buddhists, read some books, embrace some new concepts and slam her to the mat might be a bit on the naive side.

On the other hand, why not? How’d this get so turned around? It’s just truth. Shouldn’t truth be, like, the simplest thing? Shouldn’t someone who wants to find something as ubiquitous as truth be able to do so? And here’s this venerable organization supposedly dedicated to just that very thing, even named for it, so what’s the problem?

::: Why doesn’t Buddhism produce Buddhas?

The problem arises from the fact that Buddhists, like everyone else, insist on reconciling the irreconcilable. They don’t just want to awaken to the true, they also want to make sense of the untrue. They want to have their cake and eat it too, so they end up with nonsensical theories, divergent schools, sagacious doubletalk, and zero Buddhas.

Typical of Buddhist insistence on reconciling the irreconcilable is the concept of Two Truths, a poignant two-word joke they don’t seem to get, and yet this sort of perversely irrational thinking is at the very heart of the failed search for truth. We don’t want truth, we want a particular truth; one that doesn’t threaten ego, one that doesn’t exist. We insist on a truth that makes sense given what we know, not knowing that we don’t know anything.

Nothing about Buddhism is more revealing than the Four Noble Truths which, not being true, are of pretty dubious nobility. They form the basis of Buddhism, so it’s clear from the outset that the Buddhists have whipped up a proprietary version of truth shaped more by market forces than any particular concern for the less consumer-friendly, albeit true, truth.

Yes, Buddhism may be spiritually filling, even nourishing, but insofar as truth is concerned, it’s junkfood. You can eat it every day of your life and die exactly as Awakened as the day you signed up.

::: Bait & Switch

Buddhism is a classic bait-and-switch operation. We’re attracted by the enlightenment in the window, but as soon as we’re in the door they start steering us over to the compassion aisle. Buddhists could be honest and change their name to Compassionism, but who wants that?

There’s the rub. They can’t sell compassion and they can’t deliver enlightenment.

This untruth-in-advertising is the kind of game you have to play if you want to stay successful in a business where the customer is always wrong. You can either go out of business honestly, or thrive by giving the people what they want. What they say they want and what they really want, though, are two very different things.

::: Me Me Me

To the outside observer, much of Buddhist knowledge and practice seems focused on spiritual self-improvement. This, too, is hard to speak against… except within the context of awakening from delusion. Then it’s easy.

There is no such thing as true self, so any pursuit geared toward its aggrandizement, betterment, upliftment, elevation, evolution, glorification, salvation, etc, is utter folly. How much more so any endeavor undertaken merely to increase one’s own happiness or contentment or, I’m embarrassed to even say it, bliss?

Self is ego and ego is the realm of the dreamstate. If you want to break free of the dreamstate, you must break free of self, not stroke it to make it purr or groom it for some imagined brighter future.

::: Maya’s House of Enlightenment

The trick with being critical of so esteemed and beloved an institution is not to get dragged down into the morass of details and debate. It’s very simple: If Buddhism is about enlightenment, people should be getting enlightened. If it’s not about enlightenment, they should change the sign.

Of course, Buddhism isn’t completely unique in its survival tactics. This same gulf between promise and performance is found in all systems of human spirituality. We’re looking at it in Buddhism because that’s where it’s most pronounced. No disrespect to the Buddha is intended. If there was a Buddha and he was enlightened, then it’s Buddhism that insults his memory, not healthy skepticism. Blame the naked emperor’s retinue of tailors and lickspittles, not the boy who merely states the obvious.

Buddhism is arguably the most elevated of man’s great belief systems. If you want to enjoy the many valuable benefits it has to offer, then I wouldn’t presume to utter a syllable against it. But if you want to escape from the clutches of Maya, then I suggest you take a very close look at the serene face on all those golden statues to see if it isn’t really hers.

Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on March 30, 2021, 07:42:28 AM
Buddhism is treated here as a monolithic thing. It certainly isn't that.

"There’s the rub. They can’t sell compassion and they can’t deliver enlightenment."

Nobody can deliver enlightenment. The Buddha taught his Dhamma would no longer be understood within five hundred years of his death. The underlying truth doesn't change however, and what is lost can be found. That's a journey beyond most people's insight. I sort of see it, I feel it's the right thing to do, yet still my ego rebels. The instant gratifications of the modern world and the natural goal of Buddhism are greatly at odds with each other.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on March 30, 2021, 02:22:48 PM
I sort of see it, I feel it's the right thing to do, yet still my ego rebels.

Hi Matthew,

I can relate to this part. I too feel the rebel of the ego. For me, I feel sometimes ego brings such a state of the mind that it flips my entire concentration.

Also, there are a whole lot of teachers and Buddhism centers are there where teachers aren't enlightened. Following the exact footsteps of the teacher, in that case, may not lead to enlightenment. We have to exert our own will and do it on our own way.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Dhamma on March 30, 2021, 04:12:55 PM
The instant gratifications of the modern world and the natural goal of Buddhism are greatly at odds with each other.

Hi, Matthew!

Not too long ago, I was watching a video where Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu said the exact same thing. We won't see any real Buddhas because there are more defilements than ever before because of technology and this instant gratification culture.

Peace and enlightenment :)




Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on March 30, 2021, 05:36:01 PM
The instant gratifications of the modern world and the natural goal of Buddhism are greatly at odds with each other.

Hi, Matthew!

Not too long ago, I was watching a video where Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu said the exact same thing. We won't see any real Buddhas because there are more defilements than ever before because of technology and this instant gratification culture.

Peace and enlightenment :)

Hi Dhamma,

My point of view here is that it's a self-defeating statement. If we already assume that we can't be enlightened then we won't even try. Another thing I wanted to point out is that World has changed but if you live in the forest you can still live like the old days. You can still live in some village area with minimum gadgets and equipment.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Dhamma on March 30, 2021, 06:54:42 PM

My point of view here is that it's a self-defeating statement. If we already assume that we can't be enlightened then we won't even try. Another thing I wanted to point out is that World has changed but if you live in the forest you can still live like the old days. You can still live in some village area with minimum gadgets and equipment.

Dear Raushan,

I agree with you 100%.

Yes, we can all become Buddha. We have this potential. We are already Buddha  - we just have not awakened to it.

These defilements are, though, why the world is so ignorant of it, and so few people are becoming enlightened.  But we can rise above and become awakened. We can, dear friend.

May we all become enlightened.



Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: dharma bum on March 31, 2021, 02:43:57 AM
I have to say I'm not very impressed by Mr Mckenna. He doesn't make a very good case for what he is saying.

Honestly, being a Buddha is not for me. Being compassionate and content is good enough.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on March 31, 2021, 09:35:08 AM
I can relate to this part. I too feel the rebel of the ego. For me, I feel sometimes ego brings such a state of the mind that it flips my entire concentration.

The ego is very slippery! Also, when following the path, there is an inherent paradox: one has made a choice with the ego to escape control of the ego. I think it's important to know that one is working within such a paradox.

Another complicating factor here is simply one of language, of definition. 'Ego' is Latin, meaning 'I' or 'the self that acts, thinks feels etc'. In the Western tradition there is also the Freudian conception of the id, ego, and super-ego. Within this framework 'ego' applies to the conscious self, the self which acts willfully in the world, and in 'mentally healthy individuals', balances the instinctive desires of the id and the 'moral' supervision of the culturally programmed super-ego (largely derived from internalisation of parent figures' teachings and admonitions).

None of these modern conceptions of ego fit well in relation to the Buddhist understanding of psychology and mind: in reality the Buddhist understanding explicitly largely refutes them. There is no inherent and fixed 'self' in Buddhist psychology/philosophy and understanding (Anattā). The self is a mental confection, a fabrication. It is the result of attachment to ideas, the conditioning of culture, and the habituation of the story-telling self, the 'self' which takes in all we experience and clings to and identifies with those things which serve us in 'getting on' or merely surviving in the relative world, the world of 'I, me and mine' in relation to our cultural surroundings.

In Buddhist psychology, and from my own experience, I know full well this idea of a fixed self is a chimera, "an illusion fabricated by the mind". The habituated and preconscious/unconscious mind bubbles away underneath the surface veneer of the perceived 'self', taking in sensory data, filtering it through layers of conditioning: that we've been taught, that we have learned from experience, particularly, that were have identified with, it presents to the conscious mind the conclusion of this parallel processing of multiple options, and then our conscious mind takes this as 'mine', identifies with it, and continues building the false sense of a coherent and consistent self, incorporating the ideas, conclusions and choices into a narrative of self.

Functional MRI and other studies of choice/decision making are showing agreement with the Buddhist understanding of self - studies have shown that when asked to make a choice and record the point in time study participants believe they made that choice, the brain imaging of FMRI can predict those choices up to ten seconds before participants made their decision.

The 'self' we identify with, however real or unreal, does have value in terms of survival, and in with regards to being part of a tribe/family or community, and therefore access to resources, to food, and the ability to procreate. The meta-story of one's own mind must be in alignment with the meta-story (or 'culture') of the tribe/society to a large degree to facilitate communication, acceptance, and continued participation within the cultural context.

So there is a reward system embodied both in society and in our being to maintaining a 'self', and this is why following the Buddhist path is often likened to 'swimming against the stream'. Buddhist meditation and practice is very much about deconstructing false identification: firstly through understanding the teachings in such matters, and then in practice by gaining control of one's faculties to the point where calm, insight and wisdom allow us to pierce the illusion, and begin the process of deprogramming the habituated patterns that collectively make up the false sense of self, identified with the very limited conscious self.

Using the word ego in a Buddhist psychologically informed way refers to something quite different than the usual modern Western reference points: it is not an inherent self; it consists of heaps (Skandhas) of habituated patterns of perceiving, processing, judging and identifying with phenomena, both internal and external; it incorporates both preconscious/subconscious and the conscious mind. Our practice is to penetrate deeply these habituated patterns and progressively undo fabricated identification with the contents, and with the meta-story of 'self'.

There is no doubt that being 'awake' in the sense a Buddha is awake is an existentially different manner of being in the world from that which our societies and our minds will naturally follow - if not challenged by the rigorous application of Dhamma, to the conclusion of the natural goal of Buddhist practice/living.

We are already Buddha  - we just have not awakened to it.

I believe you are trying to portray an accepted truth within Mahayana Buddhism that we all have 'Buddha nature' - that is, we all have the inherent ability to realise and embody the existential truths and wisdom the Buddha realised.

I have no disagreement with this teaching, yet as you have presented it, there is an inherent contradiction that needs to be seen, as it is potentially confusing and not helpful on the path.

'Buddha' in Pali, Sanskrit and proto-Indo-European language roots, all have the same meaning: 'awake', 'awakened' or 'to be awake'. To write 'we are awake - we just aren't awake' (paraphrased) is clearly inaccurate. What you wish to write is, 'there is nothing to stop us from being awake, aside from the fact that we are not'.

In other words, do not mistake the truth that we all have the ability to realise the existential state of Buddhahood, with the idea "We are already Buddha". Clearly, we are not, though there is nothing standing in our way, aside from our imaginary habituated 'self'.

Also, there are a whole lot of teachers and Buddhism centers are there where teachers aren't enlightened. Following the exact footsteps of the teacher, in that case, may not lead to enlightenment. We have to exert our own will and do it on our own way.

Yes we do have personal responsibility for this effort. Despite the failures of modern Buddhist teachers and schools to embody the absolute Dhamma, there is no reason to believe the absolute Dhamma cannot be lived: "what was true in the time of the Buddha was always true and will always be true".

The Dhamma may be lost - I strongly suspect it is, and I strongly suspect there's nothing stopping any person from finding it again.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on March 31, 2021, 09:36:59 AM
...
Honestly, being a Buddha is not for me. Being compassionate and content is good enough.

There is nothing wrong with being compassionate and content. This goal already surpasses the achievements of most people.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on March 31, 2021, 11:22:55 AM
Not too long ago, I was watching a video where Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu said the exact same thing. We won't see any real Buddhas because there are more defilements than ever before because of technology and this instant gratification culture.

Hi Dhamma,

It is sad that so many professional Buddhists lack any ambition or understanding of the path.

Kindly,

Matthew
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Middleway on March 31, 2021, 12:17:50 PM
Has anyone read books by Jed Mckenna? What's your view on this?

Mr. McKenna sounds like a disgruntled ex-Buddhist.  :D
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: dharma bum on March 31, 2021, 01:40:40 PM
Not to be argumentative - I think there might still be people who are enlightened in the Buddhist sense. Are we expecting them to be famous as Buddhas? It seems wisdom lies in avoiding fame.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on March 31, 2021, 01:46:50 PM
Not to be argumentative - I think there might still be people who are enlightened in the Buddhist sense. Are we expecting them to be famous as Buddhas? It seems wisdom lies in avoiding fame.

dharma bum,

You raise an interesting point. Our societies do have a habit of killing people who are truly awake to the rise and fall of things: the ones we know of from history have all been social revolutionaries and murdered!

Yet on the other hand, perhaps a person "enlightened in the Buddhist sense" would neither cling to, nor evade fame - if it came their way? People so powerfully awake tend to get noticed.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: dharma bum on March 31, 2021, 03:29:39 PM
Matthew, you're probably right. But Mr Gotama was a remarkable and unusual man. He was born into a king's household so he was used to being a leader with organizational skills. He was also an intellectual with a very organized mind which is very clear from how he organized his teachings. Our image of what an enlightened person is like is influenced by Mr Gotama's personality. But maybe there are some enlightened people pottering about in their backyards or maybe in some grocery stores piling fruit for customers. :) I don't know.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Dhamma on March 31, 2021, 03:43:43 PM
@ Matthew

Who do you currently use as a teacher?

What teachers do you recommend?

Do you know much about Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche?

Thank you, if you don't mind answering. :)
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Siddharth on March 31, 2021, 03:44:38 PM
Matthew, you're probably right. But Mr Gotama was a remarkable and unusual man. He was born into a king's household so he was used to being a leader with organizational skills. He was also an intellectual with a very organized mind which is very clear from how he organized his teachings. Our image of what an enlightened person is like is influenced by Mr Gotama's personality. But maybe there are some enlightened people pottering about in their backyards or maybe in some grocery stores piling fruit for customers. :) I don't know.

This makes me think about the descriptions of people who are at different stages on their journey to enlightenment...which the jain sect in india have in their texts. the buddha or as jains call kevalgyanis are of 2 types. arihant and siddh.

arhianta and siddhas both are enlightened. but siddhas got enlightened and passed on enlightened out of the sea of life and birth, while the arihants were generally those not just freed themselves, but showed the pathway to enlightenment to as many as they could out of skills they had from their birth till they renounced the world. thus although both aruhant and siddha are enlightened, arihants are remembered and are the poster boys of enlightenment so to say, as the way they showed, is kind of universal and thus helpful to all on their path to enlightenment.

there were many in the times of buddha who just heard one tiny story or sermon from buddha and due to having developed so far on their own till that point, got enlightened... and thus even today, there might be many who have not even heard of buddha gautama, but are way more developed spritually than a regular buddhist monk or meditation practitioner...but they might not be able to tell you the way for anyone else, or their way would not be as universal...

anyways, that is what I interpret..
we also project a lot in our lives in general. so buddha is also just another object on which we might be projecting a lot of what we need to get ourselves free from, their is an interesting movie which is related to these projections we have.. it is called - the flags of our fathers by clint eastwood.

regards and metta,
siddharth
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on March 31, 2021, 07:32:22 PM
@ Matthew

Who do you currently use as a teacher?

I don't presume to "use" anyone as a teacher. 'Using' a teacher is morally questionable. The teacher-disciple relationship is a hugely personal thing. I look to my roots in Tibetan Buddhism, and in particular Khandro-la, my root guru, yet I stepped back from the teacher-disciple relationship some years ago, when Therevadin practices seemed a more effective path to travel. I noticed guru devotion wasn't very efficient at bringing people to awakening. I look to Marcia Shibata, from whom I learned the way of the flower, "Kado" as a meditative practice. I look to Shibata Sensei, bow-maker to the emperor of Japan, from whom I learned the way of the bow, Kyudo as a meditative practice. I look to the example of Zen master Kobun Chino Rishi, from whom I learned calligraphy as a meditative practice, and much more, more than words can express (R.I.P).

I look to those around me in my life, and with whom I interact: they are the best mirror in which to polish ones thoughts, words and actions. The karma ripens quickly in daily life. I look to the drunk on the street, with whom I may exchange some words, or just a knowing smile and wink. I look to the teachings of the Dhamma, embodied by persons I do not personally know, such as Thich Nat Hahn, and others. I look to the Suttas. I look to Tulku Ringu Rinpoche, who over lunch one day delivered the most powerful one line teaching I have ever heard. And, I look to myself, because ultimately there isn't anyone else who can walk the path for you but yourself; nobody else will polish the mirror. Dhamma is a D.I.Y thing.

Quote
What teachers do you recommend?

Teachers who do not lie, and who behave in accordance with the teachings they profess to expound. Teachers whose moral behaviour is impeccable. Teachers who know their own shortcomings.

Quote
Do you know much about Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche?

Not personally, no. He's a Bön monk I believe? So, not really Buddhist: Bön schools were brought into the Buddhist fold under the current Dalai Lama, but he is politician, not practitioner.

Quote
Thank you, if you don't mind answering. :)

Why do you ask, if you don't mind answering?
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Siddharth on March 31, 2021, 07:46:59 PM
I look to those around me in my life, and with whom I interact: they are the best mirror in which to polish ones thoughts, words and actions. The karma ripens quickly in daily life. I look to the drunk on the street, with whom I may exchange some words, or just a knowing smile and wink. I look to the teachings of the Dhamma, embodied by persons I do not personally know, such as Thich Nat Hahn, and others. I look to the Suttas. I look to Tulku Ringu Rinpoche, who over lunch one day delivered the most powerful one line teaching I have ever heard. And, I look to myself, because ultimately there isn't anyone else who can walk the path for you but yourself; nobody else will polish the mirror. Dhamma is a D.I.Y thing.

This is key I feel. Even a great teacher would be a different person to different disciples at different times. It is not the teacher, but the disciple who projects many things on to the teacher.

If the said teacher was a traveller in a busy train in normal attire in a place where he is not known at all, even the greatest of being would be recognized only by some, and it is because only some are looking for him/her. Similarly there are fake gurus with huge fan followings because they are able to make people project divinity on them. Our mind is a very powerful in creating images, narrative and stories. that is how we primarily function.

Some sects of Hindu religion call the material world maya or illusion. where eveything you see is a projection of your subconscious. sure there is science and experiments which can be repeated. but we are not driven by facts in life, we are driven by how we spin those facts together into a narrative. often the narrative is something which helps us survive from an evolutionary point of view, but it is also the window to the deeper complexes that we need to face with radical honesty and abstract compassion.

what I want to say really is basically whatever works for you man. for some people, progress is faster with a given sect/teacher/tradition, where there is defined method go practice and little need for active exploration. while for others exploration and debate and experiments to discern truth might be the pathway into deeper understanding.

whatever the path to begin with, I feel awareness in the least always helps us with the next step. I think no matter what, if one can be centred and aware, one can always see the next step, and these days, I am trying to focus on the next step that I internally know is the way to go for the moment, rather than focussing  having a story of how I will progress and what will happen or exactly how what I am doing is going to help me progress...those things are important but not more important than the daily work that we know we should do..

I have this poster on my wall that I am attaching here.. it is similar to the theme.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on March 31, 2021, 11:37:30 PM
Quote
what I want to say really is basically whatever works for you man.

Yes! It's a D.I.Y project. Just don't fool yourself, nor spend too long in the 'spiritual supermarket'.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on April 01, 2021, 12:33:26 AM
The instant gratifications of the modern world and the natural goal of Buddhism are greatly at odds with each other.

Hi, Matthew!

Not too long ago, I was watching a video where Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu said the exact same thing.
...

Not everything I say is stupid. I try.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 01, 2021, 11:21:41 AM


Mr. McKenna sounds like a disgruntled ex-Buddhist.  :D

 :D :D That I agree with.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 01, 2021, 11:24:24 AM
Matthew, you're probably right. But Mr Gotama was a remarkable and unusual man. He was born into a king's household so he was used to being a leader with organizational skills. He was also an intellectual with a very organized mind which is very clear from how he organized his teachings. Our image of what an enlightened person is like is influenced by Mr Gotama's personality. But maybe there are some enlightened people pottering about in their backyards or maybe in some grocery stores piling fruit for customers. :) I don't know.

That's an interesting way to think. We usually assume Buddha did everything because He was Buddha or enlightened. I never thought that way that the way he taught may have been the skill he learned when he was a king.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 01, 2021, 11:30:13 AM


This makes me think about the descriptions of people who are at different stages on their journey to enlightenment...which the jain sect in india have in their texts. the buddha or as jains call kevalgyanis are of 2 types. arihant and siddh.

arhianta and siddhas both are enlightened. but siddhas got enlightened and passed on enlightened out of the sea of life and birth, while the arihants were generally those not just freed themselves, but showed the pathway to enlightenment to as many as they could out of skills they had from their birth till they renounced the world. thus although both aruhant and siddha are enlightened, arihants are remembered and are the poster boys of enlightenment so to say, as the way they showed, is kind of universal and thus helpful to all on their path to enlightenment.

there were many in the times of buddha who just heard one tiny story or sermon from buddha and due to having developed so far on their own till that point, got enlightened... and thus even today, there might be many who have not even heard of buddha gautama, but are way more developed spritually than a regular buddhist monk or meditation practitioner...but they might not be able to tell you the way for anyone else, or their way would not be as universal...

anyways, that is what I interpret..
we also project a lot in our lives in general. so buddha is also just another object on which we might be projecting a lot of what we need to get ourselves free from, their is an interesting movie which is related to these projections we have.. it is called - the flags of our fathers by clint eastwood.

regards and metta,
siddharth

Yeah these things confusing for me as well. As far as I can see no two enlightened masters are the same. Buddha seems to be at the next level. When he got enlightened he talked about the origin of the universe, rebirth, and the unusual powers. Nothing seems to be unknown to him.

But I have read other spiritual masters books like Krishnamurti or Ramana Marshi they seem to be the realized persons. But they never talked about powers and rebirth and all that.

I don't think we can guess what it's being to be enlightened unless we reach there ourselves. Till then we can just speculate.

Some people say there is also the level of realizations. Many people have realized something but they haven't reached the ultimate even they think they did.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 01, 2021, 11:34:24 AM


I don't presume to "use" anyone as a teacher. 'Using' a teacher is morally questionable. The teacher-disciple relationship is a hugely personal thing. I look to my roots in Tibetan Buddhism, and in particular Khandro-la, my root guru, yet I stepped back from the teacher-disciple relationship some years ago, when Therevadin practices seemed a more effective path to travel. I noticed guru devotion wasn't very efficient at bringing people to awakening. I look to Marcia Shibata, from whom I learned the way of the flower, "Kado" as a meditative practice. I look to Shibata Sensei, bow-maker to the emperor of Japan, from whom I learned the way of the bow, Kyudo as a meditative practice. I look to the example of Zen master Kobun Chino Rishi, from whom I learned calligraphy as a meditative practice, and much more, more than words can express (R.I.P).


Man these things I have read-only in books or seen in the Chinese movies. You have actually learned these things. Thanks for sharing it.

Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 01, 2021, 11:38:01 AM


Functional MRI and other studies of choice/decision making are showing agreement with the Buddhist understanding of self - studies have shown that when asked to make a choice and record the point in time study participants believe they made that choice, the brain imaging of FMRI can predict those choices up to ten seconds before participants made their decision.



That's really an interesting experiment.

Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 01, 2021, 11:43:39 AM



Some sects of Hindu religion call the material world maya or illusion. where eveything you see is a projection of your subconscious. sure there is science and experiments which can be repeated. but we are not driven by facts in life, we are driven by how we spin those facts together into a narrative. often the narrative is something which helps us survive from an evolutionary point of view, but it is also the window to the deeper complexes that we need to face with radical honesty and abstract compassion.


That's well said.


Quote
whatever the path to begin with, I feel awareness in the least always helps us with the next step. I think no matter what, if one can be centred and aware, one can always see the next step, and these days, I am trying to focus on the next step that I internally know is the way to go for the moment, rather than focussing  having a story of how I will progress and what will happen or exactly how what I am doing is going to help me progress...those things are important but not more important than the daily work that we know we should do..

I have this poster on my wall that I am attaching here.. it is similar to the theme.

Yeah, I agree with it. It's like we must do the absolute basic i.e. being in the present and let things unfold. Every time I read Jiddu Krishnamurti It hit me like a lightening. He goes staright to the core/ the truth. No bullshit.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on April 01, 2021, 09:09:34 PM
Man these things I have read-only in books or seen in the Chinese movies. You have actually learned these things. Thanks for sharing it.

The key to all of them is mindfulness. That skill is transferable to anything: making a cup of tea, doing the dishes, meeting a stranger ... I don't cling to them, they aren't practices I continue, with the exception of Kado from time to time: working with flowers profoundly enhances mindfulness and being in the present.

That's really an interesting experiment.

It's part of a growing body of evidence showing that consciousness doesn't look like a soul or self, that it is ever changing, and not centred in any one part of the brain. Conceptions of consciousness that have held for years are proving useless in the search to understand it from a traditional scientific point of view, where objective experience doesn't count as evidence.

The reality is that Western science understands neither the basic physics of the universe or how our minds and consciousness arise.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 02, 2021, 10:01:50 AM
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Man these things I have read-only in books or seen in the Chinese movies. You have actually learned these things. Thanks for sharing it.
The key to all of them is mindfulness. That skill is transferable to anything: making a cup of tea, doing the dishes, meeting a stranger ... I don't cling to them, they aren't practices I continue, with the exception of Kado from time to time: working with flowers profoundly enhances mindfulness and being in the present.

Oh. So now I can understand few things that I saw in the movies.

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It's part of a growing body of evidence showing that consciousness doesn't look like a soul or self, that it is ever changing, and not centred in any one part of the brain. Conceptions of consciousness that have held for years are proving useless in the search to understand it from a traditional scientific point of view, where objective experience doesn't count as evidence.

The reality is that Western science understands neither the basic physics of the universe or how our minds and consciousness arise.

Yes about mind and consciousness I agree with you, Matthew. But, In machine learning research there are scientists who are trying to create consciousness artificially. Sir Roger Penrose a Nobel laureate in physics even has an idea on that. He is trying to approach it not on the neuron level but on the quantum level. I don't know how much they will succeed.

There are lot of things happening in scientific community in regard to the brain. Elon Musk company Neuralink is working on research to put chips in the brain. I don't know how healthy are these things. It might create more problems rather than fixing things.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: Matthew on April 02, 2021, 01:53:14 PM
Hi Raushan,

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Oh. So now I can understand few things that I saw in the movies.

I wasn't trying to diminish your sense of loss at not doing things you've seen in movies. I'm sorry if it came across that way. It was an exceptional set of circumstances that allowed me to practice with those masters, yet all of them were basically teaching mindfulness in action - something which helps us translate the experience of practice into experience in life. The examples I gave such as washing the dishes may not be as exciting as shooting bows, yet the profundity of applying mindfulness to them works just as effectively. In reality, letting go of any excitement is key to finding the mindful state and let go of expectation in all these practices. In Kyudo, hitting the target isn't the goal. It might happen, yet equanimity towards outcome is the true goal.

Penrose is certainly very interesting. He first publicly introduced his theories about the mind and consciousness having a quantum element, and therefore not being possible to reproduce in general purpose Turing-complete computers, in his 1989 book "The Emperor's New Mind". Only now that we have Qubit quantum computing devices is he able to practically explore his theories from that time. His work might change the understanding of both physics and consciousness.

Yet, as with all other attempts to reproduce consciousness in machines, I have a sense that our lack of understanding of the fundamentals of both the universe and consciousness will be obstacles. How do we reproduce something that is not understood? We can approximate ever closer facsimiles which produce closer and closer outcomes, yet that isn't going to produce consciousness. I suspect consciousness (at least anything approaching human consciousness, including self-awareness) needs to be embodied with sense data and actions as outcomes. 

As you well know most of what people call AI is not really intelligence at all; it is the application of pattern matching algorithms to large data sets. The maths behind this hasn't really made great jumps in over four decades, it's just that until the last ten years or so computing power and storage were too expensive for widespread exploration and deployment of these mathematical processes.

As regards Elon Musk, I think he just proved how out of touch with reality he is. He announced, to counter arguments he shouldn't be so wealthy, that he is building up the resources to make us a multi planetary species. He doesn't seem to recognise that this inherently means deploying fewer resources to make our habitation of this planet sustainable.

Certain Silicon valley companies and thought leaders, including people close to Musk, have a vision of overcoming human suffering by making the virtual world more enjoyable, so that people can escape the things in life they find unsatisfactory or that cause suffering. This is the circuses part of that old saying attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal - I find it contrary in theory and personal experience to the real cure.
Title: Re: jed mckenna books
Post by: raushan on April 03, 2021, 03:24:08 PM


I wasn't trying to diminish your sense of loss at not doing things you've seen in movies. I'm sorry if it came across that way. It was an exceptional set of circumstances that allowed me to practice with those masters, yet all of them were basically teaching mindfulness in action - something which helps us translate the experience of practice into experience in life. The examples I gave such as washing the dishes may not be as exciting as shooting bows, yet the profundity of applying mindfulness to them works just as effectively. In reality, letting go of any excitement is key to finding the mindful state and let go of expectation in all these practices. In Kyudo, hitting the target isn't the goal. It might happen, yet equanimity towards outcome is the true goal.


No, Matthew, I didn't take it that way. I meant that I have read some books where Author has described wielding swords as the same as making awesome tea. If one is a great swordsman then he can become a great painter too. I didn't understand at those times why is it so. Now you have mentioned so I had some understanding.

Also, my motivation to start the meditation was very much influenced by what I saw in Martial arts movies. But since I joined the journey it has been quite different. Didn't expect all these things at all. Doesn't seem to be going what was shown in the movies.

Quote

Penrose is certainly very interesting. He first publicly introduced his theories about the mind and consciousness having a quantum element, and therefore not being possible to reproduce in general purpose Turing-complete computers, in his 1989 book "The Emperor's New Mind". Only now that we have Qubit quantum computing devices is he able to practically explore his theories from that time. His work might change the understanding of both physics and consciousness.

Yet, as with all other attempts to reproduce consciousness in machines, I have a sense that our lack of understanding of the fundamentals of both the universe and consciousness will be obstacles. How do we reproduce something that is not understood? We can approximate ever closer facsimiles which produce closer and closer outcomes, yet that isn't going to produce consciousness. I suspect consciousness (at least anything approaching human consciousness, including self-awareness) needs to be embodied with sense data and actions as outcomes. 

As you well know most of what people call AI is not really intelligence at all; it is the application of pattern matching algorithms to large data sets. The maths behind this hasn't really made great jumps in over four decades, it's just that until the last ten years or so computing power and storage were too expensive for widespread exploration and deployment of these mathematical processes.

As regards Elon Musk, I think he just proved how out of touch with reality he is. He announced, to counter arguments he shouldn't be so wealthy, that he is building up the resources to make us a multi planetary species. He doesn't seem to recognise that this inherently means deploying fewer resources to make our habitation of this planet sustainable.

Certain Silicon valley companies and thought leaders, including people close to Musk, have a vision of overcoming human suffering by making the virtual world more enjoyable, so that people can escape the things in life they find unsatisfactory or that cause suffering. This is the circuses part of that old saying attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal - I find it contrary in theory and personal experience to the real cure.

I didn't know Penrose's theory was so old. Yes, I have seen some videos regarding it. They have made progress but still in the early stage. It is not popular among scientific communities yet. Yeah, I feel the same what neuroscientist does is to put wires in the brain and then measure. But the brain overall is quite different. I don't think a machine can become enlightened.

Machine Learning may memorize things and do based on memory but developing self-awareness and all I agree scientists lack that understanding. Meditation and Mindfulness these things don't come under the realm of Western science. It is a self experiential thing.
Yeah, I agree Ai currently is just the clever use of mathematics. It is not close to Human Brain at all. But Research is definitely going.

Yes about silicon valley lot of big companies are definitely wasting people's time a lot for their own personal gain. And making people miserable, depressed. People do things in their life so that they can look cool on Instagram photos.

Kids are feeling like Fighters by shooting villains in the Video games.