A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
taintless
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A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:09 pm

I recently took a foray into what would be called "hardcore dharma", it's an interesting movement that IMO has produced results.

However the following post that I make is not in support, neither is it against, neither is it a segregating post, but merely a critique of the movement.

I make the following points:

[*]The hardcore dharma movement places too much emphasis on experience as a validator, as opposed to faith and gradual practice.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement renders the path "goal-less" and useless.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement establishes bizarre and incorrect criterion for Awakening.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement demoralizes and secularizes the path.
[*]The adherents of the hardcore dharma movement are method and technique obsessed.

Point No. 1)

The hardcore dharma movement places too much value on bizarre meditative experiences, the implicit assumption in all hardcore dharma diagonistics in that all experiences inherently "mean" something, and that most experiences imply some sort of "attainment". For example, if someone were to post:

"Hey I just saw a bright light during meditation, what does it mean?"

The classical hardcore dharma response would be: it means you've crossed the A&P (a term referring to partial enlightenment in the movement). Furthermore the movement gives too much credence to weird experiences which simply have no place in this dhamma-vinaya, e.g:

Hallucinations, ecstasies, kundalini phenomena, suicidal depression, hearing voices, raptures, strange bodily phenomena, orgasmic and sexual feelings. They view these experiences as positive indicators of progress.

Point No. 2)

The hardcore dharma movement believes the path does not truly eliminate suffering at it's classic "final" attainment, AKA MCTB Fourth Path. This was originally considered to be the equivalent of the Buddha's Arahatship, though they later abandoned this belief. Nevertheless, for the adherents that believe that the path does not truly eliminate all suffering, then it would be proper to point out that their endeavors have no goal or purpose.

This is simply because the Buddha's entire purpose of his teaching was to eliminate suffering. Whereas they claim that "enlightenment" does no such thing.

Hence two disparate situations.

Point No. 3)

The hardcore dharma movement place too much value on the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga. They have created and synthesized a brand new teaching of nanas and jhanas, that actually is found nowhere in the Canon and ACTUALLY nowhere found in the Commentaries or Visuddhimagga either.

The primary function of the nanas of the Comy and the Visuddhimagga were attainments of SPIRITUAL INSIGHT, not attainments of BIZARRE EXPERIENCE.

But they fail to realize this because they have not studied the source material of this doctrine.

Point No. 4)

The hardcore dharma movement eliminates the moral component of the path and favors discursive thought and labeling. This entirely eliminates the need to eliminate greed, hatred and delusion as well as unskillful actions.

This renders the path easier, and more interesting for people who do not wish to improve as individuals.

Point No. 5)

The hardcore dharma movement is method obsessed. They are obsessed with technique and prefer technique and practice over all sensible evaluation. Their primary obsession is the noting technique of U Narada.

The Buddha however, never gave step by step instructions for anything, because it was supposed to be our common sense and conscience that guided us to practice in this path. However it is ironic that instead of evaluating themselves inwardly, on where they would need to change, they instead decided to turn to techniques.

---

Note:

I do NOT condemn, or wish to separate "more dhamma oriented" Buddhists from "hardcore" Buddhists. As far as I'm concerned this would be incredibly unskillful, and the fact of the matter is, is that we're all adherents of this teaching and all human beings.

Furthermore I actually have tremendous respect for "hardcore" Buddhists and actually do believe them to be attaining the fruits of the teaching.

This is just me venting.

Go figure.

;-)

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Alex123
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:37 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

taintless
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:42 pm

Interesting, I never considered that perspective before.

Nevertheless my point is primarily that:

If their path renders no visible, beneficial results or fruits that are IMMEDIATELY visible. Then there really is no point to practicing their path. If their path merely eliminates the POSSIBILITY of "future births" but does nothing to eliminate suffering in the HERE, AND, NOW. Then their path is useless.

IMHO.

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Alex123
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:59 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

taintless
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:08 pm

Right, but right now we're not speculating about the mental well-being of Arahats or the Buddha.

How exactly does this relate to the discussion?

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Alex123
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:09 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

taintless
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:19 pm


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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:36 pm

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

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daverupa
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:28 pm


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tiltbillings
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:31 pm

Some light reading on the topic for your edification: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5569

Buckwheat
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:34 pm

Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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manas
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby manas » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:38 pm

EDIT: Interesting how before meditating, I felt like expressing a view on this topic, but after meditating, I feel like a better option is not to say anything about it at all. So I've taken down that previous post I wrote.

In peace. :anjali:
Last edited by manas on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

Feathers
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Feathers » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:58 pm

What is the Hardcore Dharma Movement? I've never heard the phrase before and a quick google wasn't terribly helpful. :?:
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Alex123
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:59 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

lojong1
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby lojong1 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:36 pm

I don't see how the criticisms of the OP could be based on Is there a separate movement for Unusually Hardcore Dharma?

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daverupa
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:47 pm

Searching it in on the interwebs renders a few recurrent names.

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:07 pm

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

taintless
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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:20 am

Well this is really interesting, as far as I see there are two issues:

1) The possibility that we and/or I have misunderstood what the state of an Arahat is.

AND

2) Whether or not these criticisms can really be levied against the Hardcore Dharma movement adherents.

Number 2 is possible for me because I spent a large amount of time following the community at the Dharma Overground, and I noticed that kind of behavior that I mention. Number 1 however means something different, if it is truly the case that we and/or I are misinterpreting what it means to be an Arahat, then the rest of the criticisms may be pointless. Not invalid but pointless, merely because they really are making progress along the path.

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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Nyana » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:48 am


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Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Maitri » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:05 am

"Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.
Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in wisdom." Dhammapada: Pupphavagga



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