Author Topic: Are they lying?...  (Read 10584 times)

Andrew

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Are they lying?...
« on: March 12, 2011, 07:51:13 AM »
Hi sangha,

It has been bothering me for a while now, and I think I need to ask this question, though it's a little like asking if soccer is a good game at a world cup final!

Does meditation (as described here; calm-abiding leading to insight) have one final state? If a person really does master this, does it inevitably lead to peace, joy, love (you get the picture)?

Let me explain what is bothering me-

I've come to think that meditation has no ONE end product. What I mean is, 1+1=2, thus me+meditation=peace (or joy, or anything good in particular!)

It is eating at the corner of my mind that meditation is like my experience of drugs, you only get out what you bring with you. i.e. completely subjective. So an 'evil' person could just as easily use meditation to enhance their ends as I could mine.

I read what people like Jhananada have written, on this and other forums, and some of the responses of seemingly 'advanced' mediators (no offence intended, just trying to express the extent of the question) and I see a complete lack of basic maturity, grace, equanimity (whatever that is), and basic communication skills.

I, and many like me, can go through life communicating with manners and some basic code of conduct but there are so many examples of 'advanced meditators' being complete prats online, that I have to wonder....Me with my 'conditioning' can out class these 'masters of meditation' and I'm a noob!

Now the options that face me aren't pretty; either many I read about are complete pathological liars, (which is a real personality type I have encounter in life) or; advanced meditation does nothing to create positive change and I may as well just use drugs for a buzz.

I don't want a pep talk here, I want some real reactions to the question. Don't bullshit me.

love

andy

getting it done

rideforever

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 08:33:49 AM »
Hi.

In your post you make numerous references to the judgements of others.  My view is that the path involves dropping judging others, or caring if they judge you.  Only to see inside you what is occurring and that truth is the only judge.

Andrew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 09:03:50 AM »
Hi rideforever,
I probably over emphasised the options a bit, I'm not calling anyone a liar, I'm asking what other make of this? Are people experiencing real change? Can one go all the way through to the last Jhana states and still be a prat?

I know it is completely subjective, but can anyone say definitively that end result of this is more enlightened states in every day life?

It just feels right now a question I need to ask. I know it is a massively leading question, and answering could mean calling some people liars, but I think you know me well enough to know I'm not trying to create controversy, rather I'm trying to answer an internal one...


Remember I don't know personally anyone who meditates, have no before and afters, I only have this screen to consult...

love

andy
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 09:48:08 AM by daydreamer »
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rideforever

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 09:54:56 AM »
Hi rideforever,
I probably over emphasised the options a bit, I'm not calling anyone a liar, I'm asking what other make of this? Are people experiencing real change? Can one go all the way through to the last Jhana states and still be a prat?

I know it is completely subjective, but can anyone say definitively that end result of this is more enlightened states in every day life?

It just feels right now a question I need to ask. I know it is a massively leading question, and answering could mean calling some people liars, but I think you know me well enough to know I'm not trying to create controversy, rather I'm trying to answer an internal one...

I am not sure what you are asking.  What are you feeling ?  Doubt ?  That's it's worthless ?

It's good to call people a liar if that's what you think they are - at least know yourself that you think they are lying.  If the path can work it only works because you already know the answer, so look inside and trust what you see there.  If the answers were going to come from the outside -from somebody's opinion or behaviour- then they wouldn't be trustworthy anyhow.

My experience is that it is 100% worthwhile - but not because anybody else says so.  I feel good changes (I understand what is happening and my moods are straightening out, I feel less desperate and less powerless), and hope for even better.  Also my brief experiences of a final place (flashes) show me that it is indeed a final place, in that there are no more questions or search (or doubt because you understand everything) ... but that doesn't guarantee that you will behave in any particular way

I am thinking that people are often very polite but secretly hate inside.  Secretly they are full of fear and hate inside ... so looking on the outside is not helpful.

Stefan

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 10:20:15 AM »

Does meditation (as described here; calm-abiding leading to insight) have one final state? If a person really does master this, does it inevitably lead to peace, joy, love (you get the picture)?


That's what they tell us ...

there's only one way to find out: go all the way and see for yourself. Anything else is an will stay hearsay. I mean ... what do we know? We are like little caterpillars discussing the possible colors of their future butterfly wings ("will we really be able to fly, then?") and even discussing possible flight patterns while they hardly started their development as a caterpillar.
Nobody will be able to answer your question in a way that will ensure you it really is the truth. Because you can check only if you are there.

That's why I like to call it "the ultimate goal" and then forget about it again ...   :)


I've come to think that meditation has no ONE end product.


You shouldn't think about it, you should sit and see for yourself. At this point, it is not for us to dare discussing an end product of meditation. We are all imperfect ... so you will find a lot of meditators who lack of manners, grace, equanimity and maybe even smell bad. Please honour them for trying to do something about it. What did you expect? Everyone being holy and smelling of roses when farting? For many of us, it's a long way still to "the ultimate gonzo", and the weirder we are, the more we need to meditate. So, it's possible that there are experienced meditators who still are prats ... they simply have more on-the-cushion-work to do.
What can you do when you meet a prat? - breath in, breath out ... that's all.

Aren't we all prats? Metta to you!

It really is funny, I led a very similar discussion for half the night. There's something in the air ...
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 10:24:24 AM by stefan »
anicca

Andrew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2011, 11:08:56 AM »
@rideforever,

I feel like a chicken that has been dropped from a tall building. The little flapping I'm capable of is slowing my decent but the ground is coming fast  and nothing is going to stop that.

I get the feeling that what I'm doing now isn't enough, but time is against me. I don't really have a choice and I know that, but damn, there is a lot of faith involved in this.

to get to the next level, which for me is some sort of lasting change, I feel I will have to double/triple the time I spend sitting which effectively halves the time I spend with the family/wife.

Perhaps that's just it. Sacrifices need to be made.

love

andy


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Namaste

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2011, 11:31:33 AM »
edit:  In hindsight, this was an irrelevant post, sorry  ??? :D




Still though, Andy there actually isn't much faith involved, and "faith" can mean many different things.  I wouldn't stress too much on it and would continue with my daily practice - no need to extend the minutes, just make sure the minutes count, and make sure to always get them in.   Thank you for reminding me to do the same.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 11:56:19 AM by Namaste »

Andrew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2011, 11:52:50 AM »
thanks rideforever,

thanks stefan,

thanks namaste.

love

andy

getting it done

Andrew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2011, 01:33:26 PM »
Hey Namaste, I really liked what you had written, really man!  I found it relevant.

But perhaps you felt like I do most of the time; going beyond yourself a bit? Hey don't sweat it, you won't knock me of my soapbox any day soon, I'm the king of overstepping when given advice!!

If you can remember what you wrote, I actually came back to read it again... :D

love

andy
getting it done

rideforever

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2011, 01:53:11 PM »
Two anecdotes that have endured for me are :

> Goenka talking about planting sweet mango seeds - that is all we can do, we can plant seeds, we can nurture and water the saplings ... they will bear fruit.  You can't be sure what will grow of course - that's life, but you can plant seeds like hell !!

> My therapist grew up near the ocean in Denmark and spent lots of time sailing in small boats when he was young.  His daughter grew up in London in a landlocked industrial city, and so he wanted to convey to her some of the experience he had had on the ocean when he was young.  He bought a small dingy for her and sailed it up and down the canals in London.  Now it wasn't exactly the same as Denmark but ... it was enough.  It was enough to convey to her what was needed to convey, to get a sense of the experience.


So these are hopeful anecdotes, life is not perfect -that's it's design- but by planting seeds, and by have experiences that are good enough rather than perfect ... it can work.


Andrew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2011, 02:00:49 PM »
thanks rideforever,

I'd better go water some seeds I have laying around here somewhere!

(It's bedtime for me, I'll sit first of course...)

love

andy
getting it done

Quardamon

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2011, 02:06:35 PM »
Hay Andy,

So you asked a question that is very much like:
"Does God exist?"
Isn't it?


I once met a man who told me he had been on a spiritual search for many years. Then, once, he had a vision of Jesus Christ on the cross, just looking at him. This made the man take Christianity as his faith. By the way, the man had been raised Christian also, but had been into many religions and systems in the mean while. I suppose he hoped to to convert me to Christianity with his story. But it also felt as quite intimate that he told this.
I suppose this pushes some buttons in you because you are glad to be away from the Toronto Blessing and such. But I hope and suppose it will help to get a clear picture in the end.

Now there is a few elements in this short story that should interest us:
- the man was on a quest for meaning
- he got a reaction from the divine
- he accepted the reaction as holy
- now he felt at peace with the world (or with reality as it is).

Does meditation (as described here; calm-abiding leading to insight) have one final state?

There are different ideas of what enlightenment is. So very different, that it is not unfair to call them contradictory. See chapter 6 and 7 of The New Buddhism (2002) by David Brazier.

Funny enough, a different thing is knowledge of the path.
The experiences that Christian mystics go through are very much alike to what zen masters go through. In the 1970's and 1980's a lot of clergymen here in the Netherlands did zazen (zen sitting meditation) in order to find new meaning in their Christian faith. In the Middle Ages there was knowledge of the path of the mystic here in Western Europe. It was lost. So people turned to Asian knowledge of the road. A change of faith was not  meant, but indeed occurred sometimes (or maybe often - I do not know).

It is eating at the corner of my mind that  . . .  you only get out what you bring with you

Do not throw that away as 'just subjective'.
Spinosa started on such a journey: "After experiencing that all that normal life has to offer contains nothing good nor bad apart from how my well-being is afflicted, I decided at last to search for something that would give me fulfilment, in other words, that would allow me to enjoy the highest pleasure eternally." You recognise the first sentence of the "Discourse on the purification of understanding".
To my understanding: the stronger and more pure the question is, the stronger more pure the answer will be that life gives you.
If you understand yourself as a heap op physiology and want to understand yourself so, then take drugs - by all means. (I am cynical now. I will refuse to see you as just a heap of buttons and wires. But you are completely entitled to do so yourself. Enjoy.)

I am also saying: "Your strength does not come from the answer, your strength comes from the question".

My idea with people like Jhanananda and Jehova's Witnesses is, that they are so proud of their knowledge of the road, that they forgot what the whole undertaking was started for.

Please, do not try to find something with which you can enlighten the world. (??? Am I talking to myself right now? ) Do try to find the living answer to the urge that set you out on the road.

Give my love to your wife and children.
It is not always easy to live with a hero.
Indeed it is time you got some sleep.

Kind regards,

Quardamon


@ Rideforever: Wonderfull, thank you for the anecdotes.

Matthew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2011, 07:29:30 PM »
You don't get out what you bring in, that's an assumption that is flawed. In meditation you extract a whole pile of stuff that you identify with and call "I, me and mine". So you come out radically different. So radically different, that to even discuss the nature of that difference from within your current mindset is itself utter nonsense.

~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Stefan

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2011, 08:15:48 PM »
As Matthew said: nonsense. But please don't take it personally, since many of us (very much included Stefan!) went through similar stuff to discover what it is: non sense.
As Matthew said: You don't get out what you bring in, that's an assumption that is flawed.
You meditate to get out of what you bring in, that makes sense!

Metta!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 08:22:41 PM by stefan »
anicca

kidnovice

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2011, 08:20:41 PM »
Hey Andy,

For the most part, I AGREE with what you are saying. The path is shaped first and foremost by your intentions. So, yes, "You get what you put in." But specifically, what you are "putting in" are your intentions. Some of these intentions are subtle and unconscious, shaping our practice in unexpected ways.

As anyone develops on the path, they should begin to see the powerful role that their intentions play. You start to acknowledge all the intentions swirling around (some skillful, some not). And you see how these aspirations guide your practice. Perhaps this is what you are getting at in this thread?

When i consider the examples you mention, part of what I hear you saying is this: If your practice is guided by an intention of "self-glorification" or "nothing but bliss,"  these aspirations, (however subtle and hidden away) will shape your development. When you first understand this truth, it can be quite creepy! Especially, when you recognize that these intentions are in YOU.  :D

However, the solution is not to fight these intentions (in yourself or others). Unskillful intentions are present in each one of us. Accept this.  You can love yourself (and others) anyway! My approach is to simply acknowledge the existence of these intentions as they become prominent in me, and this seems to be enough to let them go. Some creatures can't help but flee the light.  :) Then, at those moments of naked self-awareness, it helps to consciously reflect on the skillful intentions that  lead to true happiness. 

I have been frequently amazed at how skillful intention-setting can lead to beautiful results, even when you least expect it.  With that in mind, I should say that to really set intentions in a powerful way, some basic tranquility/concentration is essential. it all comes back to cultivating a calm abiding.

With metta,
KN
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 08:23:03 PM by kidnovice »
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Matthew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2011, 09:06:43 PM »
As usual I agree with KN's words. It's a middle way thing. At  the end of the path what I said before is true, on the way KN's words are applicable.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jeeprs

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2011, 10:41:43 PM »
Great advice by the contributors here. I suppose to add some personal reflections - the element of grace is indispensable. From a Buddhist point of view, this is not 'God's grace' or even 'Buddha's grace', but the reflection of a fundamental good that has no opposite. Worldly goods all have their opposite - gain and loss, fame and obscurity, wealth and poverty. However the good to which the Buddha awakened has no opposite. You can idealize it and say that 'it is this' or 'it is that' which is to bring it into the relative realm. Or little by little (or even all at once) you can awaken to it. I think that is what we are doing here. So in my practice, it is like this element of grace, which is complete gratuitous goodness, is starting to shine through or show up in little ways. Nothing to do with me, either - it comes from somewhere else altogether. So it is definitely not something I bring to the practice, or not consciously, anyway - it is something unexpected, unwarranted, uncalled for, and absolutely marvelous, that is simply given.

That is why it is called 'grace'.

Some teachers criticize 'attachment to meditation' insofar as it becomes a means to power, for example, The Platform Sutra of Hui Neng.  And actually the Mahayana teachings themselves arise from a criticism of attachment to meditation, paths, forms, dharmas, and the rest. 'All dharmas are empty!' This is why Zen is very iconoclastic. Again there is a paradox or koan at the bottom of the Mahayana attitude, but one which can only be solved by the practitioner in his or her practice.

But meditation can be practiced for a variety of motives, not all of them pure as the driven snow. Have a look at this interesting title (and some of the 'similar titles' that come up with it).

Alexanderjohn

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2011, 04:30:44 AM »
Hi Andy,

I've wrestled with this question before plenty of times. One of the hindrances is doubt, its not really a hindrance so much as a means of understanding, I remember days of "renunciation despair" where I felt like I was just taking all of this on blind faith and spiralled into my own soggy pit of melancholy. It takes a while to be able to have moments where you stop wrestling just to realise you have been chasing your own tail. Our silly programmed western minds have gotten into the habit of seeing everything as a problem that needs solving, when we sit quietly there are no more problems so what do we do? Make a problem out of it! what else should we DO with ourselves?  ;) Its hard to believe that we're creating all our problems, I wouldn't believed it a year ago but from where I appear to be sitting it seems very much to be reality.

I don't think its quite the same as blind faith because it actually seems very possible, like you can almost taste it, like Einstein contemplating the possibility of relativity. Its not like adopting a whole new identity based around some abstract concept of "a god" thats going to solve all your problems, we all know deep down enlightenment cant be spoon-fed. All of us will have a different view of enlightenment, I like the analogy I think KN posted here once before, its like we've always been swimming underwater and finally learn how to surface. We might surface once or twice and submerge again but those brief experiences are just the same as climbing out once and for all, it doesn't change it is only our experience that is so transitory.

Metta,
Alex

Morning Dew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2011, 07:43:18 AM »
You don't get out what you bring in, that's an assumption that is flawed. In meditation you extract a whole pile of stuff that you identify with and call "I, me and mine". So you come out radically different. So radically different, that to even discuss the nature of that difference from within your current mindset is itself utter nonsense.

Hear hear  ;D Soooo beautifully said my friend! So true! Meditation is like going to the toilet; you sit, you crap, wipe the ars, flush the toilet, get up and you feel less crap in you, kind of lighter, once out of the toilet  ;D   So true!

Che

Andrew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2011, 09:27:57 AM »
a poet as always che. :D :D

love

andy
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rideforever

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2011, 11:44:36 AM »
Blind faith ....

It is possible to use analysis and reason to propel you onto the 'path'.  Instead of analysing the path, analyse what you think you know.  Look deeply into it and you will realise everything you think you know about your self, life, society is complete garbage - it's not hard to see actually ... it's just nobody ever looks - look and you will see.

Rationally, knowing that your mind is full of lies, opens up the possibility for something else ... then hunt around and you will stumble on the path.

People use 'science' sometimes to object to the 'path' ... but that is also a lie.  Science does not preclude the 'path' at all.  Nobody seems to have taken on board the experimental results of quantum physics because they basically wipe clean the slate - science is meaningless .... that's probably why they don't want to talk about it.  So when people talk about science they exclude recent results of quantum experiments because they just don't like it ... it's emotional, not rational or scientific.

My experience is that there is no such thing as 'spirituality' ... through meditation your mind becomes so sensitive that you see a very different world here.  You are looking at the same thing (your world, your experience) but with much better eyes.  It is not a different world you are looking at, but now your eyes are so powerful that you can see through matter and mind. 

Through vipassana Buddha was said to be able to detect the very structure of matter.  Meditation is a hard and cold science.  It is not vague or mystical at all.  It is hard.  And western science when it assimilates the quantum experiments will come this way.




kidnovice

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2011, 09:15:51 PM »
As usual I agree with KN's words. It's a middle way thing. At  the end of the path what I said before is true, on the way KN's words are applicable.

Thank you, Matthew. It always helps to hear confirmation from you. I also valued your last comment.  It really makes sense  that "letting go" becomes the predominant approach as one matures on the path, while the early stages involve developing skillful mental qualities/states.

Of course, I think "letting-go" is also a valuable strategy from the very beginning. Its just a matter of knowing what to let go, and what to cultivate. The middle way, indeed.

Metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

kidnovice

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2011, 09:20:18 PM »
I like the analogy I think KN posted here once before, its like we've always been swimming underwater and finally learn how to surface. We might surface once or twice and submerge again but those brief experiences are just the same as climbing out once and for all, it doesn't change it is only our experience that is so transitory.

I've certainly talked about this idea--which I think is a wonderful one: to really rejoice in each "waking-up moment," no matter how small. Each one is incredibly valuable. BUT, I don't think I ever quite used the analogy that you did. That's all YOU.  I love it when wisdom get reflected back, all shiny and new!  :D

Metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Andrew

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2011, 12:26:42 AM »
Thankyou , Quardamon, Kidnovice, Matthew, AlexanderJohn, jeeprs, Stefan,

For the record, after rereading my post; I'm being too harsh on 'advanced meditators', certainly they are not harming anyone or be dishonest with what they have experienced when they make claims and argue over them, I've done far more arguing in my time over things vastly less significant. Besides, where do I get off?  Jesus, Buddha et al, did there fair share of 'putting things straight' as far as they saw it.

Not that I think Jhanananda is likely to read this, but I apologize to him for being harsh and judgmental. I have obviously no idea how far he has come in life and certainly he is extremely knowledgeable and not doing anyone any harm. For what it is worth, it is because I believe him that I get upset. Meditation is meant to make you glow, god damn it!!!

It i my own 'magic bullet' thinking that puts meditation on a pedestal and looks to others to be somehow 'perfect' in my estimation when claiming to have mastered it.

It was actually quite an effort to bring this question up, as I'm usually trying to 'keep the faith'. I know that it is better however to be honest with those who have helped me so much this far and continue to do so. It is also the least I can do for those who come after me as well. 

love

andy
getting it done

nibs

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Re: Are they lying?...
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2011, 12:25:45 PM »
It's good to be critical of those making claims. People script, lie, misread, mis-interpret, overlook, mis-diagnose and play the ego game all the time. So-called "advanced" meditators sometimes really need a good kick in the arse.  I think a good yardstick to measure the so called "advanced" status is to see how ruffled one's feathers get at criticism of one's "path". Consider someone as "advanced" if they embody any insights they have gained in all actions of body, speech or mind. If they don't, then you get the suspect behavior that doesn't match that projected idea of the saint with rays of sunshine emanating from every orifice.

nibs (mid way between beginner and advanced yogi)


Edit: Any Tom Dick or Harry can develop access to jhanas. That doesn't make them saints. Devadatta comes to mind.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 12:53:55 PM by nibs »
"Awakening is like taking a satisfying dump." Some anonymous yogi