Ingram, et al - "Hard Core Dharma" & claims of attainment

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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:46 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Accinteyo
The claim of arahantship leads me to consider whatever Ingram says with a grain of salt.
As Mike has indicated, Ingram may indeed be teaching standard Burmese Theravada, but i would hesitate to rely on it.
metta

Ben

Hi,
I'm of the same opinion, Ben. After reading about 40 min. in this forum about Ingram, I consider those discussions not supportive for my practice and I'm not willing to go in for it. For me what I found is enough to know about.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby Abyss » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:04 pm

Mr. Ingram seems to be of the opinion that an arahat can still

feel the following emotions: lust, hatred, irritation, restlessness, worry, fear, pride, conceit, desire for the formless realms, desire for the formed realms, or any other "bad" emotion.


Source

So what's the point of becoming an arahat at all? But he also says that an arahat can still lie, so there is hope for us that he is just telling lies. :woohoo:
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:42 pm

Greetings Abyss,

Thank you for that... very to the point.

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: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby yuuki » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:20 am

In his book, Mr. Ingram states that non-duality models of awakening are "without doubt [his] favorite of them all." As indicated by Mr. Ingram, there aren't specific moral changes in a non-dually awakened person's capabilities (i.e. not being able to lie) or experience (not feeling sensual desire). I've watched youtube videos of a couple other people who claim non-dual awakening, such as Jeff Foster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCGqQNUD2Dw

All of these people say that nothing really changes outwardly, except that there is a sort of disassociation from oneself. For my own part I haven't done much thinking about nibbana, but two descriptions stick out to me from the canon: the cutting of the fetters, and completion of one's task in this life.

There is one way of thinking about the fetters: cutting the fetter of ill will means that one no longer experiences ill will. Another way of thinking about it is that ill will can arise, but that one isn't attached (fettered) to the ill will, as if someone else is experiencing the ill will. I don't know for myself. I guess either interpretation sounds both reasonable and unreasonable to me.

As for completing one's task in life, it seems that the Buddha still did things and made mistakes (for example, gave Vinaya rules which were later repealed by himself) after his enlightenment. Mr. Ingram certainly makes it clear that living in the world, and sila practice in general, is still as tough as it was before his awakening.

I have to admit that I'd be a little disappointed if enlightenment was only the kind of disassociation from one's self that is expressed by Jeff Foster (although he seems like a nice person!). It also seems to me that there are far easier ways to non-dual awakening than the Buddhist way.

Mr. Ingram's method of choice is vipassana meditation. I personally am a little hesitant to practice vipassana, because I can't find its source in the suttas and when I consider the method conceptually it seems that it leads precisely to the non-dual awakening mentioned above.

Couldn't the Buddha have just given Right Noting as the path and Non-Duality as his description of nibbana, if things were so simple (and had so few consequences)?
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:35 am

Greetings yuuki,

yuuki wrote:I personally am a little hesitant to practice vipassana, because I can't find its source in the suttas?


What about...?

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby yuuki » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings yuuki,

yuuki wrote:I personally am a little hesitant to practice vipassana, because I can't find its source in the suttas?


What about...?

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hey Retro. I'm not sure about the Satipatthana Sutta. I was hoping someone would comment rather on non-duality and nibbana. What do you think? :)
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:20 am

Hi Yuuki, Retro and all..


retrofuturist wrote:Greetings yuuki,

yuuki wrote:I personally am a little hesitant to practice vipassana, because I can't find its source in the suttas?


What about...?

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)


For clarification on this issue, may I point you towards:

- The heart of Buddhist meditation by Nyaniponika Thera
- Satipatthana: the direct path to realization by Analayo Bhikkhu
- Satipatthana Vipassana by Mahasi Sayadaw

These excellent manuals of meditation, which are also excellent scholarly works, should allay your concerns that the Buddha taught vipassana.
metta

Ben
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:19 am

yuuki wrote:In his book, Mr. Ingram states that non-duality models of awakening are "without doubt [his] favorite of them all." As indicated by Mr. Ingram, there aren't specific moral changes in a non-dually awakened person's capabilities (i.e. not being able to lie) or experience (not feeling sensual desire). . . . .

Mr. Ingram's method of choice is vipassana meditation. I personally am a little hesitant to practice vipassana, because I can't find its source in the suttas and when I consider the method conceptually it seems that it leads precisely to the non-dual awakening mentioned above.
The late Austrian Hindu scholar and practitioner Agehananda Bharati stated in his book THE LIGHT AT THE CENTER that if you were a stinker before your enlightenment you would be a stinker afterwards, and this is from a man coming from a non-dual tradition. The Theravada and vipassana is not a non-dual tradition, nor is it a pluralistic tradtion.

Ingram is telling us a lot here. One thing he is telling us is that he disregards the Pali sutta tradition, which characterizes the arahant as one who is morally transformed. Moral transformation is something that is part of the practice leading up to awakening as it is a result of the awakening. He is also telling us that the basis of his “awakening” is not vipassana; rather, it is jhana, of which he claims to be a master.

Jhana experience has the capacity to mimic what one might think is awakening, the suppression of negative states of mind and jhana can give one “a sort of disassociation from oneself” or a disassociation from those aspects of oneself one finds problematic - a sort of “conversion experience” where one perceives oneself as radically changed. Jhana experience, especially spontaneous jhana experience, has that as a danger. While one, as the result of such an experience (or a cluster of such experiences), may now have a very different view and “understanding” of oneself, the stuff suppressed by the jhana experience(s) can - and will - come back, and thus we get this list:
Here are a number of bogus myths and falsehoods about arahats, each of which violates one of more of the First Principles in addition to simply being untrue:
1.Arahats cannot lie.
2.Arahats cannot have erections or have sex.
3.Arahats would never do drugs or drink.
4.Arahats cannot kill anything ever.
5.Arahats cannot state they are arahats.
6.Arahats must ordain within 7 days of becomming an arahat in the Buddhist order of monks or they will die.
7.Arahats cannot think the thought "I am an arahat."
8.Arahats cannot feel the following emotions: lust, hatred, irritation, restlessness, worry, fear, pride, conceit, desire for the formless realms, desire for the formed realms, or any other "bad" emotion.
9.Arahats cannot like music or dance.
10.Arahats love forests.
11.Arahats cannot have jobs or normal relationships.
12.Arahats do not really exist today.
13.Arahats must work hard to maintain their understanding, and it is this that makes them unable to do so many things. http://www.interactivebuddha.com/arahats.shtml
What this list tell us is that while one may imagine oneself awake based upon a profound and supposedly transformative non-dual experience(s), one has to also explain away, in terms of one’s new self-image, all the stuff that comes back after the effects of the jhana/conversion experience(s) wears off.

Mr. Ingram's method of choice is vipassana meditation.” Any methodology is susceptible to being twisted to meet one’s needs, which is why working with a teacher is important, but even that is no guarantee, which is why understanding that any experience is just another thing of which to let go.

As for the Mahasi Sayadaw style of practice, please take a look at U Pandita’s THE STATE OF MIND CALLED BEAUTIFUL, and Ven Nyanaponika’s THE POWER OF MINDFULNESS

I can't find its [vipassana] source in the suttas Do not confuse certain techniques with what is core to the vipassana traditions, which are found in such suttas as the Satipatthana sutta and the Bahiya Sutta and the Kalaka Sutta, and the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." Ud 37 (4.1)
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: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:26 am

:goodpost:
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby Moggalana » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:38 am

Ben wrote:Hi Yuuki, Retro and all..


retrofuturist wrote:Greetings yuuki,

yuuki wrote:I personally am a little hesitant to practice vipassana, because I can't find its source in the suttas?


What about...?

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)


For clarification on this issue, may I point you towards:

- The heart of Buddhist meditation by Nyaniponika Thera
- Satipatthana: the direct path to realization by Analayo Bhikkhu
- Satipatthana Vipassana by Mahasi Sayadaw

These excellent manuals of meditation, which are also excellent scholarly works, should allay your concerns that the Buddha taught vipassana.
metta

Ben


This might also be useful: http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2009/02 ... ana-lover/
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:11 am

An excellent post, Mr Billings!
Again you are articulating things I have been thinking about, particularly in regards to the experiences of self-proclaimed ariyans and jhanaists (for want of a better term). I think there is a danger of believing one's experience is what one would like it to be rather than truely examining it, and its characteristics for what it actually is.

I think what you have said aout any experience being something to be observed and let go of, cannot be said enough. Everything should be let go of!Buddhaghosa detailed the ten imperfections of insight (Vism XX, 105), and yet, these imperfections of insight occur to those whose insight is "tender". Those who are actually on the path yet have not attained ariyanship. "For imperfections of insight do not arise either in a noble disciple who has reached penetration [of the truths] or in persons erring in virtue, neglectful of their meditation subject and idlers. They arise only in a clansman who keeps to the right course, devotes himself continuously [to his meditation subject] and is a beginner of insight."

As you know, the Brahmajala Sutta indicates that one's own meditative experiences can be a source for wrong view. And what a profound source of wrong view it can be. Especially given the proclivity of some Buddhists in the west who view the suttas via the prism of their own meditative experiences which is taken as some ultimate arbiter of truth. Move over blind-belief, the blind certainty of one's own believed attainment is particularly pernicious and the view associated with it difficult to remove. Many meditators would be better served by examining their experiences and their view with the same laser-like equanimous observation that they attend to their regular meditation object. And if they did that they would be less enamoured with the rise and fall of dhammas and be moving closer towards the goal.
metta

Ben
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:30 am

We need another emoticon saying your posting saying that a posting is good, is another good posting. :smile:

I just think that anyone who says they are, probably aren't.

There is a well known Bhikkhu currently resident in The UK who is widely regarded as being an Arahant, But not the slightest of hints ever come from him about that, and he will have no such talk around him. Quite the reverse.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:12 am

Hi Valerie
My own teacher has a saying:
A branch of a tree that bears fruit comes down because of the weight of the fruit. Similarly a person who develops paññā (wisdom) becomes more humble.

metta

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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby yuuki » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Ingram is telling us a lot here. One thing he is telling us is that he disregards the Pali sutta tradition, which characterizes the arahant as one who is morally transformed. Moral transformation is something that part of the practice leading up to awakening as it is a result of the awakening. He is also telling us that the basis of his “awakening” is not vipassana; rather, it is jhana, of which he claims to be a master.


I agree with the main thrust of your post, that moral transformation seems to be a part of arahantship. Although I am a new Buddhist, and I have only limited experience with the suttas.

However in his book Mr. Ingram's clearly divides practice along the three trainings, morality, concentration and insight. A big part of his book is based on the separation of concerns of the three trainings: morality that cares about coping with the world, concentration that provides deep fulfillment in altered states of consciousness, and insight that provides relief from the fundamental suffering in the world that comes from ignorance about anicca-anatta-dukkha.

He says many, many times in his book that insight training is the only training that has anything to do with ultimate liberation, although the other trainings play a part in enabling insight training. I don't see him as a "jhanaist", he is just a guy who claims mastery in the jhanas.

This isn't a damning of vipassana. I really don't know anything about vipassana other than some basic reading I've done. Just on a conceptual level, it seems that vipassana practices (as I've read about them so far) would lead to a non-dual awakening, and this seems to be what has happened with Mr. Ingram.
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:50 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Valerie
My own teacher has a saying:
A branch of a tree that bears fruit comes down because of the weight of the fruit. Similarly a person who develops paññā (wisdom) becomes more humble.

metta

Ben

Always something to bear in mind Ben...something I need to remind myself of on a regular basis :) .

Metta,
Valerie.
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:16 pm

yuuki wrote:it seems that vipassana practices (as I've read about them so far) would lead to a non-dual awakening, and this seems to be what has happened with Mr. Ingram.
You are reading someone who is running vipassana through a non-dual mill. And by Ingram's own admission, he dismisses the suttas as a basis for practice, which is not something the vipassana traditions such as the Mahasi Saydaw tradition does.

I don't see him as a "jhanaist", he is just a guy who claims mastery in the jhanas.
Mastery of the jhanas. Well, if he sees awakening as being non-dual and the arahant is characterized as in the above list of his, then that strongly suggests that jhana experience, cultivated or spontaneous, are the basis for his non-dual awakening.

There are plenty of others who have worked with vipassana that would be better to study than Ingram.
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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Daniel Ingram

Postby Sekha » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:57 am

They guy who claims on the web he is an arahant: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/about.shtml

After reading passages from his book, it seems to me he tries to be to Theravada buddhism what Castaneda was to Mexican shamanism.

What do you think?
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:23 am

There has been a thread on him already. Some people like him and some don't. I am not a fan because what he understands to be arahatship to me appears very different to what the Buddha taught. In particular the eradication of defilements, he claims to be a misunderstanding, I believe. I think he's also been on E-Sangha to defend his position. Something smacks of a big self there, but I may be wrong.
_/|\_
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Postby Sekha » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:29 pm

is that thread still readable?

his book is downloadable here by the way: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/Master ... ersion.pdf
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Postby RayfieldNeel » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:27 pm

I've read his book, and have lurked at the forum. (http://www.dharmaoverground.org)
He does manage to be a controversial figure; he does indeed consider himself to be an arhant, and others who have followed in his footsteps at the site will overtly claim their attainments to 1st Path, 2nd Path, etc. He is also somewhat critical of the trappings of the religion..he spends some time in his book spelling out what he finds to be wrong with modern Buddhism.

On the positive side, he does give implicit instructions to folks who may want to know more about the specifics of samatha and vipassana practice, and he seems genuinely read to help when people ask.

As with most things, I take what is helpful, and try not to become attached to the rest. :tongue:
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