McMindfulness meditation dangers

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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:09 am

Greetings Ben,

AN 8.30 wrote:This Dhamma is for one whose mindfulness is established, not for one whose mindfulness is confused. This Dhamma is for one whose mind is centered, not for one whose mind is uncentered. This Dhamma is for one endowed with discernment, not for one whose discernment is weak.'

The snail fails.

"Experiencing it without conceptualizing it" is not the criteria for insight, or else a snail would be have insight into the Dhamma.

"Experiencing it without conceptualizing it" as a complete path, or even as entry to the Dhamma, is sham Dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:11 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:They may not understand what is happening in terms of having the experience/insight

Not conflation?

Experience

Insight


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:22 am

Greetings,

The fact that "(Wrong) McMindfulness techniques" are giving rise to certain experiences is no more exciting or relevant to the Dhamma than the fact that other "techniques" or "methods" like taking LCD, smoking a joint, Christian prayer, hallucinating on shamanic cacti derivatives, Hindu meditation, overdosing on codeine, slitting one's wrists etc., can give rise to interesting experiences.

If they're bewildered by their experience and have no insight in relation to it, it's as useless as the proverbial "tits on a bull".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Ben,

AN 8.30 wrote:This Dhamma is for one whose mindfulness is established, not for one whose mindfulness is confused. This Dhamma is for one whose mind is centered, not for one whose mind is uncentered. This Dhamma is for one endowed with discernment, not for one whose discernment is weak.'

The snail fails.

"Experiencing it without conceptualizing it" is not the criteria for insight, or else a snail would be have insight into the Dhamma.

"Experiencing it without conceptualizing it" as a complete path, or even as entry to the Dhamma, is sham Dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Sham Dhamma? The experiential reality is that during the actual mindfulness meditation, conceptulaization plays a very minor role and at times no role at all. It is afterwards that conceptual structure of the path and whatnot come into play as a way of contexualizing what has happened during the meditation, which is, of course, of vital importance.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:26 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:The experiential reality is that during the actual mindfulness meditation, conceptulaization plays a very minor role and at times no role at all. It is afterwards that conceptual structure of the path and whatnot come into play as a way of contexualizing what has happened during the meditation, which is, of course, of vital importance.

Which, as part of the Noble Eightfold Path, is a very different thing to ignorant non-conceptualisation.

Discernment (panna) is key. McMeditators have no panna, as the term panna is specifically regarded in the context of the Dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The fact that "(Wrong) McMindfulness techniques" are giving rise to certain experiences is no more exciting or relevant to the Dhamma than the fact that other "techniques" or "methods" like taking LCD, smoking a joint, Christian prayer, hallucinating on shamanic cacti derivatives, Hindu meditation, overdosing on codeine, can give rise to interesting experiences.

Metta,
Retro. :)
In your opinion, but I like my opinion a lot better. During actual mindfulness meditation, there is very little need for conceptualization and at times no need for conceptualization at all. There may be just the direct experience of the rising and falling of the breath or whatever comes into awareness. The direct experience does not -- at the time it is happening -- depend upon conceptual structures. It is after the fact one can put it into a conceptual framework -- to wit, "that was a very moving, direct seeing of the rise and fall of my breath and bodily sensations; I saw nothing that did not change," and so forth. There is no reason that this could not happen to a person doing a secular form of mindfulness practice. The problem, as McGonigal points out, is that they have no Dhamma context in which to put that experience. The person may say to himself: "I have had this experience; it is hard to not see things a bit differently, but what does it mean?" And on the basis of that he may go looking for answers. The obvious place, of course, is going to the source of the practice.

Contrary to retro's above statement, such an experience can be of significant importance in that it could easily lead one to the Dhamma, already having had a small taste of it.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:45 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:The experiential reality is that during the actual mindfulness meditation, conceptualization plays a very minor role and at times no role at all. It is afterwards that conceptual structure of the path and whatnot come into play as a way of contextualizing what has happened during the meditation, which is, of course, of vital importance.

Which, as part of the Noble Eightfold Path, is a very different thing to ignorant non-conceptualisation.
You are making a distinction that is not experientially there. The non-conceptualization in mindfulness practice -- that is the direct seeing/experiencing of the rise and fall is neither ignorant or non-ignorant. It is just is what is and nothing more. The problem arises as conceptualization flows back into the play of awareness and experience. That is either ignorant or not.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:38 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The non-conceptualization in mindfulness practice -- that is the direct seeing/experiencing of the rise and fall is neither ignorant or non-ignorant.

Presumably the meditator still has a mind whilst all this (Mc)Mindfulness practice is going on? What would be the quality of the mind during this "direct seeing/experiencing"?

Would it too be "neither ignorant nor non-ignorant"? Perhaps you could point me to a sutta or somewhere in the Abhidhamma that speaks of the mind that is neither rooted in delusion nor wisdom?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:58 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Would it too be "neither ignorant or non-ignorant"? Perhaps you could point me to a sutta or somewhere in the Abhidhamma that speaks of a mind that is neither rooted in delusion nor wisdom?
Mindfulness itself is a wholesome quality, but whether ignorance or wisdom are present, does not matter in as much as how they are manifest becomes aspects of what one is aware: "Know the mind with lust as with lust, etc." The mindfulness, in the context I am using it, itself is neither ignorant or non-ignorant, but is attentive to how ignorance and non-ignorance manifest.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:18 am

Greetings,

DN 16 wrote:"In whatever Dhamma and Discipline the Noble Eightfold Path is not found, no ascetic is found of the first, the second, the third, or the fourth grade. But such ascetics can be found, of the first, second, third or fourth grade in a Dhamma and Discipline where the Noble Eightfold Path is found. Now, Subhadda, in this Dhamma and Discipline the Noble Eightfold Path is found, and in it are to be found ascetics of the first, second, third or fourth grade. Those other schools are devoid of [true] ascetics; but if in this one the monks were to live the life to perfection, the world would not lack for Arahants"

There is no Noble Eightfold Path to be found in secular mindfulness.

MN 72 wrote:"It is enough to cause you bewilderment, Vaccha, enough to cause you confusion. For this Dhamma, Vaccha, is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise. It is hard for you to understand it when you hold another view, accept another teaching, approve of another teaching, pursue a different training, and follow a different teacher..."

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:41 am

retrofuturist wrote:There is no Noble Eightfold Path to be found in secular mindfulness.
You have said this in any number of ways, and I have said back to you that no one here is conflating secular mindfulness practice with the Dhamma. How many different ways and number of times does that need to be said? I think at this point we can stipulate the secular mindfulness practice is not Dhamma practice.

However, secular mindfulness practice is derived from Dhamma practice, and given that, it might happen that a secular practitioner might have an experience that might be well understood in the Dhamma context, which is not, from my long term experience as a mindfulness Dhamma practitioner, all that surprising. The point of the OP is that such experiences, for the secular meditator, will likely be not well understood, if not down right confusing, and having no immediate Dhamma context they could not be called Dhamma experiences. But, I would say, if the individual in question were to seek out a Dhamma teacher, that experience could likely be put into a Dhamma context.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:42 am

Hi Retro,

I'm not sure if we really disagree that the the experiences in themselves are not Dhamma. Where I think we are disagreeing is that in my opinion a relatively small amount of the right instruction would have a good chance of transforming it into Dhamma.

In my, admittedly limited, experience, observations, and conversations, "Real Buddhist" practitioners experiencing such things as anatta also suffer from all kinds of confusion and doubts and often have no idea what is happening. Knowing some theory may be of some assistance, but from the looks of it dealing with the experiences is by no means straightforward.

:anjali:
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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:46 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I think at this point we can stipulate the secular mindfulness practice is not Dhamma practice.

However, secular mindfulness practice is derived from Dhamma practice, and given that, it might happen that a secular practitioner might have an experience that might be well understood in the Dhamma context, which is not, from my long term experience as a mindfulness Dhamma practitioner, all that surprising. The point of the OP is that such experiences, for the secular meditator, will likely be not well understood, if not down right confusing, and having no immediate Dhamma context they could not be called Dhamma experiences. But, I would say, if the individual in question were to seek out a Dhamma teacher, that experience could likely be put into a Dhamma context.

On that basis, it is all well.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:51 am

Greetings Mike,

For the most part, I agree with your post above, but for one minor clarification.

"Real Buddhist" practitioners experiencing such things as anatta...

All experience is anatta - sabbe dhamma anatta.

What matters is not that anatta is experienced (that is a given, what else could be experienced? atta?). What matters is that it is rightly discerned as anatta. "All kinds of confusion and doubts" only arise when it is not rightly discerned as anatta.

Most people, most of the time, do not rightly observe anatta... thus mankind in general is mired in "all kinds of confusion and doubts".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:53 am

Hi Retro,

I'm talking about when a practitioner first gets a real experiential glimpse of anatta. That generally seems to be quite traumatic.

:anjali:
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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:59 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:I'm talking about when a practitioner first gets a real experiential glimpse of anatta. That generally seems to be quite traumatic.

I take it you mean glimpse, as in discernment then (as distinct to "experience")?

SN 22.59 wrote:"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

SN 25.5 wrote:"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:I take it you mean glimpse, as in discernment then (as distinct to "experience")?

I don't see any distinction.

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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:18 am

Here is a description by a Buddhist Teacher of the sort of experience I'm talking about, and I'm sure is being talked about in the OP talk.

Chanmyay Sayadaw wrote:When I conducted a meditation retreat in England at the Manjusri Tibetan Monastery, the Manjusri Institute in northern England near the border of Scotland, one of the meditators had put much effort into his practise both sitting as well as walking, and awareness of the activities too. So after about four days meditation he came to me and asked a question. ''Venerable Sir, my meditation is getting worse and worse,' he said. 'Now what happen to your meditation?' I asked him. Then he said, 'When I am walking one day, Venerable Sir, then gradually I am not aware of myself. The foot itself had lifted, and it itself pushed forward, and then dropped down by itself. There's no I or no me, no self, no myself. Sometimes though I control my foot, the foot doesn't stay with the ground. It lifted by itself. Sometimes it pushed forward very long. I couldn't control it. Then sometimes it's getting down by itself. So my meditation is getting worse and worse. What should I do?' Then eventually he said, 'I think I have gone mad.' Such an experience was very amazing.

http://buddhanet.net/vmed_4.htm

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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:26 am

Greetings Mike,

retrofuturist wrote:I take it you mean glimpse, as in discernment then (as distinct to "experience")?

mikenz66 wrote:I don't see any distinction.

Everything you experience is not-self... you have been experiencing not-self since the day you were born (and potentially beyond that). Experiencing dhammas that are not-self doesn't bring enlightenment, it is discernment of those dhammas as not-self which brings enlightenment.

Likewise dukkha... if someone kicks you in the privates, you experience dukkha, but that does not mean you discern dukkha correctly. There is no special technique required to bring dukkha to manifestation, because sabba sankhara dukkha already.

It is discernment that constitutes the "glimpse", not some kind of "special moment of deep, deep not-self-ness" that we need to find. Sabbe dhamma anatta - none more special, enlightening, meaningful or significant than the last. Thus, we need simply to discern that whatever formations are experienced presently... are anicca, anatta and dukkha.

At least, that is how I understand the distinction between discernment and experience.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: McMindfulness meditation dangers

Postby chownah » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:46 pm

Retrofutuist,
When you say, "It is discernment that constitutes the "glimpse", not some kind of "special moment of deep, deep not-self-ness" that we need to find." I think that this is perfect and is the real essence of what you are saying....Your statements about everyone experienceing anatta but actually needing to discern it makes sense within that context but somehow it seems a bit odd....I'm not sure why....I think that to say that everyone experiences not self is like defining everything as having a quality called "not self" and to me it seems a bit like a doctrine of self...but I don't know....can one experience a quality that is not there?....do we all expereince not santa claus?.....what do you think? I do absolutely agree with the sentence of yours which I quoted and think that this is something that people could misconstrue in the way you mention so its good to keep that aspect clear.
I sort of like the fact that your statements (that everyone expereinces anatta but needs to discern it ) seems to have some lose part because it makes me think about it in a more focused way to try to find the lose part....
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