So, you would not agree with robertk's highly dismissive and bitingly negative assessment of meditation practice: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=80#p228511
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What I find unfortunate in this is that KS does not really seem to understand what actual meditation is about as a process of growth in understanding, and the negative attitude she which has toward "sitting in the dark" is reflected in her students, and that has been reflected in this thread.
From what I understand regarding KS and her students:
(a) A distinction is made between wholesome and unwholesome intention, so the wish/decision to do anything, including to develop mindfulness, wisdom, etc, can be either wholesome or unwholesome.
(b) It is recognised that intentional development (wholesome) of wisdom and other wholesome factors is possible, however, this is thought to happen at the stage when faculties are highly developed, when it’s basically natural to “sit at the roots of trees and meditate” directing one’s mind to samatha or vipassana, without the danger of it turning (largely) unwholesome.
(c) All of K.S. students I came into contact with (except Kevin) consider their mindfulness, wisdom and other faculties to be quite underdeveloped. So, they are of the opinion that if they were to attempt intentional development, it would be largely unwholesome since underdeveloped faculties do not allow the distinction between wholesome and unwholesome states to be made, and thus, one’s likely to be developing largely unwholesome states, including wrong view, since unwholesome states predominate for someone with underdeveloped faculties.
(d) That thought to be the case, they give each other (and occasionally to others – by habit, or by assumption that we’re all pretty much the same) the advice appropriate to those with underdeveloped faculties. As in, if you can’t tell the difference between wholesome and unwholesome states, then you really have no idea what is it that you’re intentionally trying to develop at the moment, so better consider the teachings some more until that distinction between wholesome and unwholesome is more clear.
In regards to all above, perhaps the main issue worth considering is how under/developed are my faculties? If they’re developed, then K.S. advice specifically on meditation simply doesn’t apply to me. But how to determine this? What would be the very basis of development of wisdom? From what I gather, it seems the very basis is the ability to know an instance with mindfulness as different from an instance without it (so, basically, the faculty of wisdom is developed at least to the extent of knowing what the actual experience of mindfulness is). From this, distinction between wholesome and unwholesome states can be known (because I think in Theravada it is taught that sati only arises with wholesome mental states), and thus, distinction between un/wholesome intention, wish, etc, can be known, and thus, intentional development is now possible.
This of course is something each person would have to determine on one’s own. I still find it difficult - in the past 2 decades there were many occasions when I thought – well, this would have to be mindfulness, I know now what is the experience of mindfulness, but then, that conclusion wouldn’t be confirmed in the long run. So, I’m still considering this one. However, since my faculty of wisdom hasn’t really developed even to such a basic stage, it stands to reason that I can’t really arouse wholesome states intentionally. I mean, I can arouse states, and it’s inadvertently done all the time, but likelihood is that they are mostly unwholesome and I can’t really tell which is which in order to cultivate one kind and not cultivate another (arouse more of one and not arouse more of the other).
So there’s a whole number of issues that need considering then, e.g. how do faculties actually get from underdeveloped to developed stage, is it a passive path, can something be done, how do you make sure whatever you’re doing isn’t unwholesome again, what is an actual moment of bhavana, what conditions it, how does wisdom actually develop, what of the grey area when faculties are sort of in between, can I learn from my own mistakes, etc?
I find most of K.S. talks are directed to those sorts of questions, and I can go into that next unless something above needs clarifying first?